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Joe Biden’s Basement Campaign Should Let GOP Dominate the Summer

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2023
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by Aaron Flanigan
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AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan

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In the weeks since Joe Biden launched his reelection campaign, some Republicans have been quick to bemoan his absence from the campaign trail, worrying that the media complex will effectively run his campaign for him just as they did during his basement campaign of 2020.

Though these concerns are certainly legitimate, Biden’s absence from the spotlight this summer will also hand GOP presidential hopefuls an invaluable opportunity to promote their own policy plans, lay out their own visions for America’s future, and perhaps most importantly, attack Biden—all without much of a direct response from the president himself.

Unlike 2020, Biden now has a record as president that he must defend—a task that can be difficult for any politician, much less one who can barely make it through short speeches without looking lost and confused.

Biden remains in a historically vulnerable position for a sitting president seeking a second term. It seems unlikely his dismal approval rating, which continues to hover around 41 percent, will budge if the president cannot even make the case for his own reelection.

Historically, incumbent presidents running for reelection use the spring and summer prior to the year of the election to gain ground on their eventual opponents. As AMAC Newsline’s Daniel Berman observed in a column earlier this spring, “At this point in 1995, 2003, and 2011, the Clinton, Bush, and Obama campaigns had [been] fully formed and were even beginning to launch plans to use the primaries as dry runs of their general election machine.”

The summer before an election year gives the incumbent president a valuable opportunity to unite his party behind him while the opposing party is busy attacking one another. But so far this cycle, that does not appear to be happening. Instead, since Biden announced his campaign, his poll numbers have gone down.

Meanwhile, Biden’s inactivity will likely force the media to turn their attention to the Republican primary horserace—even if they would be otherwise disinclined to grant airtime to conservatives.

Although former President Donald Trump continues to dominate both state and national primary polls, the growing Republican primary field will likely result in at least a nominally competitive primary season, which could draw national attention to key conservative issues that would otherwise fail to generate media coverage.

Some Americans—particularly those who rely on mainstream media sources for their information consumption—may be unaware of the sweeping extent to which Biden administration policies are wreaking havoc on American families and threatening the American way of life. Central issues like the border crisis, skyrocketing crime rates, or opposition to Critical Race Theory and gender ideology, for instance, have thus far gone largely ignored by the media establishment. But without any newsworthy actions or announcements from the Biden campaign, an energetic GOP primary could bring all those issues to the fore.

Several Republican candidates have already laid out bold and innovative policy initiatives that are far more compelling than anything Biden has unveiled for his second-term agenda.

Trump, for instance, has announced plans to combat the surge of illegal immigration by reinstating his administration’s border security measures, deploying military assets to impose a “full naval embargo” on drug cartels, and ending cartels’ access to the global financial system. He also announced a plan to root out Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, and other left-wing forces in our nation’s schools by supporting the direct election of principals by parents. In the realm of free speech, he has promised to ban government collusion with private entities to censor the lawful speech of American citizens, and has vowed to fire federal bureaucrats who have engaged in censorship.

The media’s coming primary coverage could allow Trump and other candidates to promote these policies to wider audiences and win over a significant number of independents or otherwise undecided voters.

But perhaps most importantly, Biden’s decision not to campaign this summer could provide Republican presidential hopefuls with a much-needed chance to level attacks against Biden himself, which the media refuses to do with any regularity or sincerity.

Of course, conservatives are right to fear that the media’s coddling of Biden could ultimately damage the Republican nominee’s chances in the general election—and come next summer, the GOP will need a plan to ensure Biden’s campaign is held accountable even when the media opts to cover his tracks.

But for now, Republicans should take advantage of the coming shift in media coverage and dominate the summer.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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