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OPINION: The presidential election from hell

by CHUCK MALLOY
| March 15, 2024 1:00 AM

It’s amazing. Seventy percent of American voters don’t want to see a Biden-Trump rematch, yet that’s what the two major political parties are giving us. 

With glee and gusto, setting the stage for the worst presidential election in the history of American politics.

Well … the worst in my lifetime, for sure. My life goes back to the Truman presidency, and the 1960 race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was the first one to catch my attention. I cast a vote in that election — in my fourth-grade class at Osburn Elementary.

So, how is this election worse than four years ago when the same candidates were running? Glad you asked. Joe Biden was four years younger and didn’t look so much as if he were ready for assisted living. Donald Trump, who was the incumbent four years ago, had a relatively clean slate. His biggest blemish was an impeachment in the House of Representatives, which was dismissed by the Senate. Trump’s worst offenses — his role with the Jan. 6 insurrection and his disgusting attempts to rig the election results in Georgia and other states — came after his 2020 defeat.

But all that is fine as far as mainstream Republicans are concerned. In their minds, Trump defeated Biden fair and square four years ago, and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was nothing more than a “tourist” gathering. And it’s OK that a jury decides that Trump should pay millions of dollars of damages in a sexual-assault case (the judge called it rape).

Who knows what’s going to happen if Trump wins. The 2020 election will continue to live in infamy, and maybe Trump will be able to sway more people into believing that he was the rightful winner. Maybe he’ll use Inauguration Day to hang Mike Pence and Nikki Haley. And who knows if he will even follow the Constitution? According to his core supporters, maybe it’s time to rip up the whole document and start over — with Trump writing the rules and serving as president for life.

The alternative to Trump is four more years of Biden, and that’s no bargain either. As our congressional delegation tells it, Biden has been a disaster in his handling of the economy, border security, foreign policy and just about everything he has touched in the last four years. My biggest concern is with his age, and the prospect of having a president with diminished mental faculties.

Sure, he gave a strong speech in his recent State of the Union address — far exceeding the expectations of those who may have been worried about him having  a “senior freeze” or two at the podium. Biden was in good form all right, but neither star athletes — nor presidents — can beat Father Time in the end. The president’s cognitive skills have been under scrutiny for some time. If he wins, we’ll get more of that — every single day of a second term.

I know … a lot of Republicans will disagree with my thoughts about this election. Idaho’s congressional delegation has unanimously endorsed Trump, and the former president received about 85 percent of the vote in the recent caucus. His landslide victory in Idaho had Dorothy Moon, the state party chair, beaming with pride.

 “We recognize that our state stands as a beacon of support for Republican ideals, reaffirming Idaho’s status as ‘Trump Country’ with his resounding victory in our caucus,” she said in a news release. “Trump’s agenda is what strengthened our nation before, and it will once more.”

Jack Smith, who has been leading prosecution efforts against Trump, doesn’t seem to have much momentum. Trump’s legal team took a victory lap after the Supreme Court’s ruling against Colorado’s effort to boot Trump off the ballot for his role with the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The unanimous court decision “underscores the bedrock principles of our democracy and the rule of law,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, founder and managing partner of Trump’s legal team.

Suffice it to say, it’s going to be a long eight months before the November election, and a longer four years — regardless of the outcome. On the bright side, 2028 is only a few years away and there’s a chance that things will be more “normal” — without Biden or Trump on the ballot.

I just hope the nation can survive that long.

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Silver Valley native Chuck Malloy is a longtime Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com.