Leadership guru James Collins says organizations striving for sustained success embrace the concept of “first who, then where.” He uses a bus analogy to demonstrate that concept.
Collins says before a decision is made where to take a bus, you must get the wrong people off the bus, the right people on the bus, and the right people in the right seats on the bus. Then, and only then, are decisions made on where to take the bus. Political parties can use Collin’s “first who, then where” concept to win elections, which is how they define sustained success.
I believe the Democrat Party will do exactly that in gearing up for the 2024 presidential election.
While White House spin doctors regularly maintain Joe Biden’s policies and performance are popular with the public; I suggest Democrat party leaders privately realize his policies and performance are not. I further suggest they know his re- election probability is in deep trouble.
Accordingly, I suggest they will take steps to get the wrong person (Biden) off the 2024 campaign bus, the right person (to be determined) on that bus, and the right persons in the right seats on that bus. Then they will decide where to take that bus. I suggest they know while there are loyal Democratic voters who will support Biden’s reelection no matter what; they also know they need to keep independent voters on board in 2024. These voters are not loyal to either party and may respond with a resounding no to one simple question from whomever the Republicans nominate. That question is: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Ronald Reagan used it early and often for his landslide victory over incumbent Democrat president Jimmy Carter. Reagan affirmed that “buyer’s remorse” is a powerful force in elections.
While getting Biden off the campaign bus will not be easy, the Democrat party has powerful allies with a common goal. Those allies are progressive media outlets. That common goal is a Democrat as president for at least four years starting in January 2025. I suggest progressive media outlets are already doing what they can to help get Biden off the 2024 campaign bus. Look no further than a major pivot in their interest in and coverage of Hunter Biden’s business dealings by progressive media bastions CNN and The Washington Post. During the 2020 debates, Donald Trump said Hunter Biden was receiving large payments from foreign governments and business entities. Joe Biden forcefully rejected these allegations, stating, “None of that is true.” Progressive media outlets accepted that reply without question or further investigation.
Now Hunter Biden’s business dealings are getting much greater scrutiny, including questions about what did Joe know and when did he know it?
Recently, CNN’s Jake Tapper said this about the 2020 debates “Trump was right. I mean, he [Hunter Biden] did make a fortune from China and Joe Biden was wrong,” Tapper said that after reading reports by Glenn Kessler, the chief fact- checker at The Washington Post who wrote “Hunter Biden reported nearly $2.4 million in income in 2017 and $2.2 million in income in 2018, most of which came from Chinese or Ukrainian interests”. Kessler in turn gave Joe Biden four Pinocchio’s, the worst negative rating assigned by the Post to call out candidates and elected officials who issue “false or misleading statements repeated so often that they became a form of propaganda.”
Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen also recently wrote that Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s business dealings “deserves a serious investigation.,” Olsen wrote further that he “long dismissed” stories regarding Hunter Biden, but “recent revelations” changed his mind.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post editorial board acknowledged that critics were “justified” to believe that Hunter received preferential consideration on a plea deal that was ultimately rejected by a federal judge. The editorial board wrote “Initially appearing reasonable, the deal turned out to include peculiar details suggesting critics might have been justified to suspect that Mr. Biden was being given special treatment.”
These pivots are not coincidental, nor do they result from a newfound commitment by two bastions of progressive media outlets to truth, justice, and the America way.
It is a strategy to help Democrat power brokers replace Joe Biden as their standard bearer for president in 2024. Who that replacement is not as important as winning.
In 2020 progressive media outlets helped Joe Biden by advancing a narrative that along with him being a moderate; Joe would be transparent, open, and could be trusted to do the right thing in the right way. Now as Biden’s reelection is uncertain at best, their narrative is completely different.
CNN and The Washington Post are now saying that by his words and his actions, Joe Biden is not transparent nor open and cannot always be trusted to do the right thing in the right way. Students of political history will recall Richard Nixon was impeached by the U.S. House and resigned the presidency in disgrace prior to a U.S. Senate impeachment trial. Nixon concluded he did not have political support in the Senate to survive that trial. This lack of political support occurred after Nixon was reelected less than two years earlier with 60% of the popular vote.
I fully expect the Democrat Party will soon conclude that Joe Biden will not have sufficient political support to be reelected in 2024. Between now and then they will thank him for his party loyalty and for stepping up to be branded as a viable alternative to Donald Trump. Then they will privately tell him there is no seat for you on the 2024 presidential campaign bus.
David Reel is a public affairs/public relations consultant who serves as a trusted advisor on strategy, advocacy, and media matters who resides in Easton.