Columnist John Sheirer: Why Trump will lose again


Published: 01-11-2024 11:32 AM

Four years ago, my column in this newspaper predicted that Donald Trump would lose the 2020 presidential election. Readers who opposed Trump told me, “I wish I had your optimism,” or “That’s what you said in 2016,” or “His crazies have gotten worse and will sweep him back in office.” Trump supporters told me they would “Keep America Great!” and then called me names that aren’t fit to print in this respectable publication.

I listed several reasons for predicting Trump’s 2020 loss. Republicans wouldn’t be able to smear the 2020 nominee with the fake accusations they used against Hillary Clinton in 2016. I mentioned that Trump lost the 2016 popular vote, and the Electoral College result was an unrepeatable fluke. I pointed out that disaffected or overconfident Democrats wouldn’t stay home in 2020 as they did in 2016. And I surmised that no one could claim they didn’t know how awful Trump was after his disastrous time in office.

My prognostication gifts are limited, but that 2020 prediction was rock solid. Now that the 2024 election looms later this year, I’m back with the same prediction: Trump. Will. Lose.

He’ll lose for some of the same 2020 reasons. First, the Republican slander against Joe Biden was silly in 2020 and downright pathetic now. Their “investigations” are evidence-free, and their upcoming impeachment inquiry will further expose their dishonesty.

There’s also the false Republican attack that Biden is frail and senile. Republicans tried that in 2016, and Biden simply laughed and shot out witty barbs while zipping by on his bike. Of course, Republicans will cherry-pick out-of-context Biden comments or show him pause during a speech to try to make him seem doddering. But it’s hard to paint Biden as confused when Trump posts nonsensical social media rants, babbles incoherently at every rally, channels Hitler for applause lines, and is so delusional that he still thinks he won in 2020. The debates (if Trump shows up) will show that Biden’s mind is more than a match for Trump’s.

Second, Democrats won’t stay home. Current polls show Trump equal to or ahead of Biden. We know that a Trump win isn’t impossible, so apathy and overconfidence aren’t part of the Democratic makeup. Sure, many Democrats wish Biden had stepped aside for a younger, more charismatic candidate. But that didn’t happen. Democrats don’t worship candidates the way Trumpers do, but we know that Biden at his worst is far better than Trump at his best.

Third, Trump will lose because people remember how awful he was in office. The Biden campaign will remind voters about Trump’s incompetence, and Trump himself will provide a daily example of what sensible people voted against in 2020. Trump’s grievance campaign may excite his cultists, but most Americans turn away in disgust. And his awful policies, especially those that hurt the people he claims to love, won’t fly under the radar in 2024. Trump admits he wants to slash taxes on the wealthy (again), and the policies he claims will help the “common man” are more fake than his tan. Trump may claim that scapegoating immigrants and seeking revenge for opposing him will somehow M-A-G-A, but that fantasy has been exposed.

Most important, Trump will lose because Biden has been a vastly more effective president. Biden isn’t perfect, of course, but he did all the things Trump only trumped about. Trump claimed he was good for the economy, but Biden has unemployment down, the stock market up, job growth and wages rising, overall growth at a high percentage, and worldwide inflation leveling off here. Trump pandered to red-state attitudes, but Biden’s economic policies actually benefit Americans in red states. Trump parroted infrastructure as a talking point, but Biden passed an infrastructure bill. Trump whined about the deficit, but Biden reduced the deficit. Trump downplayed COVID, but Biden got the pandemic reasonably under control. Trump ranted about American weakness, but Biden brought our country back to leading the world. Trump kissed up to dictators, but Biden stood up to them.

Trump championed xenophobia, but Biden submitted a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress on his first day in office. (Trump’s congressional allies blocked efforts to help so they could keep blaming Biden and stoking outrage about immigration.) Trump appointed anti-choice, anti-worker extremists to the bench, including the Supreme Court, but Biden appointed the most qualified and diverse group of judges in history.

Biden is better than Trump in countless ways, but the press downplays Biden’s accomplishments to center on his age and fake scandals. As the election approaches, however, the focus should swing toward qualifications, policies, and character. One candidate will have a substantial record to talk about when voters begin to listen more closely. The other will be an adjudicated rapist facing charges for violating campaign finance and fraud laws, endangering national security, and inciting a violent insurrection against our country.

This nation will choose the goofy, old guy who has been getting the job done over the nasty, old guy who sounds more like a Nazi than an American. Sure, Trump might win. Sadly, sometimes the wrong person wins. But I’m betting against the incompetent criminal and in favor of the greatest nation in the history of the world.

John Sheirer is an author and teacher from Florence. His most recent book is, “For Now: One Hundred 100-Word Stories.” Find him at