If I had the money to pay Siena research to commission a poll, the last thing I’d pay them in July 2022 is to survey Democrats about who they want for President in November, 2024. Yet, of course, the Times did that, and the results are predictably dismal for Biden [pdf]. Note that, in other polls, both Biden and Harris generally beat Trump and DeathSantis (not always or by a lot!) — it’s just that Biden’s current struggles have many Democrats on edge.
Still, who cares about 2024 when 2022 is coming right up? Palace courtiers a.k.a. the Times’ DC bureau, that’s who. In their little world, everything is about one thing: who’s King, and the more Trump pretended to be King, the more they liked it. This post-mortem quote on Boris Johnson’s stint as PM applies just as well to what the Times’ DC bureau wants in a President:
One of the most memorable quotes I have gathered during his premiership was from a former Tory cabinet minister and erstwhile supporter who said: “The trouble with Boris is that he’s not very interested in governing. He’s only interested in two things. Being world king and shagging.”
The other quote from that piece was also relevant to the relationship between the Maggie Habermans and Peter Bakers of that bureau and Trump:
On the retelling of Dominic Cummings, [Johnson] justified himself by saying: “Chaos isn’t that bad, chaos means that everyone has to look to me to see who’s in charge.”
Another way of putting this is the smaller the frame, the easier the job. If all stories can be framed in terms of the king and who he’s shagging, and how he’s creating or responding to chaos, then your job is pretty fucking easy. Cultivate a couple of inside sources and put everything on a four-year timeline. Also, ally yourself with the party that wants a king, and we all know who they are.