Biden fights the odds while Trump fights the grassroots

News & Politics

June may be over, but in American politics, it seems every month is Pride Month. In Washington, Joe Biden is angrily refusing to step down, frustrating the dreams of an entire class of vicious but wimpy politicians and pundits who really thought D.C. worked like a season of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing.”And about 800 miles away in Milwaukee, former President Donald Trump’s campaign is effectively steamrolling grassroots activists, breaking protocols and precedent to shape a platform in the Republican nominee’s image.

But first, the Democrats. For four years, the party had held the line on Biden’s clearly degenerating mental state with winks, nods, and blacklists. That ended with his debate performance, but to what end? After the gun smoke cleared, Biden was still standing and even calling in to an episode of his favorite “Morning Joe” to angrily denounce his critics and defiantly promise to stay in the race.

The past two weeks haven’t shown any sudden turn toward honesty in reporting but have instead exposed a panic that Donald Trump might win.

Only the Lord himself could dislodge Biden from the Oval Office, the president told George Stephanopoulos. Short of that, Biden’s arrogance will keep him firmly in place.

While endangered swing-state Democrats held a secret meeting complete with tears, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.) joined his New York colleague, left-wing Squad leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in publicly standing behind their man. The president, meanwhile, held a video call with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Caucus members, who have enjoyed important chairmanships and White House access during Biden’s administration, pledged their continued loyalty — and warned that black voters don’t want a change to the ticket.

Conservative pundits who had expected a quick decapitation were correct to point to the Democratic Party’s determination to win at any cost, but they forgot there isn’t any special genius behind that viciousness. And while Democrats display a will to power that’s unique in American politics, that power isn’t centralized in the New York Times editorial board or the D.C. morning show hosts or even the Obamas in Martha’s Vineyard. And the White House has a good deal of that power.

That’s not to say Biden’s problems are going away. His mental decline isn’t going to reverse, and every misstep will hurt a lot more than it would have before the June debate. Even a strong teleprompter read at the NATO conference in D.C. will only soothe rather than heal, and the years-old leaks from worried world leaders will carry new weight in this media environment.

Biden’s chances of surviving, however, are decidedly better today than they were on Sunday. The memo has gone out that he’s not leaving the stage, and that means further intraparty fighting that Republicans will use to win. That could shut people up fast.

It’s important to remember that the past two weeks haven’t shown any sudden turn toward honesty in reporting but have instead exposed a panic that Donald Trump might win.

If Biden survives the first week of elected Democrats getting chased through the halls for comment, he’ll get a week’s rest while the Republicans meet at their convention in Wisconsin. After that, it’s just a week and a half with Congress in session before the long August recess and the Democratic National Convention. And then he’s the nominee.

Speaking of conventions, there’s more than a little pride afoot in Milwaukee as well. Republican delegates flew in Sunday for their quadrennial meeting, where they form committees and subcommittees, offer amendments, take votes, and hammer out the party platform.

Only this time, they didn’t.

There were no press, no activists, no subcommittees, and no amendments. Delegates were handed a shiny party platform, entertained with speakers and multimedia presentations, and then suddenly there was a motion to approve, it was seconded, and it was done. Upset delegates were told to pipe down, followed to the bathrooms to prevent them from using their phones, and generally bullied.

We’ve seen this on the state level before. President George W. Bush’s team, for instance, famously bulldozed the Texas state convention in 2008 as a sort of cementing-his-legacy action. “Parliamentarians were escorted off the floor,” one attendee recalled to Blaze News. “It was a joke.”

The national level is another thing, however. “It’s never happened before,” Utah platform committee delegate Gayle Ruzicka told a reporter Monday. “They didn’t allow any amendments; they didn’t allow any discussion. They rolled us, that’s what they did. You know, I spent thousands of dollars to be here, and everything they told us they were going to [do] isn’t what happened. None of it happened. I’ve never seen this happen before. I don’t understand why they did it.”

Another delegate confirmed this treatment to Blaze News, adding that it was “unprecedented.”

In the end, the Trump team got what it wanted: watered-down sections on life and marriage as part of a broader platform that reflects the candidate more than the party activists so loyal to him.

And that’s not all: By Tuesday afternoon, word was out that America’s most popular Republican governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, wouldn’t have a speaking role at the convention either. “They’re exerting an insane amount of control over the convention,” one Republican Senate aide remarked.

It’s all personal. The president is angry at several national pro-life groups and angered by disappointing 2022 electoral results that he blamed in part on them. He thinks many of them are grifters, and he’s got a point about a few. Nor does he have any love for DeSantis, whose sins include both challenging Trump for the nomination and winning re-election by a historic margin in his home state. In short, they’ve stung the nominee’s pride.

Sure, he might be right about this slight or that, but when you stack up the treatment of delegates, activists, pro-lifers, and other Republican officials, you see a pattern. A pattern that risks turning a show of unity into a show of force. Trump’s got the advantage right now. It would be prideful and foolish to spend it on friendly fire.

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IN OTHER NEWS

Republicans gear up for Wednesday fights

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on both Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy’s bill to prohibit illegal immigrants from voting and Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller’s bill for disapproval of the Biden administration’s Title IX order giving men access to women’s sports and bathrooms.

While neither bill is going anywhere the U.S. Senate, both fit well into the summer’s election prep — and Democrats are set to fall into both traps.

While maintaining that illegal immigrants cannot vote in the first place, the White House, for instance, has condemned the bill making it explicitly illegal for the millions of people the Biden administration has allowed over the border to vote. Officials claim it’s not happening, and they don’t want any law to make sure it’s not happening. This might be good politics with their activists, but it’s terrible with voters. Immigration is consistently a top issue with voters.

Likewise, a bill condemning men in women’s bathrooms and sports is meeting unified Democratic resistance. What will be more telling on this one is if any gutless Republicans join the Democrats in their opposition.

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