The Big Tune-Out of 2024
A likely Biden-Trump rematch will lead millions of Americans to check out from politics altogether.
There was lots of chatter over the weekend about the new Washington Post poll showing President Joe Biden in a precarious position for re-election 18 months out from the November 2024 general election.
But overlooked in the key horserace question is an important nugget—nearly 7 in 10 Americans have already made up their mind to vote one way or the other. Thirty-six percent of Americans would “definitely vote for Trump” and 32 percent would “definitely vote for Biden.” The remaining 32 percent of Americans are undecided (12 percent), probably going to vote for Trump (9 percent) or Biden (6 percent), say they would vote for someone else (4 percent), or would not vote at all (1 percent).
What is there to do for the next 500 plus days? Two-thirds of Americans are basically already locked up. The other third of voters are so bored and disenchanted with their likely choices in 2024 that they won’t even pay attention until maybe the very end.
The coming campaign is likely to be the most expensive and least energizing match-up in American history. But the political parties and their media machines won’t allow this to happen, and will churn out story after story, attack ad after attack ad, and Tweet after Tweet until Americans either relent and pay attention to their partisan storytelling or tune it all out.
The smart bet is on the latter.
There isn’t anything new to learn about either Donald Trump or Joe Biden at this point. Nothing has fundamentally changed with either candidate, and neither party is offering voters anything drastically different in terms of policy than the last time around.
This same Post poll also shows that 43 percent of U.S. adults think both Biden and Trump are “too old for another term as president”; 63 percent do not feel Biden “has the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president”; and majorities of adults feel Trump should face criminal charges for his actions related to election tampering and the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
These are not views conducive to a rigorous and thoughtful year plus of public consideration of the options for president.
These are views consistent with select partisan diehards obsessing nonstop about politics while the rest of the country moves on to something else until it gets close to voting time—the big tune-out of 2024.