Democrats need to face reality and find a better presidential ticket than Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for next year’s election. This is not a criticism of the Bidenomics that has revitalized the economy. My dissatisfaction with the administration’s halting steps – and downright regressions – in confronting global warming is set aside (though not everyone feels that generous).

          If it is Biden and Harris in 2024, I will be backing them as preferable to Trumpista fascism. But some folks are not as politically devout. They prefer candidates and issues that excite them.

They want candidates they can rally behind, not those where their vote is a reluctant obligation.

          Biden’s age, 80, worries most Americans, including most Democrats. We see his physical unsteadiness and his rhetorical gaffes on a daily basis.

          And, for some reason, the national media focuses on these more than they do with Donald Trump (77), who is incapable of constructing a coherent sentence. Truth be told – though never by Trump – the reason he ducked the GOP debates is that he is not physically capable of standing upright that long, and he certainly lacks the mental acumen for any give-and-take discussions.

          This fall, CNN had SSRS conduct a poll on the prospect of a Biden/Trump rematch. CNN announced:

          “A broad 67% majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say it’s very or extremely likely that Biden will again be the party’s presidential nominee, up from 55% who felt that way in May. But 67% also say the party should nominate someone other than Biden – up from 54% in March, though still below the high of 75% who said they were seeking an alternative last summer (2022).

          ” Asked directly about the potential effects of his age, majorities of Democratic-aligned voters say they are seriously concerned that Biden’s age might negatively affect his current level of physical and mental competence (56%), his ability to win the 2024 general election if nominated (60%), and his ability to serve another full term as president if reelected (61%).

          David Axelrod, former advisor to Obama posted on X: “The greatest concern is that (Biden’s) biggest liability is the one thing he can’t change. Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: the age arrow only points in one direction.”

          Are Democratic movers and shakers listening? Don’t count on it. Their bicoastal worldview consistently ignores the Heartland.

          We are not only fly-over states. We are also talk-over states, where the bigshots talk back and forth over us as if we do not exist. But, the Electoral College system gives these states an importance greater than their populations.

          If Biden were to die in office, Vice President Harris – a multi-racial woman with parents of South Asian and Black ancestry – would succeed him. At Biden’s age, she is very much a president-in-waiting.

          The racism that surfaced with various “take back our country” movements following immediately upon Barak Obama’s election, yields a constant chorus of hate speak. Obama recently topped a poll as the “most divisive” president ever – where the source of the divisiveness was/is the color of his skin.

          Many bigots lap it up. People not committed already to Trump’s proposed dictatorship might  be persuaded against the prospect of a Harris presidency.

          Regrettably, a heartbeat away from the presidency though Harris has been, she has no skins on the wall representing arm-twisting political victories. No accomplishments — and even less charisma.

          There is also a growing dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the slaughters in Israel, Gaza and the (overlooked) West Bank. This is not 1967, with naïve Americans rallying behind the embattled Israelis. We know that, though Hamas initiated this war with vicious attacks on civilians, there are two sides to the overall problem, and the Israeli response has also killed innocents in what appears to be an attempt to sweep Palestinians north to south entirely out of Gaza.

          Biden’s unabashed abetting of the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Gaza grows less favorable daily, which is a concern in the swing state of Michigan where a heavy majority of voters with Middle Eastern roots helped him carry that state in 2020.

          (It should be noted, too, that the most recent polls show Biden trailing in seven key swing states.)

          The 2024 election might determine the fate of our republic. Trump flies his fascist flag higher every day. Democrats need to find a vibrant team to combat this drift toward tyranny.

          Thinking that young, indifferent voters are going to flock to our guidon is a fantasy with no track record of success.

          In September, Nuria Martinez-Keel of Oklahoma Voice presented research from Citizens and Scholars that found, “About a third of young adults ( Gen Z, 18-24) don’t intend to vote or participate civically in the 2024 elections, and 61% said they don’t align with either major political party.”

          Politically active members of that age group focus much of their attention on the environment. They are not pleased with the disparity between Biden’s rhetoric and policies.

          Michelle Weindling of the Sunrise Movement said: ”President Biden must do so much more if he wants to be taken seriously by young voters. He is overseeing an explosion in oil and gas production that has resulted in the U.S. producing more fossil fuels than ever before.”

          Alienating allies impedes forward progress.

          That poll also revealed that “only 48% of respondents intend to vote in the 2024 general election.”

          This reminds me of Obama’s call to younger voters: “When we hear that young people aren’t voting or participating, we say to them, ‘You would not let your grandfather or grandmother decide what clothes you wear or what music you listen to, so why would you let them decide the world you’re going to live in and the politics you’re going to be subjected to?”

          Why this indifference to matters that will impact their future?

          Society bombards them with effluvia designed to obfuscate their vision and, thus, derail any notion of self-realization. Inconsequential layers of anti-social media chaff nearly smother them.

          For the short term, the immediate future, Democrats need to find younger flag-bearers.

          President Biden made two interesting statements in early December. One, was that he is not sure he would be running for re-election if Trump were not the Republican candidate. The other was that “probably 50” other Democrats could defeat Trump.

          “No, I’m not the only one who can defeat him, but I will defeat him,” Biden told reporters.

          First, an old quote often attributed to the megalomaniac Charles de Gaulle, is that, “the cemeteries of the world are full of ‘indispensable’ men.”

          Secondly, Biden needs to contact some of those other 50 or so candidates and encourage them to seek the presidency.

          A spirited campaign among younger candidates expounding ideas would shift the focus from personality (and age!) to issues. The contrast between that and Trump’s hate-mongering call for a dictatorship would be clear for all to see. It would also create positive momentum toward November that should energize moribund Democrats to vote.

          Unemployment is down. Inflation is down – remarkably so considering the price-gouging tactics of American business. Bidenomics is a success. Endorse these successes and promise more of the same.

          President Biden should position himself as the runner who has established a lead in a relay race, ready to hand off the baton to a new generation.

          (Gary Edmondson lives and writes in Duncan.)

Democrats need a dose of reality

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