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The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

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Simplifying The State Episode 7

Biden’s uphill battle against mounting threats to his reelection, the unfolding drama of Trump’s court case, RFK Jr.’s intriguing maneuvers as he charts a path toward the White House.

Adam (00:00.366)

Welcome to Simplifying the State; I’m Adam Watson.

Nicholas  (00:02.745)

I’m Nicholas Perrin.

Adam (00:26.542)

On today’s show, Biden may face threats on his path to reelection, Trump’s possible future jail time, and RFK Jr.’s plans for creating a path to the White House. With protests mounting on campuses over the conflict in Gaza and a negative view of the economy. Biden’s uphill path to victory seems to get steeper by the day. So what do you think his major challenges to reelection are?

Nicholas  (00:39.929)

Well, as you said, Gaza’s definitely one of them. He’s in a situation where he’ll get a lot of backlash if he does something and a lot of backlash if he doesn’t. So, no matter what he does, it’s like a net negative.

Adam (00:56.59)

Yeah, because certainly, he and other more conservative Democrats, obviously he has been a career-long supporter of Israel. There are many conservative Democrats, and most of the moderate and conservative Democrats in the party are, to a degree, one degree or another in support of Israel.

So if he goes against Israel, that could create issues with them, but there are while they are a smaller part. They are a far more vocal part of the party, the age 18 to 25-year-olds, the people on college campuses right now. So far, I think 2100 have been arrested in campus protests last time I checked. Biden came out with a message where he said that we need to respect the right to protest, but we also need to respect the law. We are a nation of laws; that’s what the statement was about. He’s kind of walking that line between seeming to support Israel and then also working to fix the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Gaza.

Earlier today, the Israeli Self-Defense Force (IDF)  crossed a border crossing and took control of the crossing into Rafah. That could be signs that they’re preparing to invade Rafah, which Biden has said is lying in the sand. He will not move on. If…

they do invade Rafah. What do you think could be the consequences of that? Because I know the idea of conditioning aid has been growing in popularity even amongst the more conservative Democrats. But if he’s drawn a line in the sand, and so if he doesn’t do something, then that will kind of seem as though his lines in the sand don’t mean anything anymore. So what do you think could be the…

Adam (03:14.67)

Consequences if Netanyahu decides to invade Rafah, which he has indicated will do.

Nicholas  (03:22.361)

I think that action will be taken by the Biden administration. For example, there could be a cut in support. Maybe there wouldn’t be as many shipments coming to Israel. And, you know, if Biden doesn’t do anything against an invasion of Rafa, it will seem like a weakness to the regime and the current government, which could harm him in the upcoming election.

Adam (03:56.814)

Right. And I also think, just to talk about the upcoming election, not in terms of Gaza or these issues, we’ve talked about polls recently. I don’t think that’s a big indication of something. It’s like a snapshot. What I like to use is The 13 Keys, which was written by this person, Professor Lichtman, and it has helped him successfully predict every presidential election outcome since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection. And so basically the 13 keys is a, it’s 13 pieces of information where if you lose six or more, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to lose. It’s like, it’s pretty much all but certain unless something big happens. So,

The 13 keys; the first one is party mandate, basically if the incumbent party holds more seats in that US House of Representatives than the previous midterm elections, which we kind of do, but it also depends if you count the Republicans who’ve left. There’s a contest, if there’s a serious contest for the incumbent party nomination, incumbency, which he has. There is no third party, meaning no significant third party or independent campaign exists. The short-term economy is not in a recession during the election campaign. The long-term economy is if real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds the mean growth during the previous two terms. Policy change, if there was a major policy alteration from that administration. Social unrest, scandal, foreign military failure, foreign military success, incumbent charisma, and challenger charisma are the 13 keys. And so just based on that criteria, so far, there are two he has lost and three that are hovering. So the first one that he does not have is that it’s number four. There is a somewhat significant third-party or independent campaign. That’s one of the ones that’s hovering. There’s the social unrest that is hovering.

Adam (06:16.046)

There’s also the long-term economy, which is hovering because of inflation. The two he has probably lost are the foreign military failure, which was the withdrawal from Afghanistan. And then there was also the incumbent charisma, which he has not done a lot of interviews about. And when he does interviews, they’re not projected or broadcasted as widespread as Trump’s statements are. So, he is not seen as having it.

