Beyond Left and Right: Chris Cillizza on the 2024 Election

Chris Cillizza in circular frame, blue background

Popular political analyst and former CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza mixes his probing political insights with humor and a passion for uncovering the nuances in Washington to provide a clear and comprehensible analysis of politics today.  

With the 2024 Presidential election rapidly approaching, Cillizza recently spoke to the Leading Authorities team about the issues that are top of mind ahead of Decision Day. We’ve highlighted the insights he shared about Washington and electoral politics in this post.  

A Binary Race: The Bear Analogy  

To better understand the political situation leading up to the election, Cillizza compared the Biden v. Trump race to a chance encounter with a bear. Cillizza’s analogy hypothetically situated two people, each one representing Biden or Trump, coming across a bear in the woods. The two people freeze after seeing the bear — the bear is angry, and clearly going to attack the two people, who are unequipped to counter. One of them puts on running shoes and the other says to him, “you’re not going to outrun a bear.” He responds, “I don’t have to outrun the bear — I just have to outrun you.”  

Cillizza compared the voting public to the bear. People aren’t enthused with the two choices; Joe Biden is 81 years old, and his age continues to be of concern for Democrats and voters. On the other hand, Donald Trump has several controversies and ongoing investigations. Cillizza acknowledged that both Biden and Trump are known candidates with a unique situation: they both aren’t necessarily the preferred candidates for either party, yet they will inevitably be their respective parties’ nominees.  

In another analogy, Cillizza compares President Biden and former President Trump to boxers in the ring. Neither can properly hit the other or have the stamina to go 10 rounds (as is typical in professional boxing matches). Thus, how will Biden or Trump immobilize their opponent and come out victorious?  

Cillizza’s Insights Leading Up to the Election

Along with Biden’s age and Trump’s controversies, Cillizza named several issues of interest to American voters. First, Cillizza argues Trump will inevitably “paint a dark vision of America under Biden — a nearly-failed nation that only he can fix.” Like his strategy in 2016, Cillizza thinks Trump will argue Biden is incompetent because of his age and perceived slowness. Biden, on the other hand, will try and emphasize the things he accomplished during his first term, such as the Inflation Reduction Act.  

Interestingly, Cillizza discussed how Trump’s indictments may prove useful to him in the long run when it comes to getting votes. A CBS News national poll found that 77% of respondents thought the indictments were politically motivated, and three quarters cite the legal problems as a reason in supporting him. Cillizza finished by emphasizing how close this race will be, even claiming that the election could come down to around 250,000 votes.  

Summing it All Up  

Despite the apparent want, particularly from young voters, for a new candidate, the Democratic party will make Joe Biden the presidential nominee. Whether or not this is the correct decision, from Biden and the party alike, is up for debate. And the Republican party will name Donald Trump as their nominee after no other candidate has been able to properly compete against him. But Cillizza ultimately said, this is not a race to the top but to the bottom — America will elect a president nobody wants. The question now is: who will outrun the bear and who will be devoured? 


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