The Presidential Election Of 2024: Don’t Change Horses In Midstream

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In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln was encountering considerable opposition to his running for a second term. Citing this proverb, Lincoln appealed to voters to reelect him, rather than taking a chance on a lesser-experienced candidate.

Today, our nation is at peace, but two years from now we may well find ourselves much more embroiled in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Like Lincoln, President Joe Biden might urge voters to give him another term rather than take a chance on someone else.

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Of course, it could be argued by political opponents that since Biden had brought us to the brink of direct involvement in the war, changing horses would be exactly what we needed to do. Indeed, it might even enable us to avert the greatest disaster in our nation’s history.

Almost any potential opponent – whether a fellow Democrat vying against Biden for the party’s nomination – or a Republican, perhaps even Donald Trump, could make the argument that our paramount goal should be to avoid a nuclear war. And that if Biden had not already gotten us embroiled in one, he might still do so in the very near future.

Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine

The argument could certainly be made that while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine was clearly criminal, our getting any more deeply involved might well lead to a nuclear war – a war in which there are no winners.

Biden’s opponent in 2024 could very reasonably argue that even the possibility of driving the Russian armed forces completely out of Ukraine could not possibly be worth the risk of a nuclear war.

Trump has regularly claimed that if he had remained in the White House, there would not have been a Russian invasion of Ukraine, presumably because of his great relationship with Putin. Of course, Biden – or any other Democratic presidential candidate -- would remind voters that Trump was nothing but Putin’s lap dog.

They would, of course, also raise the long history of Trump’s financial dealings with Russian oligarchs, his theft of highly classified government documents and his careless handling of them over the last two years.

Trump’s foreign policy views have not only been quite consistent, but they actually hark back to the sage advice given by Presidents Washington and Jefferson more than two centuries ago, that our nation avoid foreign entanglements and unstable alliances. Of course, that advice made a lot more sense back then than it does today.

The America First Movement

Perhaps a more relevant parallel would be the “America First” movement of the late 1930s and early 1940s, when millions of German sympathizers urged our nation to stay out of World War II.

Not only do Trump’s political sympathies align quite well with Hitler’s, but his hostility toward our membership in NATO provides a clear window into his actions – or the lack thereof – that he might take in Ukraine if he were to be elected to a second term.

Trump’s basic objection to NATO policy was his belief that most of its members did not spend their fair share on defense, leaving the United States to bear a disproportionate burden. He really was not wrong. But in his efforts to brow-beat our allies into paying their fair share, he managed to very seriously damage the alliance.

Even today, the United States is, by far, bearing a disproportionate burden in providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. But on the other hand, our NATO allies – especially the nations bordering on Ukraine such as Poland, Romania and Hungary – have each admitted many, many more Ukrainian war refugees than the United States. That, also, would be in alignment with what a President Trump would have done.

The Presidential Election Of 2024

A great deal can and will happen between now and the presidential election of 2024. We may not know until well into the coming year if Trump will have one last hurrah. I had thought that he might have even announced his candidacy by now, and there is a chance, of course, that he may still do so before the end of the year.

You can be sure, however, that the citizens of Russia and Ukraine are awaiting his decision with as much interest as the citizens of our own country.

There is no question that Russian president Valdimir Putin is not only rooting for his lap dog to regain the presidency, but he is already planning to provide even more political assistance than he did in 2016 and in 2020.