Opinion | My Brother’s Thanksgiving Lament

Thanksgiving began as a time of prayer. We could use some prayers right now, in a country inflamed with hate and prejudice and generational mistrust. Americans are at each other’s throats, living in different realities, fraught by two brutal, calamitous wars. So, as this annus horribilis lurches to a close, with the hope that we can understand each other better, or at least eat pie together, here is the annual holiday column from a man I frequently disagree with, but always love, my conservative brother, Kevin.

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Less than a year before the country chooses a president, President Biden’s poll numbers are almost catastrophic. The overwhelming majority of voters say he is too old, and Donald Trump is beating him in five of six battleground states, according to one recent survey.

While majorities of the country find both Trump and Biden unacceptable, Trump remains the Republican front-runner, bolstered by what his supporters see as overeager Democratic prosecutions. This scenario holds great peril for Republicans because Trump is the weakest candidate against Biden. He already lost to him in 2020 and the reflexive hatred he generates, especially among women, could boost Democratic turnout as only Trump could manage.

Biden’s three years have been a disaster. An exorbitant round of unnecessary Covid spending sent inflation through the roof, leading to a destructive rise in interest rates and further squeezing consumers.

We should fear that John Kerry and Antony Blinken are projecting weakness, leading to an unimaginable alliance of China, Russia and Iran that threatens our future. Our botched and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan set Putin’s invasion of Ukraine into motion.

The disgraceful show of support by college students for Hamas exposed the underlying antisemitism being taught and tolerated in our “best” universities. There should be no moral confusion here. This is a battle between good and evil, and encouraging the side that just massacred 1,200 people and is holding scores more hostages is a pretty clear example of what happens when you get your news from TikTok. It is incomprehensible to see Osama bin Laden lauded online as if he were a great writer, much less a visionary, a mere two decades after his orchestration of the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Biden’s posture toward Iran, the leading sponsor of terror in the world, is inexplicable. He tried to restart the Iran nuclear deal, thankfully to no avail. He even handed over $6 billion to release five hostages, money to which Iran was denied access only after Hamas’s attack.

Biden’s border policies unwittingly created a national security crisis, with asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants pouring over our Southern border; since Biden took office, border patrol estimates approximately 6.5 million encounters. Many of them remain in the United States, unvetted. The tidal wave of migrants has flooded many major cities.

The 2024 election may well decide the future of our republic. Biden is too old, both cognitively and physically, to serve out another term. It is unthinkable that we could have Kamala Harris as an accidental president. His policies have weakened us at home and abroad and invited our enemies to test our resolve. He is in the midst of a House impeachment inquiry, setting the stage for two impeached presidents to run against each other.

Trump’s nomination would distract from framing the conversation on Biden and his job performance. He would have to mount a vigorous presidential campaign while defending himself in four separate criminal cases. The Democrats show no signs of letting up on making the campaign about him and the evil MAGA Republicans. Not to mention that some voters might object to casting a ballot for a convicted felon if any of the cases bear fruit.

Trump has already announced that his second term would essentially be a revenge tour, settling old scores and fighting the Deep State. Under less heavy hands, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. could use a deep cleaning, after their disgraceful conduct in the Russia collusion hoax and their handling of the multiple sins of Hunter Biden.

I am conflicted. Trump’s behavior since the 2020 election has been reprehensible, and I fear it will grow worse. I am not sure he could beat Biden and I would find it difficult, if not impossible, to vote for anyone convicted of a felony.

I would prefer neither man be on the ballot in 2024. The temperature in Washington needs to be lowered. Surely, the greatest country in the world can do better than these two men. I could vote for Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley or, better yet, both of them to begin the repair work.

Trump was the right man in 2016 but his time has passed. The country owes him a debt of gratitude for saving the Supreme Court from Hillary Clinton. We need some fresh faces in the presidential arena.

Did Joe Manchin say who his running mate is?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Kevin