Matt Fleming: The plight of a double hater in the presidential election

I’m a double hater — a growing segment of voters who loathe both of our two main options for president.

And what’s not to loathe? It’s a three-card monte dealer vs. “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

One loves bankruptcy and the other loves soft foods at early-bird specials.

One might not be able to legally leave New York soon and the other probably should not drive at night.

One doesn’t care where he is unless it has his name on it and the other doesn’t know where he is even if it had his name on it.

Get these guys the nuclear codes, please!

Wait, they’ve both already had nuclear codes!

And probably stored them in their sock drawers.

Because both stash state secrets at home.

How is it possible that these are our two options? How have they BOTH been president recently?

If you’ve pondered the answers to these questions and many more, you might be a double hater too.

In fact, we are at peak double haterdom. According to Pew Research center, we’re at a four-decade high for this time in the election: 25% of the electorate!

This time four years ago it was only 13% — for the same two guys. You can’t say we’d like them more if we only got to know them better, because it seems we hate them more the more we get to know them.

We’ve known both forever, actually. Biden was a young staffer at the drafting of the Magna Carta and, according to an alarming number of Trump supporters, it was He who made the firmament and used Adam’s rib to make a woman.

Readers of my column might remember I left these opinion pages for good eight months ago, but like Ol’ Tiny Hands and Sleepy Joe, I never stay away for long.

During my hiatus, I buried myself in my work, kept my head down and only had a lingering sense that an election was happening. I missed Trump’s conviction, Hunter Biden’s conviction, all the people standing and sitting during the State of the Union, and many other things that I didn’t care about.

Was it all just a dream? I couldn’t be sure, out there living my life like a normal person.

But now that I’m back to being abnormal and paying lots of attention to the presidential reality show, I’m depressed to remember that a convicted felon might soon oversee the Department of Justice or a reanimated cadaver might soon command the world’s most powerful military.


Because they both have already done that.

I made a personal goal to myself that I would come back to this column as kinder, gentler and more thoughtful, which might seem strange considering the avalanche of insults I just dumped upon our next president, whoever he might be.

But I need to get it out of my system. And for all of the disrespect shown in this column, there’s been infinitely more slung back at me, as one of 336 million Americans who is forced to put up with this election.

Kinder, gentler, more thoughtful: Coming soon.

Biden’s persistent mental lapses are bad, but I could probably overlook them if his policies weren’t ridiculous. He pushed for a COVID spending package that many warned would drive inflation. And then it drove inflation. And now average prices have jumped 20.8% since then, according to a Bankrate analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Was that the only thing that drove inflation? No, but it was the only thing that was avoidable.

Biden also keeps trying to wipe out student loans for people who willingly agreed to borrow the money. According to economists, this would also drive inflation if allowed to move forward.

It’s funny that for an administration that so often talks about the importance of raising wages and even pushed through a minimum wage increase for federal workers and contractors, it is determined to devalue those wages through inflation.

As for Trump, is a policy argument against him necessary? It’s hard, considering he so rarely sticks to a policy preference. But he did float the other day the idea of eliminating federal income taxes and replacing them with tariffs on U.S. imports.

It’s not even a bad idea; it’s a nonsense idea.

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“Simple math reveals this is infeasible from a budgetary perspective,” wrote Alex Brill, senior fellow at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “Basic economics suggests that if the U.S. imposed massive tariffs, imports would slump, deficits would soar, and a recession would be likely.”

So now they’re both trying to wreck the economy.

But as I’ve written countless times, Trump is terrible most notably for his utter lack of respect for the Constitution, including his involvement with the attempted coup on Jan. 6 and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

If I lived in a state that mattered, I’d have the chance to sway the election. As Politico wrote in March, “‘Double haters’ might decide the 2024 election.”

So much power for such a fine group of haters!

But I don’t live in a state that matters, so I can comfortably throw away my vote like the past two elections — and look forward to hating one of these two for another four years.

Follow Matt on Twitter @FlemingWords

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