Writing under the handle “Bronxiniowa,” Ira Lacher, who actually hails from the Bronx, New York, is a longtime journalism, marketing, and public relations professional.
With the indictment of Hunter Biden on nine charges of tax evasion, there can be no question now what will be Donald J. Trump’s central message to the American people in the 2024 presidential race:
“Look, I have some of the most beautiful children in the world, just beautiful. He’s a feeble old man whose son is an admitted alcoholic, crack addict, and shady foreign investor who doesn’t pay his taxes.”
Can’t you hear him repeating that, in so many words, in sound bite after sound bite, on commercial after commercial, at rally after rally?
He’d be stupid not to. Because he’s built a brand over slobbering his adversaries with catchy sobriquets that have the effect of sinking in, even just a little: “Crooked Hillary.” “Ron DeSanctimonious.” Now, he can add to that something like “Deadbeat Dad.” And that may hurt Biden more than anything else.
Argue all you want about Biden’t pet policies, with their nuances and complexities—Bidenomics, aid to Ukraine and Israel, standoff with China and Korea, climate change, even border security—and you won’t have a more hurtful selling point about his ability to serve effectively in a second term than his family issues.
Yeah, that stinks, utterly. America isn’t voting for Father of the Year. But perceptions are what they are.
If nothing changes, the 2024 election is going to be a horse race—to the trials of Donald John Trump and Robert Hunter Biden, and, by proxy, Joseph Robinette Biden Junior. And let’s not kid ourselves. While the former president is facing charges of business fraud on a grand scale, seeking to overturn the 2020 election results and even fomenting violent insurrection, it’s easier for most Americans to understand tax evasion.
So Joe Biden needs to emulate Lyndon B. Johnson and announce he won’t seek a second term. Now, before any state votes in 2024.
The forthcoming presidential election is no longer a referendum on whether the sitting Democratic president, who is tanking in poll after poll, can rally his party faithful and independents to support him over a documented racist and dictator wannabe, who, among other things during his presidency, undermined world confidence in America and was blamed by scientific authorities for being directly responsible for 150,000 COVID deaths. It is now a question of who America chooses: such a troll, or a man perceived as being too old and feeble for the job and on top of that, a negligent father.
Most of us agree that elections shouldn’t be about that sort of stuff. And once upon a time, when our perceptions were molded by reasonable presidential debates, thoughtful and in-depth reporting in many newspapers and on radio and television, and civility among friends, family and neighbors, they weren’t.
But we no longer live in a world where opposing candidates can discuss the issues and try to convince voters which of them better fit their politics. In our world, nothing matters but nyah-nyah-nyah pseudo debates, repeated photoshopped images and edited sound bites, all of which are burned into millions of brain pans whose Teflon coatings, such as they were, eroded long ago.
Complexities about the efficacy of forgiving student loans? B-O-O-R-ING. What’s up with the president’s son, a confessed crack addict, shady foreign investor and now indicted tax cheat? You make the call as to which perception will resonate more lastingly and with more voters in our TikTok culture.
President Biden has always considered himself a statesman, and perhaps he is the last of such a breed. Now, the best statesmanlike quality he can demonstrate is to bow out in 2024. And give the Democratic Party a reasonable opportunity to keep an American national nightmare from recurring.