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Possible scenarios for 2024

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Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

This week (April 20, 2023), it will be 21 months until the next U.S. presidential inauguration. What are some possible scenarios between now and then?

We could be inaugurating Trump or Biden, but I doubt it. The Social Security Administration puts the remaining life expectancy of Trump (age 76) as 9.88 years. Biden (age 80) has a remaining life expectancy of 7.74 years. So, at least the Social Security Administration says it is fairly certain they will both be alive on Jan. 20, 2025.

So, what else can happen? One or both of them can be primaried out of the race. My guess is it is most likely Biden will be primaried out, due to his mental acuity. If Dianne Feinstein is forced out for mental acuity issues, I think that raises the stakes for Biden to suffer the same fate. 

The problem for the Democrats is they have a very thin bench. Highly unlikely that Kamala Harris can be pulled up to the top slot. Robert Kennedy, Jr. has thrown his hat into the ring. Kennedy is not so much of a left-wing radical as he is just plain quirky. 

Will Trump be primaried out? That's unlikely. Right now, the Democrats are helping him be nominated. There are some qualified alternatives, but Trump sucks the air out of the room. When he isn’t sucking the air out of the room, he turns on this gigantic vacuum, otherwise known as his bombastic persona, that, at his bidding, sucks the air out of the room.

My guess is the election comes down to Trump vs. an opponent to be named.

What’s the outcome? That depends on how adroitly the candidates handle these issues (in no particular order): crime, Ukraine, China/Russia, woke, climate change, abortion and Taiwan.  

Likely, climate change, woke and abortion are the big three. Right now, the future of the internal combustion engine and images on beer cans are the top two out of the big three.
These two may mobilize the bar crowd to get out and vote, for they have the same constituents. 

A sleeper issue may be Artificial Intelligence (if it continues to develop scary fast) or Taiwan.

I don’t see guns as an issue unless there is a further rise in mass shootings.  

If you don’t live near the border, it is a hidden issue to you.

We’ll get more information on Taiwan after their election next winter. They may elect a president friendly to China. If they don’t, don’t expect China to move before our November 2024 election. My thinking is the ideal time to make a move on Taiwan – if one chooses to move in a hostile fashion – is between early November 2024 (our election) and Jan. 20, 2025 (our presidential inauguration).

Then, there is the economy and the federal budget deficit. I suspect both parties and the Federal Reserve will find a way to kick these cans down the road until after the January 2025 inauguration. 

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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