• July 2, 2024

Biden is a very good president, but it’s time for him to step aside as candidate

Biden is a very good president, but it’s time for him to step aside as candidate

Andres Oppenheimer

President Biden has been a very good president, but his disastrous senior moments during the first presidential debate will seriously hurt his chances of being reelected in November. Unless he steps down as a candidate, Donald Trump is likely to win the November elections and turn the country into a banana republic with nuclear weapons, or into an English-speaking Venezuela.

Granted, Trump, 78, is a frequently unhinged former president and convicted felon who said one lie after another during the debate. But he looked younger and more potent than Biden, who is 81.

Many Americans who don’t follow the news regularly will never find out about Trump’s shameless distortions of the facts on the economy, immigration, and virtually all other issues during the CNN debate Thursday. What they saw was a former president who sounded more vigorous than Biden, who early in the debate lost his train of thought and remained silent during a few seemingly unending seconds.

Biden had everything to win the debate: America’s economic is growing faster than virtually all other major rich countries, the Wall Street stock market is at all-time highs, unemployment is near its lowest levels in five decades, inflation is coming down, and irregular immigration — Trump’s signature issue — has plummeted over the past five months.

In addition, Trump’s embrace of dictators such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, his public support for the insurrectionists who took the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and his unpopular policies on abortion and climate change would have made the former president an easy target for Biden.

But Biden couldn’t get his points across, because his voice was feeble and he often struggled to recite complicated memorized data.

Take the case of the immigration issue, which Trump kept bringing up to deflect questions about his criminal conviction, extra-marital affairs, or whatever inconvenient issue was raised during the discussion.

Biden could have easily countered Trump’s claim that there is an invasion of undocumented migrants by citing the latest U.S. Customs and Border Patrol figures, which show that undocumented migrant crossings fell by more than 40% during the first five months of this year.

What’s more, Biden could have said that Trump’s frequent assertion that immigrants “are poisoning the blood of this country” is a Nazi-era racist remark that obscures the fact that America needs immigrants. The U.S. population is aging rapidly, and the country desperately needs new immigrant workers to make up for retirees.

Likewise, Biden could have ridiculed Trump’s repeated false claim that Biden has opened the border to “millions” of migrants who “come in here from prisons, jails and mental institutions” to commit violent crimes. Really?, “Millions” of prisoners and mental patients come here and kill Americans? Biden could have asked mockingly, making it clear to everybody that Trump is a lie-spewing machine.

Biden merely said that such assertions were “Malarkey,” and that “everything he says is a lie,” most often without making the point that no serious study says migrants commit more crimes than Americans. On the contrary, several studies show the opposite.

A Northwestern University study looked at incarceration data for the past 150 years and found that immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than people born in the U.S. A Cato Institute study released last week backed previous reports showing that immigrants on average commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens.

Biden didn’t even have to cite any hard data: he could just have counter-attacked, portraying his rival as a racist fearmonger who cherry-picks crimes committed by foreigners to demonize immigrants for political gain.

Biden could have mocked Trump’s assertion at the debate that migrants are stealing “Black jobs” in America, noting that there are not enough people to fill existing job openings.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that there are 9 million job openings but only 6.4 million workers without jobs. In Florida, there are only 53 available workers for every 100 job openings, the Chamber says.

Ideally, Biden could have addressed the root causes of migration. He could have brought up the need for a U.S. strategic alliance with willing Latin American countries to help lift their people from poverty, reduce migration, jointly fight drug trafficking and increase U.S. exports.

The president could have pointed out that no matter how many walls the U.S. builds on the border, migrants will continue coming as long as there are jobs available, and that Trump’s isolationist foreign policy would only make things worse. Unfortunately, Latin America didn’t even come up at the debate.

“It’s very worrisome that Latin America wasn’t mentioned neither during Trump’s off-the-wall statements nor during president Biden’s mental lapses,” Alejandro Werner, a former head of the International Monetary Fund’s Western Hemisphere department, told me.

He added that if the United States is serious about reducing irregular immigration, combating drug cartels, increasing trade and curbing China’s influence in Latin America, Washington must strike a long-term economic alliance with willing countries in the region.

Biden said after the debate that “it’s hard to debate with a liar,” and he’s right about that. But, for the good of the country, Biden should step aside and propose that a younger candidate be nominated at the Aug. 19 Democratic convention in Chicago. Otherwise, the odds are that he will lose in November, and a Trump victory would turn this country into a corruption-ridden autocracy with an unhinged leader — much like Venezuela.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *