The hit sitcom Seinfeld had a famous tagline, “the show about nothing.” The popularity of this nickname came from the audience’s bemusement upon watching the show’s ensemble cast of Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George rummaging through the inconsequential tidbits of everyday life.
Seinfeld may be the secret director behind the 2024 election, which may likely–to the complete agony of an exhausted American public–be a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. If it is Biden v. Trump once more, then indeed this will be the election about nothing. It really will be worthwhile to spend that November Tuesday exercising or reading a good book.
These are both incredibly old men who would finish being president, if elected, in their eighties. Neither wears his age well, with the ghoulish Biden looking uncomfortably gaunt and the loutish Trump, unbecomingly plump. The former is ghastly and pale, the latter tacky and orange.
Both of them are wrinkled white men with a history of divorces and broods of irritating children. Whether it’s Hunter Biden and his harrowing drug-ridden escapades or Donald Trump Jr. with the stale leftovers of Gavin Newsom’s failed marriage to current Trump Family bawd Kim Guilfoyle; whether it’s the Biden daughter with her creepy diaries or the Trump daughter with the permanent cold stare and mettlesome husband; the only thing one can glean from these presidential families is good ideas about how not to live.
And therein lies the greatest tragedy of a Biden-Trump rematch. They will have both served one term, during which, neither of them excelled. Their defenders quote illusory economic gains that anybody living in middle-class America can dispute based on recent memory. Trump supporters tout statistics about labor force participation and the low unemployment rate between 2017 and 2019, then conveniently omit any comments about how little resilience the Trump economy showed when hit by COVID. Biden supporters keep talking about job growth by setting the baseline for comparison at the COVID nadir, when the entire country had been shut down for two years.
For all the talk about women’s issues, it seems strange these two cavemen from the pre-feminist 1960s, one who famously mused that women let rich men grab them by their pudenda, the other who can’t avoid invading the personal space of women and girls around him, would end up rising above millions of qualified men and women who hold normal views about committed heterosexual relationships.
Betty Friedan once claimed in The Feminine Mystique that housewives across America were asking, “is this all there is?” Today, of course, there are no more housewives because wages have not kept up with inflation and you can’t raise a family on one income. The profile she painted is gone, but the question is the same. “Is this all there is?” Except now everyone has to ask that.
In a nation of 340 million people, our only options are old and older, white and whiter, Knucklehead 1 or Knucklehead 2, clumsy versus clunky, Queens tough-guy accent or Philly tough-guy accent, dumb or dumber.
The only thing that will be different from 2020 is that few people will claim that “this is the most important election of our lifetime.” Nobody could say that with a straight face. This election won’t matter. We’ve seen the Democrats, Republicans, then Democrats again enjoy the trifecta–White House, Senate, and House–only to discover that nothing ever changes. Obama promised us affordable health care and gave us ObamaCare, which translated to premiums over $1,000, deductibles over $6,000, co-pays that are worse than paying out of pocket, and good old-fashioned denials of claim. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Trump told his evangelical stooges that he was the most pro-life president of their lifetime, then appointed the justices who decided to send the abortion question back to the states. Do pro-life people believe that the unborn are, in fact, life? Wouldn’t that indicate that abortion is murder? And would you let the voters in states decide whether murder should be legal?
Trump was really a Democrat but knew he could never win given the Clintonista and Obama machines. He had to run as a Republican, which doomed him to surrounding himself with Stepford conservatives who turn every debate into an argument for small government and low taxes. While the two parties are both rotten, they are rotten in different ways. Democrats get sidetracked from the Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Carter missions for the common man. But they understand, at least, that the government exists to help the common man or has no reason to exist at all. Republicans have consumed so many decades of Cold War anticommunist propaganda that they never question their false claim about civil society–namely, that the government oppresses people by helping them. They are so busy proclaiming that socialism has been tried and failed that they never take the time for a brief history lesson about the early twentieth century, when their free market purism was tried and failed. Most Republicans I’ve met believe that Roosevelt prolonged the Great Depression by launching programs to help people survive.
In a contest between distracted partisans who understand the role of government on one hand, and partisans undeterred from their foolish illusions about the purpose of government, the former will eventually prevail, and the latter will soon have no purpose in the conversation at all. A choice between Biden and Trump is a choice between an old man who will be succeeded by people who understand civics, and an old captain steering a ship full of grouches out to a sea of irrelevance, to be eaten by seagulls.
Unless by a miracle Bobby Kennedy Jr. or Marianne Williamson wins the Democratic nomination, I will spend Election Day 2024 reading a Tolstoy novel.
Beef prices skyrocketing? No worries! Get ahead of the game and stock up on premium, shelf-stable, freeze-dried cuts from Freedom First Beef! Level up your prepper game and order now. Use promo code STOCKUP to save 15% when you order.