Business & Finance

Trump and Biden Both Face Rejection

Trump and Biden Both Face Rejection #Trump #Biden #Face #Rejection Welcome to Lopoid

This is the big political story now: Both parties are rejecting their leaders,

Donald Trump

and

Joe Biden.

It’s a continuing tectonic shift and the story underlying every daily political story. It’s building and will only grow. Both parties are starting to scramble for what’s next, who’s next. Both are casting about.

I wrote last week about Mr. Trump’s position. Much will be made of the latest data, a small University of New Hampshire poll in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Florida Gov.

Ron DeSantis

is tied with Mr. Trump in a Republican primary and runs better against Mr. Biden than Mr. Trump does. Pertinent here: “Biden and Trump are increasingly unpopular in New Hampshire.” Only 62% of Republicans want Mr. Trump to run again and 54% of Democrats say the same of Mr. Biden. These results are consistent with what I hear from readers.

A distinction must be made between Trump voters and Trump supporters. Trump voters are the bigger group. They don’t love him, but made a considered judgment he was better than the Democratic alternative and don’t regret it. From my email I’d say they’re shopping—eagerly. Trump supporters, the smaller but still considerable group, are true enthusiasts. It’s about him. They will never not cheer him, especially when the cameras are around, and they will never turn their backs—but they are turning away. Quietly, in a way unacknowledged to their friends and maybe to themselves. But there’s a new hesitancy in their notes, or rather an absence of the previous tone of “I’m on the winning side.” And yes, both groups seem to like Mr. DeSantis, who is capturing the Republican imagination as tough and committed but not unstable or criminal.

Mr. Trump’s national polling numbers continue underwater, but the real test will be to see those numbers after the Jan. 6 hearings are over. I believe we’ll see Rep.

Liz Cheney’s

kamikaze mission hit its target, and the SS Trump will list. More on that further down.

As for Mr. Biden, his poll numbers continue to be historically dismal. The other day, watching him call for suspension of the federal gasoline tax, I had a sensation exactly like—well, even though we resist such comparisons here because history even when it doesn’t feel like it is always new, it felt like 1978. Nonstop crises and the president natters on. The news broadcast shows the price sticker on 2 pounds of ground beef in the local grocery store, and a shopper says, “Hard for families now,” and they cut to Washington and . . . the president natters. The next story it’s a close-up of the numbers on the gas pump in San Diego and they cut to Washington and . . . the president natters.

“Mush From the Wimp.”

And there’s a broad sense that Mr. Biden isn’t going through a rough patch or a tough year, that it’s not going to get better, that he has poor judgment and he’s about to hit 80 and it’s not going to change. Everyone sees this and it’s produced a sense of unease.

The 1/6 hearings are doing nothing to help Mr. Biden—some thought they would—but they are sinking Mr. Trump.

Something must be said about their uniqueness. They are real history. Two weeks in, the committee’s work is wholly new, a real break with how such things have previously been conducted. They are presenting a complicated yet coherent story that is fully documented, told through depositions, videotape, first-person witnesses and participants testifying under penalty of perjury.

They are telling a fascinating and devastating story: An American president tried to thwart the democracy that raised him high and to steal a presidential election he’d lost. And it almost worked. But good people stopped it. There was a sturdy infrastructure of still-moral elected officials and bureaucrats and political appointees. Against pressure, intimidation and mob rule they held. Many, most, were political conservatives, and many were people of deep religious faith. In explaining their motives and way of thinking on Jan. 6, they quoted Scripture. For

Greg Jacobs,

counsel to

Mike Pence

who was with the vice president in an undisclosed location on Jan. 6, it was the lion’s den: “Daniel 6 was where I went.” Chief of staff

Marc Short

at the end of the terrible day texted Mr. Pence 2 Timothy 4:7: “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Rusty Bowers,

speaker of Arizona’s House, testified he believes the writers of the U.S. Constitution were inspired by God. “I took an oath” to that document, he said. And he wouldn’t break it.

The next time we spoof Bible thumpers and reduce them to caricature, we should remember that. (My goodness, there may be a public-interest component in debates concerning public funding of religious schools.)

There has been criticism that the 1/6 committee isn’t the Watergate hearings, which the entire country watched and which in the end turned public opinion. Totally true: We had an entire country that watched things together once.

But the Watergate story was often hard to piece together in those hearings. Not so here. The 1/6 committee has been knocked for hiring television producers, but that’s part of why it’s yielded a coherent story. They made it tight, not cheap.

And after they aired, the Watergate hearings disappeared, because there was no internet. The 1/6 hearings will be telling their story forever—on C-Span and YouTube and perhaps a government site. And they will be heavily viewed.

Many Trump supporters were honest in their belief that what the president told them was true and his election was stolen. But anyone with any intellectual integrity, or whose family and friends want to help along an intervention, can watch, and think. A lot of assumptions will be shaken.

An unanticipated benefit—almost all who testified were the unbroken leadership class that still remains in spite of the daily freak show of American life and politics. Media folk, including in this space, often call out the sickness of the Republican Party. But the hearings were about the health of it: “I took an oath.” At the same time the Democrats on the committee defied expectation and tradition by being serious, sober, grave—showing respect to the Republicans before them, not sloughing off their Bible reading. Rep.

Adam Schiff

wasn’t smarmy. It was like a re-enactment of the old Republican Party and the old Democratic Party. It was the return of the adults. They never fully left, did they? Maybe we should give them more attention. Let’s build on them.

I forgot to say the hearings were simply great television. In the language of Turner Classic Movies lovers, the hearings are the end of “On the Waterfront” where mob boss

Johnny Friendly’s

been exposed and ruined by a nobody named

Terry Molloy

: “I’m glad what I done today.” For

John Ford

fans, those Republicans who spoke under oath are the men who shot Liberty Valance.

This is one of the great stories. Mr. Trump won’t recover from it.

I think Republicans, including plenty of Trump people, are slowly but surely solving their party’s Trump problem. What I can’t figure out is how the Democrats solve their Biden problem. Is there a hearing for that?

Wonder Land: Like other world leaders who leaned into lockdowns, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are now realizing how complicated the private economy actually is, and how easy it is to wreck it. Images: AP/Shutterstock/Bloomberg/Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

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