Opinion

OPINION | WOODY BASSETT: Democrats, Republicans failing the nation if 2024 becomes a rematch of 2020

Biden vs. Trump will reflect parties failing the nation

Though it's abundantly clear a majority of Americans don't want a Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch, it appears likely that's what we are going to get in the 2024 presidential election as both Biden and Trump are currently prohibitive favorites to be nominated by their respective political parties.

The thought of next year's presidential contest turning into a sequel to the 2020 election is demoralizing to many voters. It's a sad commentary on the state of American politics and indicative of how miserably the Republican and Democratic parties are failing the country.

Voters rightly desire a different and better choice this time, one that might give them an opportunity to enthusiastically cast a vote for their preferred candidate instead of being reduced to simply voting against the other candidate.

For example, if it ends up being Biden vs. Trump in 2024, I'll be voting for Biden, not because I believe he ought to serve another four years as president but strictly because it's my fervent belief Trump is a clear danger to American democracy and should never again be anywhere near the White House.

A vibrant and healthy democracy requires two robust and principled political parties.

Today, there's nothing robust about the Democratic Party. It needs new leadership, fresh energy and new ideas.

Today, there's not much left of the traditional Republican Party. Ever since Donald Trump hijacked it in 2016, the beliefs, values and policies of the Republican Party have been largely dominated by hard-right elements allied with and completely beholden to the former president. Now, the party's so-called principles are whatever Trump says they are.

President Biden's age is a big issue and a political liability. There are legitimate concerns as to whether he has the capacity and stamina to effectively serve another four-year term as president. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should step aside and open it up for other candidates to seek the Democratic nomination.

David Ignatius, a top Washington Post columnist and an admirer of President Biden, recently wrote: "But I don't think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection. It's painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished. But if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement -- which was stopping Trump."

Despite facing four indictments, lying about the 2020 election and spearheading an insurrection, Trump still maintains an iron grip on the Republican Party. Having repeatedly attacked our country's democracy, the Constitution, our institutions and the rule of law, Trump has proven he's unfit for high office. His unconscionable actions following the last presidential election should disqualify him from a 2024 run.

Opinion is divided on whether Trump, as a former president, should have been indicted. But if one believes the rule of law is central to our democracy and that "no man is above the law," there's a compelling argument three of the four indictments were warranted. As for the multiple criminal charges now pending against Trump, it's important to note he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In fairness to voters, it's essential that Trump stand trial in at least one or two of the cases prior to next year's general election. If Trump wants to be president again, he should have to face a jury of his peers in a court of law before he faces the voters in the court of public opinion in November 2024.

In some ways, a political campaign is like a jury trial without rules of evidence. While campaigns and trials are both adversarial in nature, there are profound differences in how they are conducted. Trump will discover there are strict rules of evidence in a courtroom and witnesses who testify to a jury are under oath and subject to cross-examination to test their credibility.

There's no such thing as "alternative facts" in a court of law. In a campaign, politicians can say whatever they want but in a trial making stuff up, pushing crazy conspiracy theories or trying to "gaslight" a jury won't work because jurors don't take kindly to being lied to.

Truth, facts, evidence and the law don't seem to matter much anymore in politics. Those things mean absolutely nothing to Trump. But they still mean everything in our justice system.

By virtue of their verdicts, juries composed of 12 fair and impartial citizens will determine Trump's fate on the crimes he's charged with. But the most important jury by far in 2024 will be composed of those millions of Americans who cast a vote in the presidential election.

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, the hope here is the American people will return a verdict against him, even if Joe Biden is his opponent.

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