Way out on a limb here, and against broad consensus, I believe the two leading candidates for America’s next-term president will be absent from the November 5, 2024, ballot. My opinion of how that would happen is the topic of this post with which few will agree.
I have recently heard many people express something like, “With over 340 million people in America, is this really the best we can find?” Of course, only about 160 million would be qualified to be president, but still. I have to admit, this time last year, I never thought President Biden or former President Trump would be the front runners by huge margins two months prior to the first primary elections. I also have to concede that apparently both will win their respective primaries.
However, I don’t believe that Biden actually plans to serve a second term. Despite his cognitive deficiences, he has to recognize that his other incompentencies and unpopularity would be devastating for our nation. But he also realizes an announcement to not seek a second term would make him a lame duck with little influence for the rest of his term. Trump, on the other hand, will not likely bow out without extremely heavy pressure from his party leaders. I believe there will come a time, probably after the primaries, when his legal encumbrances and his increasingly narcissistic behavior will force his withdrawal from the race. I predict this scenario would set up an unprecedented situation resulting in the most chaotic presidential election in our nation’s history. Thankfully, there are policies and procedures for such a predicament.
First, a little background. Although voters at the primary polls choose their general election presidential candidates, it is technically the Republican and Democratic national conventions that have the final say regarding their parties’ nominees. Convention delegates from all states selected through state processes, and coordinated with the respective party’s national committee, vote on each party’s candidate. Most of these candidates are “pledged” or “bound” to vote according to their states’ majority votes, at least in the first rounds of voting. A few are “unpledged” or “superdelegates” who are allowed to vote their conscience regardless of their state vote. The 2024 Republican Convention at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 15-18, 2024, will have 2,469 delegates with 104 unpledged. The Democratic Convention at Chicago, Illinois, August 19-22, 2024, will have 4,532 delegates with 744 superdelegates. If the votes are close, the voting may go several rounds until there is a majority winner. At some point in multiple rounds, the pledged or bound delegates are released to vote their conscience rather than with their state majority.
I envision a case where both Biden and Trump win their respective primary elections, after which both will withdraw from the general election within days before their national conventions. That will allow each of them to claim they would have won a second term while releasing their parties to run other candidates in America’s best interests. Of course, it would throw the conventions into unprecedented disarray. The delegates would coordinate with their respective state committees with the vast majority voting for their states’ second choices. There would likely be several rounds of votes in each convention. Eventually, a Republican and a Democrat candidate would rise to the top and enter the general election.
The next three or four months would see the wildest presidential campaigns of our lifetimes. The two (or three) unanticipated candidates would be doing whatever it takes to sway the massive voting public in a very short period of time. Ultimately, the 2024 making of the election sausage would be from a rare recipe that might produce the best outcome for America in a long while.