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Why the Midterms May Prove to Be Good for Republicans and Bad for Democrats

The Hill

The general spin on the election results is that they were good for Democrats and bad for Republicans. And they were, at least in the short term.

But they may ultimately prove to be good for Republicans, since former President Trump’s grip on the GOP has taken a beating, opening the door to younger and more electable 2024 Republican presidential candidates.

And the elections may ultimately prove to be bad for Democrats, since they are likely stuck with President Biden and Vice President Harris for the next two years. Democrats may have little choice but to accept Biden as the 2024 presidential nominee if he decides he wants to run again.

In other words, the elections may have solved the GOP’s Trump problem and made the Democrats’ Biden problem worse.

The Democrats’ Biden problem is pretty straight forward. He intends to run for reelection in 2024. He said so at his victory-lap press conference on Wednesday. He sees Republicans’ underperformance as a direct result of his leadership and policies, validating his presidency.

Had Democrats taken a shellacking in the midterms, he might question his ability to win another election. He seems to have little doubt about that now.

But there has been widespread chatter and concern about Biden’s mental acuity. Twitter is full of videos of the president seemingly wandering off as if he doesn’t know where he is. Is it the general mental decline that often comes with old age? We don’t know. But if it is and it worsens over the next year or two, Democrats may have to stage an intervention with him.

That would be very tricky, and it isn’t at all clear that Biden and Harris would accept being nudged out the 2024 door.

By contrast, the elections badly damaged Trump’s ability to control the GOP. He backed several candidates based more on their loyalty to him and his stolen-election narrative than on having a history of successful public service. Some good Republican candidates, many in the mainstream with winning track records, lost in the primaries to Trump’s picks, most of whom went on to lose to poor Democratic candidates in what could have been winnable races.

That has resulted in a number of prominent Republicans expressing their frustration with Trump, and conceding that it is time to move on from him. That would be good news if it happens. The next race should be about 2024 and the future, not 2020 and the past. And it surely will be about 2020 if Trump is the nominee. 

Polls are increasingly indicating that Democrats would prefer someone other than Biden for the 2024 election. And while Republicans have been more open to Trump running for reelection in 2024, I expect to see that sentiment change now.

Both men should bow out and let the next generation take a shot at running for president. The last thing the country needs—and the last thing either party wants—is a Biden-Trump rematch.