Why 2024 may not be the worst political year ever

(Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Why 2024 may not be the worst political year ever

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Jackie Calmes

January 25, 2024

The 2028 presidential campaign can’t come soon enough.

Just think: fresh faces, grooved by fewer lines. Fresh ideas, not of the authoritarian, deliberately divisive kind (we can hope). Fresh blood, and without starting Hitlerian talk about poisoning our nation.

A new match, not a rematch of two unpopular geriatric renewal ties. But first we have to get through 2024. Spoiler alert: that’s what we’re going to do, with success.

January, the cruelest month (apologies, TS Eliot), has made it clear that this year will be as bad politically as the pessimists predicted, both in the presidential race and in Congress. Tuesday’s results from New Hampshire, on top of recent weeks’ Iowa caucuses, confirmed that the Republican presidential primaries are all but over: a small share of voters in states representing about 1.4% of the U.S. population have decided that Trump will be the Republican candidate against a weakened President Biden.

So much for the conventional wisdom three years ago this month, after then-President Trump’s deadly machinations to stay in power, that Republicans finally broke away from him. Four criminal charges and 91 felonies later, Trump’s incessant whining about victimhood has rallied his followers. Of the more than ten Republicans who ran against him for the nomination (sadly, most without ever actually running into him), the last man standing is a woman.

And despite Nikki Haley’s pledge Tuesday to keep running a marathon, it’s hard to see her sprinting much longer. It’s all uphill heading into next month’s primaries in South Carolina, where she was once a popular governor and Trump has a huge lead among Republicans in the polls there.

Republican officeholders are lining up to support the man they personally loathe.




Ryan, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, vice presidential candidate and standard bearer of the future of the Republicans, lamented the “brine” in which his party finds itself: “Fear [of Trump] is so palpable.

Meanwhile, in Haley’s oft-repeated words, the chaos that follows Trump is infecting the House of Representatives, which is now more than ever (mis)managed by Republicans who take their cues from him. The House of Representatives is in recess again after leaving town last week amid disagreements with both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate over the annual budget, immigration and aid to Ukraine and Israel. And yet again


Extremists in the House of Representatives are threatening a repeat of last year’s first-ever impeachment of the president, which paralyzed the entire Congress for weeks. The



job holder

MAGA Mike Johnson, turns out not to be tough enough

line. One word from an emboldened Trump could make his head roll.

And yet, despite all the bleak news about our politics and governance, I remain optimistic that American voters will do so in November


restore the highest office in the land to an indecent, ignorant and anti-democratic narcissist, whether he is a convicted felon or not.

Right now, polls can be used to make a case for Trump


Biden’s election. Both men will see highs and lows before November, and the outcome will undoubtedly be close in decisive battleground states. But early surveys suggest Biden has an edge among swing voters; last month, a New York Times poll gave him a 50% to 38% lead among independents. Even Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany warned

Wednesday night

on Fox News

Wednesday night

that he is alienating too many Republicans and independents.

Despite the Republican bias in the Electoral College, which disproportionately favors rural populations, less so

populous and red states over diverse, large and blue states like California and New York, I believe enough Americans will reject a wannabe dictator with an agenda to match. It’s nice to have a strongman running your country, Trump Allowed at a Saturday rally in New Hampshire, after again raving about a dictator he wants to emulate.

We’ll hear a lot of this kind of anti-democratic malarkey in the next nine years, and worse


months. If such talk doesn’t scare you


of most voters, once tuned in, I’m confident this will turn away at least enough of them to give Mr. Thumbs Up a thumbs down. The same goes for Trump’s contempt for the rule of law, which he will surely express in various courthouses throughout the year.

Last week he launched like his

Childish outbursts

towards last week

the judge in the New York case to decide how much to pay E. Jean Carroll for slandering her as a liar because he said she


sexually assaulted her.

You just can’t control yourself


Honorable Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rightly noted this amid Trump’s shenanigans. And neither are you, Trump blurted back. That’s not the worst of him: Trump’s bad comments about judges and prosecutors in his cases have forced them to live with maximum security from death threats. This is not the behavior of a man most voters want to call president again.

Depressingly, two-thirds of Iowans who voted in the Republican caucuses bought Trump’s big lie that Biden had not legitimately won the election; about half of New Hampshire’s Republican primary voters agreed. Yet most of us live in the real world, the one in which Trump’s own attorney general and…




Security officials called off the election fair. We watched for hours as his supporters desecrated the Capitol on his behalf

the commander-in-chief

he watched and did nothing. Stay up to date with the recaps all year long.

The entry and exit polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, there were early indications that a significant minority of Republicans and independents, along with Democrats, are committed to Trump’s defeat. It is data like this that gives me cautious confidence: if Trump continues to whine all year long, lie and consolidate his place as the US. the worst loser in history, most voters will help him get the job done in November. Again.

And then both parties can begin to elevate a new generation of leaders. Better late than never.



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