- Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Dwight D. Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson. That’s the last time a presidential election featured the same two guys from the previous election.

In 1952, Eisenhower took 55% of the popular vote, winning all but nine states and crushing the Electoral College 442-89.

Four years later, having wrapped up the Korean War and with the U.S. economy booming, the two faced off again. Mr. Eisenhower delivered an even bigger beat down, taking 57% of the popular vote and winning in the Electoral College 457-73.

Republicans apparently haven’t learned the lesson from the ’56 election, which is simple: A loser is a loser.

Donald Trump lost badly in 2020 (don’t believe a word the ex-president says; he got his clock cleaned). Four years earlier, Americans turned out in droves to vote against Hillary Clinton, but last election, they hit the polls to vote against Mr. Trump.

Joe Biden? Joe Biden??!! He’d run for president three times previously and dropped out early every time (once over charges of plagiarism, which were totally true). Mr. Biden couldn’t even beat a first-term senator from Illinois for the 2008 nomination.

But in Mr. Trump, he found an opponent he could beat — from the comfort of his own basement. He barely campaigned, citing COVID-19, and still got 7 million more votes, winning the Electoral College handily, 306 to 232.

I’ve spent hours and hours cataloging why Mr. Biden WAS a terrible candidate and IS an absurdly bad president. I’ve chronicled incident after incident that points to Mr. Biden’s loss of mental acuity, his proclivity for gaffes, his fumbles and tumbles.

So now let’s do Mr. Trump, who will be 78 years old this June, just a few years younger than Mr. Biden.

“We won world wars out of forts,” Mr. Trump said this week at an event in Rochester, New Hampshire. “Fort Benning, Fort This, Fort That, many forts. They changed the name, we won wars out of these forts, they changed the name, they changed the name of the forts. A lot of people aren’t too happy about that.”

Mr. Trump then rephrased and said it all over. “They changed the name of a lot of our forts. We won two world wars out of a lot of these forts, and they changed the name. It’s unbelievable.”

Also this week, Mr. Trump said: “We’re also going to place strong protections to stop banks and regulators from trying to debank you from your, you know, your political beliefs. What they do, they want to debank you. And we are going to debank, think of this. They want to take away your rights. They want to take away your country, the things you’re doing. All electric cars. Give me a break. If you want an electric car, good. But they don’t go far. They’re very expensive.”

And, of course, Mr. Trump last week blamed his Republican presidential opponent and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — not once but over and over.

“By the way, they never report the crowd on Jan. 6. You know Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, you know, they — do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it,” Trump claimed. “Because of lots of things … like Nikki Haley is in charge of security — we offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people.”

He meant Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House at the time, not Ms. Haley.

Ms. Haley, who finished a close second to Mr. Trump in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, jumped on Mr. Trump right away. “They’re saying he got confused, that he was talking about something else, he’s talking about Nancy Pelosi, he mentioned me multiple times in that scenario. The concern I have is, I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this.”

Ms. Haley, a former U.S. ambassador, was about as diplomatic as you can be. She questioned Mr. Trump’s mental acuity while “not saying anything derogatory.”

Both Messrs. Trump and Biden are too old to be president — way too old. How many more examples do we need that prove this?

But the bigger question is, how are Joe Biden and Donald Trump the two best candidates for president in a country of 330 million people?

Here’s one option for Election Day 2024. Don’t show up. NOBODY show up. If neither Messrs. Trump or Biden gets a single vote, we’d have to start all over again. Maybe then we can find a candidate who isn’t a million years old and out of it.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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