As President Joe Biden gears up for reelection, he is already facing questions about his ability to convince voters that his economy is performing well. There is skepticism about the 80-year-old president’s ability to handle a second term.
Friday, the president faced a new setback after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate his son, Hunter Biden.
However, there were few immediate signs that Garland’s decision changed the president’s standing within the party meaningfully, but it underscored the unprecedented nature of the next election.
“Prior to Trump, this would be a big deal,” said Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair, of Friday’s announcement. “Now, I don’t think it means anything. Trump has made everyone so numb to this stuff.”
Buckley diminished Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, saying, “Because of how dismissive MAGA America is to the very real crimes of Trump and his family, it has numbed the minds of swing voters and Democratic voters or activists who would normally be fully engaged and outraged.”
Polling has consistently indicated that Democratic voters weren’t excited about President Biden’s reelection even before Garland’s announcement.
Only 47% of Democrats said they wanted Biden to run again in 2024, according to an AP-NORC poll that was conducted in April. The enthusiasm of Democrats for the president’s presidential campaign has constantly trailed behind the GOP’s enthusiasm for Trump. In the AP-NORC poll, Republicans, overwhelmingly by 55%, said they wanted Trump to run again.
Over the past three months, President Biden’s Gallup approval rating stood at 41%. Only President Jimmy Carter notched a lower average rating in Gallup’s polling over this point in his presidency, while former President Trump’s rating was the same, at 43%.
On Friday, Garland announced he was naming Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware, David Weiss, as special course into the Hunter Biden administration. The announcement comes as plea deal talks involving gun and tax charges in the case Weiss already had been probing.
However, GOP members remained hopeful the new counsel could ultimately shift away from former President Trump’s baggage while continuing to boost conservative calls to impeach the Dem president, which remains a proposal that has divided the Republicans on Capitol Hill, which has sought evidence for a prolonged period linking the wrongdoings of Hunter Biden with his father.
Republican Representative James Comer of Kentucky, chair of the House Oversight Committee, has already received thousands of pages of financial records from various Biden family members through the Treasury Department subpoenas and several financial institutions as part of the probe by Congress.
Comer: Garland “Trying to stonewall Congressional oversight”
Comer released a statement on Friday and accused Garland of “trying to stonewall Congressional oversight.”
Representative Comer vowed, “to follow the Biden family’s money trail.”
Frontrunner Trump used the chance to put his likely opponent in the general election on the defense and referred to the “Biden crime family” and “Biden cartel.”
“If this special counsel is truly independent — even though he failed to bring proper charges after a four-year investigation and he appeared to be trying to move the case to a more Democrat-friendly venue — he will quickly conclude that Joe Biden, his troubled so Hunter, and their enablers, including the media, which colluded with the 51 intelligence officials who knowingly misled the public about Hunter’s laptop, should face the required consequences,” said the Trump campaign in a statement.
Buckley confirmed that back in New Hampshire, voters aren’t excited about a Biden reelection.
“But they’re really not excited about Trump,” said Buckley. “There’s a seriousness around this election. People can say they’re not excited (about Biden). They can say, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t run again.” But the reality is that he’s the only alternative to Trump.”
In the meantime, it’s unclear if voters are paying attention. A poll by Marquette Law School found about three-quarters of Americans have heard about the agreement of Hunter Biden to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax evasion along with a gun charge. Republicans were slightly more likely than Dems to say they’ve heard “a lot” about the topic. Independents are much less likely to be paying attention.