On Tuesday, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius called for pulling the plug on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
“I don’t think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection,” said the man frequently considered the media’s mouthpiece for intelligence agencies. “If he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump.”
Just 10 months ago, Biden and the Democrats had a surprisingly good midterm election. So what has Ignatius — and the deep state apparatus he speaks for — so gloomy?
Quite simply, 2023 has not gone according to plan.
Democrats were never planning to run on Joe Biden’s accomplishments in 2024. They know those accomplishments don’t exist. The border is a mess, and everyone knows it. Foreign policy is a mess, and everyone knows it. They can massage the economic stats all they want, but they can’t convince Americans struggling with exploding prices that the economy is actually good.
So what was their plan for 2024? Simple: Make the actual issues irrelevant.
2023, for the D.C. regime, was supposed to be about locking up 2024 far in advance of any ballots being cast. In their vision, this was going to be the one where they permanently destroyed Donald Trump and then took a yearlong victory lap into a triumphant 2025 and beyond. This was going to be a triumph of political machinery over political accomplishment.
But the machine is breaking down. Five core assumptions that were at the heart of Democrat plans have all gone up in smoke — or rather, exploded right in their faces.
1. The Indictments Backfired
The criminal indictment of Trump was supposed to send him into a downward spiral. The Democrats’ reasoning was that “no future, sitting, or former president has ever been indicted for a felony.” Tag Trump with the mark of a criminal, they figured, and his followers would abandon him. Trump would collapse inward, obsessing entirely over his personal legal drama and forgetting about national issues and Biden’s mismanagement of the country.
In short, the left thought their indictments would shatter Trump and his base psychologically. In fact, they did the precise opposite. Instead of delegitimizing Trump, the Democrats have instead discredited the very idea that being indicted is disqualifying for the presidency. By bringing such coordinated, obviously political prosecutions, they have only sent the message that Donald Trump is the one candidate the D.C. regime authentically fears.
2. The Hunter Biden Inside Job Got Blown Up
The press successfully scuttled the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, but the laptop still exists, and inevitably the full scope of its contents has trickled out. No big deal, Democrats thought: Just cut a quick plea deal with Hunter about the least consequential of his misdeeds, bury a sneaky clause immunizing him from any further federal prosecutions, and bury the story forever.
Instead, on the brink of pulling it off, they got caught. Multiple IRS whistleblowers came forward to testify about the pressure they’d seen from the top to protect the First Son. An alert federal judge spotted the unprecedented, sweeping nature of Hunter’s plea deal and called it out, forcing the whole thing to be scrapped. Now Hunter is being hit with new charges, and healing this nagging sore on Joe Biden’s political fortunes has become that much harder.
3. There Was No Competitive GOP Primary
The post-2022 backlash against Trump was supposed to be a harbinger of a bruising Republican primary like the one we saw in 2012. Democrats figured that by today, Trump would be in a dead heat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. They expected a tough fight that would leave Republicans bitterly divided and ill-prepared for a general election.
It never happened, in no small part thanks to the Democrats themselves. Instead of powering up DeSantis, every fresh Trump indictment has caused a surge in Republican support. The DeSantis campaign, meanwhile, has self-sabotaged with a series of miscalculations and mistakes. Instead of reaching a crescendo this fall, the Republican primary race is already effectively over — and a speedy victory for Trump means any remaining bad blood will be long gone by the time of next year’s GOP convention.
4. Cornel West
A core assumption of the Democrat machine apparatus is that Trump terrifies their base so much that nobody will dare defect to another candidate, no matter how disappointing the incumbent is.
Not so fast, it turns out. The left still has a lot of people who care about achieving actual leftism, not just letting a Beltway cabal cash in while claiming to protect the world from Trump. And this faction of the left now has a standard-bearer, Cornel West, whom millions of left-wing radicals have actually heard of and respect.
5. No Labels
It isn’t just to the left that Biden’s base of support is crumbling. Despite being nicknamed the “uniparty,” the D.C. establishment can’t stick together either. Every day, the chatter in D.C. grows louder that the group No Labels, backed by tens of millions in big donor dollars, will support a centrist third-party nominee for the presidency. And right now, the overwhelming favorite to be that nominee is Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The motivations for this challenge are the polar opposite of those driving Cornel West. West is an ideologue who knows he can’t win but wants to make a statement of protest. No Labels, on the other hand, is driven by Beltway delusions of grandeur. It believes that by running a lawmaker disliked by both parties, it will capture mystical bipartisan energy and ride that to the White House. But in reality, D.C.’s vision of “centrism,” defined by horse-trading, cynicism, cashing in, and never rocking the boat, is hated everywhere but Washington itself.
Nevertheless, to the extent this ideology appeals to anyone, it appeals to a narrow slice of the electorate that thought everything was perfect in Washington until Trump came along — in other words, people who voted for Biden in 2020.
So if Biden can’t win the D.C. uniparty anymore, can’t win the far left, can’t hide his personal corruption, and can’t hide from Donald Trump, how is he supposed to win another election? More and more Democrats are realizing with horror what the answer to that question is.