Nicholas  (06:59.001)

Convincing people is a big part of any political endeavor, and if you’re not seen as someone who’s good at doing that, then people will not be as faithful to you and will likely discard you a lot faster.

Adam (07:20.974)

Right. And I also think when you compare the two, as the thing said, the challenger, Chris, Ben, the incumbent, Chris, I think Trump is more outspoken. In contrast, when putting out his successes and stuff, Biden is more of an inside, not go-out type of person. I think that that will be an issue he will face on the campaign trail, which is kind of broadcasting his accomplishments.

His achievements are trying to get voters to see what he’s done because Trump is doing that, and he is broadcasting the things he has done to his base. And so that’s certainly going to be an issue. Moving on. The judge, actually speaking of Trump, the judge overseeing Trump’s criminal trial, found Trump in contempt of court for a second time for violating his gag order, which stops him from making statements, or attacking jurors.

The judge threatened jail time if he continued to violate the gag order. What do you think about the legal aspects of violating the gag order? And could we possibly see Trump in jail in the next couple of days if he violates the gag order again?

Nicholas  (08:40.249)

Well, if you like, violating the gag order is just straight up against the law. And like, uh, the judge himself said that the last thing he wants to do is put Trump in jail. So, he also said that he has a job to do, and he will do it if necessary. 

Nicholas  (09:08.697)

If Trump does it again, I think there’s a good chance he might see jail time, but at the same time, with all the power Trump has, he may get off scot-free.

Adam (09:25.326)

for violating the gag order, he (the judge) set it for $1,000. And so he violated the gag order nine times last time and got charged $9,000. I mean, Trump’s worth is hundreds of millions in cash and liquid finance. So that’s not going to do much harm to him. Plus, he also has his legal defense funds. And so I think Judge Merchan talked about the fact that he may have to consider putting jail time on the table as a punishment if he continues to violate the gag order in this trial; 

Adam (9:45:234

RFK Jr., the third-party candidate making the most waves, has some favorable poll numbers. In a recent TIPP insights poll, he received 12%, with Biden leading over Trump by only one point. Kennedy is appealing to small parties in the States to try to get on the ballot. So what he’s doing is going to smaller parties who don’t have a lot of. Voters who don’t have a candidate to put forward, and he’s asking to be their nominee so that he can appear on the ballot in those states in hopes that that will kind of if he’s on the ballot, then people will be more likely to vote for him, do you think that’ll make a serious impact on his chances of winning because I mean even for a third party candidate 12 it’s 

nothing. It’s certainly more than other candidates have gotten, but it’s not close enough to make him a serious contender to be president.

Nicholas  (12:51.961)

Like I’ve said before, third-party voters will vote in polls for third-party candidates as a sign of protest against larger parties, but eventually, they will think that their vote will go to nothing if they don’t vote for one of the larger parties. And so, support will drop drastically for those third-party candidates.

Adam (13:19.79)

Right, they’ll feel like they need to fall in line.

Nicholas  (13:21.945)

Yes, yes. And also…

Getting onto the ballot in many states could increase the amount of votes he gets, but it probably won’t make enough difference to affect the election that much.

Adam (13:41.038)

Right. The main idea is that he’ll pull votes away from one of the two candidates. He’ll probably pull votes away from both candidates, but the question is who will he pull the most away from? I think he’ll probably pull more, more, more votes away from Trump than he will from Biden, primarily because just reading his platform and kind of reading some of his statements, which have been some of the statements have been, um, very anti-vaccine conspiracy theory type stuff. So I, and I think that kind of fits in line more with a demographic of the Republicans. There’s a demographic of the Democrats who will probably be appealed by this and so might vote for him. But I think in recent polls, every time Kennedy has a decent amount of support, Biden usually wins in that poll, so based on that, it would be better for Biden for Kennedy to stay in. What do you think?

Nicholas  (14:53.529)

Yeah, you said that Kennedy’s policies seem more Republican leading than Democrat-leading. So, it would make sense for Trump to pull more votes. Yeah.

Adam (15:07.854)

All right, thank you very much for listening to Simplifying the State, and we’ll see you next time.

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Adam Watson
Adam Watson, Reporter
Adam Watson is a freshman and new reporter for Globe this year. His interests encompass history, politics, and video games.
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