Donkey Versus Elephant, Volume 1

By Don Mohler

American Presidential elections take far too long. I did not need Pew Research to tell me that voters are exhausted by the process, but they did. The 2020 election cycle took 1194 days from start to finish. You read that correctly. The campaign season lasted roughly 40 months. That is insane, but maybe other nations follow suit. Well, no they don’t. Elections in Japan are limited to 12 days. France takes three weeks. Australia votes in 33 days. Canada stretches out to 36 days. Even the United Kingdom, where everything is done is a stately manner, manages to vote in five or six weeks. No wonder we are exhausted.

With that in mind, I apologize in advance for hopping on a train where riders try to predict who will become the next President of the United States.  If this is indeed the game, then we should at least play along. Who knows, maybe there is a prize at the end, like maybe — democracy.

To begin, we already know who the combatants will be. In this corner, representing the MAGA wing of the Republican Party is Donald J. Trump. And in the opposite corner, the Delaware Octogenarian, President Joseph R. Biden. For a while, some in the Republican Party were hopeful that Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida would be the knight in shining armor who would slay the dragon, I mean donkey. He could be Trump without the baggage. But then reality set in.

While the Florida Governor’s attacks on books and all things “woke” has great appeal to the Republican base, his battle with the Mouse is not quite the winner he hoped it would be. But more importantly, he wittingly or unwittingly made the same mistake Republican candidates have made for years. He believed that you could take down Donald Trump without inviting him into the alley for a good old fashioned smackdown. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” No one punches better than Trump, and everyone else is afraid to punch back. The “I have great respect for President Trump, but…” strategy just doesn’t work. Ron, keep banning books, building prisons near Disney World, and demonizing the LGBTQ community all you want, but as for your Presidential dreams… sayonora.

As for Uncle Joe, he may be 80 years old, but there is no stomach on the Democratic side to change horses in midstream. Even the most progressive members of the President’s party are onboard. His record is solid, some would say remarkable, even if his approval numbers are not. He will blurt out things that make us cringe. He will oddly whisper into microphones and look confused when leaving a stage.  He will move as if every step hurts, but he remains the Anti-Trump. He doesn’t scream. He doesn’t shout. He is not the target of multiple indictments. He did not try to overthrow the government. He knows how to govern, and the world feels a lot less chaotic with him in charge. As the President often says, “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.” Incumbents always want elections to be a “choice” versus a “referendum.” Democrats will have a lot of eggs in the “choice” basket in 2024.

With the race locked in place, I invite you to the porch over the next 18 months to track key issues that will decide the race on November 5, 2024. The leader on each topic will be rewarded with either a donkey or an elephant. It might be prudent to play it safe and remind everyone that there is a long way to go. But that’s no fun.  If I am wrong, it will be here in black and white ready to be mocked. No guts. No glory. So, let’s have at it.


Nearly 3,000 people have died in mass killings since 2006. Let that number sink in for a minute. It is not hyperbole to suggest that not a week goes by that we do not wake up to the horror of another deranged gunman walking into a school, a bank, or business to kill large numbers of innocent Americans. Most of these attackers use the weapon of choice, an AR 15.

Add to that the fact that innocent victims are now being gun downed because they knocked on the wrong door or pulled into the wrong driveway. The American carnage is real. Every single poll demonstrates that there has never been an issue on which Congress is more disconnected from those it represents. The polls are staggering. Almost 90% of the public supports universal background checks, red flag laws, and raising the age to own a gun from 18 to 21. A clear majority of Americans support a complete ban on assault weapons. Democrats support each of these changes. Republicans oppose them all.



On this issue of women’s reproductive rights there is actual evidence beyond the polls that Democrats have the wind at their backs on this one. Last August, in one of the reddest of red states, Kansas voters supported maintaining abortion access in a landslide of nearly 20 points. No one saw that coming. Canary in the coal mine anyone?

And then a few weeks ago, voters in Wisconsin didn’t deliver a canary, they delivered a tsunami. In an election for the State’s Supreme Court, access to abortion was again on the ballot.  Pro-choice Judge Janet Protasiewicz defeated her opponent by a whopping 11 percentage points as women surged to the polls. To put that in perspective, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by a mere 20,000 votes in 2020 in this battleground state. “Americans’ broad support for abortion has largely remained steady since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, with Pew’s polling finding that it went up from 61% in March 2022 to 62% in July, after the court’s ruling, and a Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll finding that while support for abortion has broadly grown since 2010 (now at 64%), there was little change in the months before and after the court’s ruling.”

Add to this the horror stories of hospitals closing down their OBGYN practices, the thought of rape and incest victims being forced to complete a pregnancy, and women’s lives being endangered on the operating table because a doctor is afraid to act, and you have a terrified electorate. Republicans have not read these tea leaves and continue to double down on attacking women’s reproductive health.







Like it or not, Joe Biden will be 82 in 2024. There is no avoiding that fact. As mentioned above, his penchant for verbal malpractice, which goes back decades, does not help. It is also not a good look that the President moves around like Amos McCoy.  Yes, Donald Trump will be 79 on election day, but there is little discussion of his age. Being a bombastic bully does have a few perks.





So halfway through our analysis, Democrats appear to have a slight advantage with a long way to go before election day on November 5, 2024. Both boxers are well poised to win a nail-biting-split decision. Next week, we will look at LGBTQ issues, climate change, and the cult. Stay tuned.

Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive and President and CEO of Mohler Communication Strategies. He may be reached at

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