What will decide the election outcome?
To explore what might shape the next 12 months, we brought together politicians from both sides of the House of Representatives – Democrat Adam Smith, and Republican Victoria Spartz.
Adam Smith: Certainly abortion is a huge issue. The efforts to ban abortion nationwide has certainly motivated a lot of people to vote. That will be a motivating factor. Overall, I think the two biggest issues are going to be the economy and democracy. If Donald Trump is re-elected president, a lot of us are concerned that it will be the end of our democracy and I think people share that concern.
Victoria Spartz: I wish we would spend more time trying to unite and do something good for the country. We’re not dealing with border security. This is a very serious issue. We want to help the rest of the world but we need to keep our republic strong.
Victoria Spartz: People age differently, but I think people can observe and make decisions themselves. Who is much better, who we’ve got, who is affected by age? I don’t have to say, to make a comment on that.
Adam Smith: Trump’s just as old as Biden, like two years short. So age really isn’t a factor in that contest. At this point, I think both Trump and Biden are old, but both of them seem perfectly capable of doing their job. I think it’s the policies that are really going to drive this.
Adam Smith: To be perfectly honest, most elections are about domestic issues. I don’t know that it’s going to have a huge impact. People want to know that there’s stable leadership, but I think they’re going to care a lot more about the economy, about abortion, about the strength of our democracy, about the border. I think those are the issues that are going to drive the election in 2024.
Victoria Spartz: I have to agree that it is going to be a domestic issues. I think Joe Biden has a chance to find common ground on the issues of debt and border security. And it remains to be seen. But if he’s not willing to deal with the domestic issues, I think it’s going to hurt him significantly.
Victoria Spartz: I think American people are getting fed up with that. A lot of his opposition might shoot themselves in the foot and the American people will say “it’s enough” and it actually might help Trump.
Adam Smith: Ultimately. I think it will hurt him. That record is not a good one. Financially, in terms of business, in terms of what he did on the insurrection on January 6, in terms of trying to steal the election in 2020 – I don’t think that helps him in a general election.
Victoria Spartz: Trump was much tougher on foreign policy and his toughness brought a lot of deterrence. I think President Biden, he’s not a bad person, but he’s very political. He has very political people around him. So everything is driven by politics. Government takes some backbone and strength. I truly believe we need to have much tougher leadership with dealing with domestic issues, border security, debt and dealing with foreign issues. So, I think Trump would be much stronger if he’s the nominee.
Adam Smith: The greatest strength that the United States of America has – what we have over China and Russia – is our system of partnerships and alliances. And Trump, while he was president, tried to break up pretty much every single one of those. He wanted us out of NATO. He wanted us to stop supporting South Korea. He wanted us to be “America First” and push the rest of the world away. I think that makes it more dangerous, not less.