What Biden Needs to Do to Be Re-Elected: Two Opposing Views

Ian Mitroff
3 min readFeb 20, 2024

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

Two of my favorite New York Times Op-Ed writers, Pamela Paul and Paul Krugman, have somewhat differing views regarding what President Biden needs to do to be re-elected[i]. Indeed, as different they appear, they end up complementing one another.

For Ms. Paul, she advises that Biden take a lesson from the Republican playbook. That is, instead of “Going High When They Go Low” — as Michelle Obama was fond of saying — she suggests that Biden needs to strike back hard with a strong counteroffensive and “not just explain the facts as Democrats like to do”.

In contrast, Krugman focuses on all that Biden has accomplished and that the Democrats need to do a better job of getting the message out. Above all, he doesn’t want to make the election into a “geriatric contest”. A younger candidate could easily have made the same decisions, flawed or not, as Biden has so it shouldn’t be about age. It should be about Trump’s unhinged sense of Reality.

In Krugman’s words:

“Unlike Biden’s missteps, whatever you may think they have been, Trump’s mishandling of Covid and election denial were uniquely Trumpian — the behavior of a man who doesn’t like to accept reality when it isn’t what he wants it to be.

“And does anyone think he’s improved on that front over the past three years?”

In the end, Ms. Paul comes to much of the same:

“…Trump is running like he’s already president. Biden needs to act with similar urgency. He needs to talk about the future. He needs to start making the threat of a second Trump term — in all its unbridled terror — real now. Lord help us. We’re relying on (H)im to prevent that from happening.”

The point is that President Biden can’t run a traditional campaign. Yes, he needs to stress his accomplishments, especially in ways that the so-called average person can get it. But he also needs to hit hard. He needs to call out Trump’s and the Republican’s lies at every turn.

[i] Pamela Paul, ”Biden Must Win. But How?”, The New York Times, Friday, February 16, 2024, P A20; Paul Krugman, “Trump Is at Odds With NATO, and Reality,” The New York Times, Friday, February 16, 2024, P A21.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

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