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The Biden referendum

Two years ago, I found myself like most Americans furloughed from one job, and working diminished hours at another as a night auditor at a hotel in Bismarck. Those were strange uncertain times, and more often than not my nights were spent interacting with a variety of individuals from all over the country as they sought any kind respite they could from lockdowns, riots, and the general unease that afflicted our nation and the world.

The morning after the 2020 election that November, a woman from Baker, California, stopped by the front desk multiple times to break the monotony of her insomnia, and we had a conversation I’ve been chewing on ever since. I let her do most of the talking, especially when she veered into the realm of politics, but she wanted to make it clear that despite being a Republican, she had voted for Joe Biden for president. She desired a return to normalcy after the bombastic four years we had experienced with Donald Trump in the White House, and was relieved that the electoral college had swung in his favor.

Before I left the desk to busy myself with making the continental breakfast, I couldn’t help but make the comment that if “normal” was what she expected from a Biden presidency, she had another thing coming. Given everything that has happened since that conversation, I often wonder where she wound up, and if she feels the warm embrace of the elusive “normal” she hoped her vote would bring.

It goes without saying that for many voters in 2020, like that lady from Baker, the election was a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump, who himself was elevated to the office in 2016 as a repudiation of the anointed Hillary Clinton. After being repudiated himself, former President Trump jumped head first into a quagmire of his own making, which his opponents have giddily exploited ever since.

It remains unclear what kind of shot Trump may have at a potential second term in office, or if he will even be allowed one. What has become abundantly clear is that the man who beat him appears even more out of his depth than Trump ever did. With the potential bloodbath in this fall’s midterm looming on the horizon, politicos and journos alike are sweating bullets as it becomes undeniable with each spike in inflation and fuel prices whom the 2024 election will be a referendum on.

In the wake of 2016 journalists and pundits across the media landscape made no bones about chucking out objectivity as they sought to prevent a repeat of an election cycle where they were forced to report on many concerning or uncomfortable facts and narratives swirling around Clinton at the time.

Whether it was her Wall Street speeches, the dubious financial grift that was the Clinton Foundation, or her infernal private email server, journalists in the national media had to work overtime to explain away or divert voters from anything that undermined her appeal and credibility. It wasn’t enough, people found the information anyway, heard her tepid rebukes at debates, and made their own decisions. That kind of free flow of information and discourse just couldn’t be allowed to continue.

Journalists and tech CEOs alike all made it clear in public and in leaked private conversations that something like 2016 would never happen again. For the next four years, institutions old and new went on the attack, changing how they reported the news and how their algorithms governed their users’ feeds on social media.

This change in approach is what led to the decisions to curtail any narrative or issue one could raise about any of the candidates in the Democratic field in 2020, whether it was Kamala Harris’ cackling lies and unlikability, or Joe Biden’s marble mouthed inanity when he actually left his basement and faced some cameras.

These institutions have corralled and protected Biden from the moment he skated into the lead during the primaries, going as far as to outright censor and gaslight any mention of concern over his mental wellbeing or the direct link Biden possibly had with the dubious business dealings of his son, Hunter, in Ukraine, China, and God knows where else. When I asked that lady from Baker what she knew about Hunter Biden’s laptop, or how she received his nursing home resident routine during the campaign, she informed me she had no idea what I was talking about. Mission accomplished.

The press coddled him as a candidate and continue to baby our president despite the Russian cavalcade of red flags surrounding nearly every policy decision his administration makes and every literal trip and fall he takes as a man pushing 80. However, their wherewithal to cover up Biden’s lack of one is diminishing.

Mainstream pundits and politicians alike have started to whisper that maybe Biden isn’t up to the task and an alternative should be sought to take on Trump, Fla. Gov. Ron Desantis or whoever the GOP fields in two years. The president has himself been adamant in the face of this mounting discontent that he will in fact be running, come hell or high water, despite approval numbers lower than any recorded since they started tracking them. This is exactly why his former cheerleaders are seeing doom on the horizon. Biden’s historic unlikability only two years into his presidency can’t be obfuscated or denied any longer, and is becoming a liability for the party up and down the ballot.

Frankly, the DNC and every entity that made his election possible should have to sleep in the bed they’ve made with ole Joe. They tucked themselves in so tightly after all. They chose to present a reality around a candidate that could not be sustained in order to sway voters. For some reason this doesn’t count as election interference, even as voters suffer the consequences of the 4th Estate’s abdication. If a reckoning is to be had, they don’t deserve an inch to sidestep it.

With every article written deriding anyone pointing out Biden’s sundowner tics or that labeled any potential controversy “Russian disinformation,” they built the house of cards that is his presidency, and they deserve to have it crash around them. One can only pray that the nation doesn’t come crashing down with it.

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