2024 will test the longevity of the civil society
Unlike in 2020, when then-candidate Joe Biden was leading almost all of the polls — out of 293 national polls taken during that cycle compiled by RealClearPolitics.com, Biden led 285 of them, or 97 percent of them — this time around, former President Donald Trump has an observable advantage in the polls, leading President Biden in 103 out of 214 polls taken, or 48 percent of them. Biden has only led 81, or just 38 percent, and 30 are tied, or 14 percent.
Since, given Democrats’ historical advantage in the popular vote — Republicans have not won the popular vote since 2004 but still managed to eke out Electoral College wins in 2000 and 2016 without it — any potential tie in the popular vote would still bode well for Trump and Republicans in 2024. So, really, about 62 percent of the polls (and rising) showing that at this point in the race, with less than a year to go until November, Trump definitely has an advantage.
This has tended to be true even in the four-way, five-way race polls and seven-way race polls as the political parties attempt to stack the deck in every way imaginable to find a configuration of candidates that might show Biden prevailing.
Since the polls are real and show Biden is quite vulnerable regardless of which race is considered rather early in the process — the primaries haven’t even begun yet — this is leading to widespread panic in the Washington, D.C. establishment and attempts to remove Trump from the ballot first from Colorado and now Maine as GOP appeals rush to the Supreme Court so that Republicans in the primary and general election voters will be the ones to determine who the next president is.
This panic and push to remove Trump in turn is threatening to continue the constitutional crisis that began in 2016 with the attempt to subvert his candidacy and then administration on false charges he was a foreign agent. Even after Trump won, official Washington, D.C. could not accept the outcome and sought to overturn if not the election’s outcome, then to delegitimize it and effectively run out the clock.
By 2020, with the help of Covid and the ensuing economic lockdowns plus mail-in balloting, Democrats managed to boost turnout in the election to narrowly defeat Trump, winning by a scant 43,000 votes in Georgia (10,000), Arizona (10,000) and Wisconsin (23,000), which if they had gone the other way, the Electoral College would have been tied 269 to 269, sending the election to the House of Representatives.
Given the closeness, Trump returned the favor visited upon him after 2016 and challenged the outcome of the election, and its legitimacy as well. This unfortunately led to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, numerous prosecutions of rioters whether they were peaceful or not, and now prosecutions of Trump himself in a bid to imprison him and add legitimacy to the attempt to keep him off the ballot.
This is all insane. Every bit of it. Because it’s dangerous. The U.S. Civil War began in 1860 because the defeated political party, the Democrats, could not accept the outcome of the election. And in 2016, they began that process again as now both parties have joined in what appears to be mortal combat over who gets to sit in the White House even though whether it is Trump or Biden, both would be constitutionally term-limited and second terms are usually very difficult to move legislation or get much accomplished anyway.
As things proceed, the election does not even appear to be turning on issues so far, but when those are considered, on issues like the war in Ukraine, Trump’s opponents appear to rather the world burn in nuclear hellfire than admit he was right about the powder keg there as in 2016 the counterintelligence investigation was predicated on Trump’s electoral opposition to U.S. intervention in that region.
And now, Trump’s opponents would apparently rather see the republic fall in civil war (just like almost every other republic that fell in civil war) than see him in office again. They are hoping supporters — it doesn’t matter which side — do something stupid, thus creating a predicate for the federal government to seize even more police powers for itself atop the mass surveillance and censorship regimes that have already been exposed.
That is, everything appears to be on the table except for backing off or admitting a mistake. Historians might look back and ascribe the inevitable outcome as a product of hubris, and surely that is present, but to merely note the pridefulness on display would be to ignore the deliberate catalyzing that has occurred as constitutional norms have been destroyed as the nation appears on the brink of catastrophe.
In short, Washington, D.C. perceives an existential threat to their power, real or imagined, and thus have created one, but now to all of our liberty. 2024 will test the civil society’s longevity but I fear we lack knowledge of its institutions to truly preserve them. We understand the consent of the governed but that’s not enough to want to preserve it.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.