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Opinion: Biden is unfit for office, but so is Trump. What’s a voter to do?

I voted for Joe Biden in 2020. I was excited about the promise of a moderate and a unifier; the thought of another four years of Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency was a non-starter for me.

But four years later, looking in the rear-view mirror, I’m less than excited. I keep asking myself how, in a country of roughly 336 million people, are these two choices the best we can do?

Since turning 18, I have voted religiously, never missing a presidential election. With that sort of history, it pains me to say this, but the Biden-Trump 2024 has stripped me of my motivation to vote. And, I’m not alone. Polling data consistently shows that voters are disenchanted and disheartened by the choice presented in this year’s presidential election.

To be sure, this isn’t like watching an epic heavyweight rematch between Ali and Frazier. It’s the single worst political dumpster fire I have ever observed and most Americans don’t want to tune into this food fight.

Nearly 50% of voters, including consistent voters like me, would replace both Biden and Trump at the top of the ticket, according to an April Pew Research poll.

Standing in the left corner is President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr, 81. The poll showed that nearly two-thirds of voters have little or no confidence that Biden is physically fit to be president. There is a legitimate question to be asked about Biden’s fitness for office.

Take comedian Jon Stewart, no conservative, who asked this month at a show streamed by Netflix how Americans are allowing this to happen?:

“I know liberals say, ‘Don’t say Joe Biden is old — don’t say what people see with their own eyes!’ You can say it. He can’t hear us,” Stewart joked. “I know you don’t want to say it because Trump is so scary, but he’s so (expletive) old when you watch him on television, you’re nervous, aren’t ya?”

Biden’s campaign efforts to dispel this image aren’t working.

Does anyone think Biden will become more fit to serve over time? How about in 2027, the year of midterm elections, when 84-year-old Biden is in the middle of his second term? Biden’s fitness problem is exacerbated by the fact that in the last New York Times tracking poll, only 39% of voters had a favorable opinion of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Standing in the right corner is former president and reality television star Donald John Trump, 77. Nearly two-thirds of voters lack confidence that Trump can act ethically. Trump’s age, personal ethics (or lack thereof), disrespect for core democratic values and constant lies, raise legitimate concerns about his ability to lead this country moving forward.

In the last few weeks alone, Trump has talked about a third term (never mind the thorny issue of the Constitution), accused the White House of threatening to kill him — he claims he “nearly escaped death” — and promoted a “unified Reich” as his vision for our country.

Trump’s own unfitness for office is exemplified by his often incoherent rhetoric. It’s clear Trump’s base will show up no matter what. He literally could kill someone and they wouldn’t care. They’ve either drunk the Trump-Aid or have come to terms with his political circus.

Voters are tired of both candidates, but it’s affecting the motivation of Biden voters far more than those wearing red MAGA hats. Six in 10 voters backing Biden say they’d prefer different choices at the top of the ticket. Conversely, just 35% of Trump supporters would replace both candidates.

Also, polling data from the New York Times shows voters are overwhelmingly looking for major changes and they see that in Trump more than Biden. This, coupled with his strong base, gives Trump a clear edge.

And, it’s conceivable that Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr., who is standing just outside of the ring, could be the X factor in this rematch. Kennedy has a name that appeals to Democrats and kooky ideas that appeal to some Republicans.

Democratic strategist Eric Koch said it best, “having brain worms, bragging about getting mercury poisoning and generally being weird doesn’t instill confidence in voters.” Nor do his far-fetched crazy conspiracy theories like al-Qaeda may not have been responsible for 9/11, the CIA is a bigger threat to America than China, chemicals in our water may spread transgenderism, vaccines cause autism, and the list goes on and on. Kennedy is pulling voters from both sides, but it’s hard to tell who he helps and hurts the most.

At the end of the day, will a Colorado vote really matter anyway? Let’s be honest, barring the unforeseeable, this presidential election will be won or lost in 7 key states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden won Colorado by nearly 14 points in 2020 and there is virtually no real path for Trump. Our once-purple state is now deep blue.

But for those voters in the key swing states, both candidates and particularly Biden, better figure out how they are going to inspire and mobilize people like me to vote.

Here’s a hint, it won’t be by throwing mashed potatoes or a pie at each other.

Doug Friednash grew up in Denver and is a partner with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck. He is the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper.

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