Majorities of Republicans and Democrats reject both Trump and Biden as 2024 candidates. If another presidential contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump ends up happening, many Americans—including large numbers of Democrats and Republicans—won't be pleased. New polls suggest that a majority of Democrats don't want Biden as their party's nominee and a majority of Republicans would rather have someone other than Trump.
Both findings come from the latest New York Times/Siena College poll, a survey of 849 registered voters conducted July 5-7. The poll found Biden came out on top in a potential rematch with Trump, but the spread between the two candidates—44 percent to 41 percent—is less than the poll's sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Interestingly, Democrats were more likely to vote for Biden in a Trump-Biden contest than Republicans were likely to vote for Trump, but Republican attachment to Trump was stronger than Democratic attachment to Biden.
Overall, 49 percent of the Republican voters surveyed said they preferred Trump to other hypothetical candidates in a five-way matchup. Only 26 percent of the Democratic voters polled said they would like to see Biden as their party's 2024 presidential nominee.
Among younger Democratic voters, support for Biden was even lower, with a whopping 94 percent saying they want someone other than Biden. Younger Republican voters were less supportive of Trump, too, but the gap was not as wide, with 59 percent of respondents under 30 saying they would vote against him in a Republican primary.
After Trump, the most popular potential presidential candidate among Republicans was Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis. In a hypothetical 2024 primary matchup between Trump, DeSantis, and four others, 25 percent of Republican respondents overall (and 32 percent of college-educated Republicans) preferred DeSantis. Only 7 percent preferred Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 6 percent preferred former Vice President Mike Pence, and 6 percent preferred former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
So, a slight majority of Republican primary voters would vote for someone other than Trump, but as of now Trump still beats any single competitor by a lot.
"The survey suggests that Mr. Trump would not necessarily enter a primary with an insurmountable advantage over rivals like Mr. DeSantis," writes the Times' Michael C. Bender. "His share of the Republican primary electorate is less than Hillary Clinton's among Democrats was at the outset of the 2016 race, when she was viewed as the inevitable front-runner, but ultimately found herself embroiled in a protracted primary against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont."
If Biden and Trump do face off again in 2024, a not-insignificant percentage of Republicans may not vote for Trump. In the New York Times/Siena College poll, 7 percent of Republican respondents said they would vote for Biden, 2 percent said they would vote for another candidate, and 4 percent said they wouldn't vote.
In total, only 85 percent of Republican respondents said they would vote for Trump in a Trump-Biden contest. Ninety-two percent of Democratic respondents said they would vote for Biden in this scenario (4 percent said they would vote for Trump, 2 percent said they would vote for another candidate, and 2 percent said they would not vote at all).
But that doesn't mean most Democrats are thrilled with the prospect of Biden being their party's presidential candidate again in 2024. Sixty-four percent said they hope the Democratic Party will nominate someone else in 2024.
Biden's age was the number one reason Democratic respondents cited for rejecting him, with 33 percent saying this was the key reason they would prefer another nominee. Age was followed closely by job performance (32 percent). Only 10 percent said it's because he is "not progressive enough" and 4 percent cited concerns over his ability to win.
Among independent or third-party voters, 37 percent said they would vote for Biden if he and Trump are the nominees, while 39 percent said they would vote for Trump, 7 percent said they would vote for someone else, and 12 percent said they would not vote.
The waning popularity of both Biden and Trump may seem like good news for folks who like neither. And yet, kind of like Hydra—the serpentine monster of Greek mythology whose head only grows back in duplicate when you cut it off—the potential presidential front-runner in a Biden- and Trump-free contest may be even worse.
DeSantis has embraced just about every illiberal impulse that Trump has and arguably out-Trumped Trump on instituting a policy agenda based seemingly on owning the libs. He is basically a less erratic, less lunatic, more competent, and more palatable-to-centrists Trump, making him more likely to accomplish whatever authoritarian agenda he embraces. And if Biden isn't the Democratic nominee, we stand a good chance of the party running current Vice President Kamala Harris.
Another study supports hallucinogens for mental health. In a University of British Columbia experiment, people taking microdoses of psilocybin for 30 days showed improvements in mood, mental health, and psychomotor ability. The results were published in Nature-Scientific Reports. The study involved 953 people taking regular microdoses of psilocybin and 180 people who did not.
"This is the largest longitudinal study of this kind to date of microdosing psilocybin and one of the few studies to engage a control group," one of the lead researchers, Zach Walsh, said in a statement. "Our findings of improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress add to the growing conversation about the therapeutic potential of microdosing."
Vaping regulations lead to riskier options. As the federal government and states declared war on Juul and on flavored nicotine vaping products, an entirely predictable thing happened: people began turning to riskier options, like products from a Chinese company known as Air Bar. From New York magazine:
If you walk inside a smoke shop in New York looking for a vape that tastes like candy, you might think you're out of luck. Flavored e-cigarettes have not been allowed in the U.S. since the Food and Drug Administration banned them two years ago. The only choices visible behind the clerk are menthol and tobacco, made by large corporations such as Juul and still allowed by the FDA. But to taste the full rainbow of nicotine flavors out there, you just need to ask: "Do you have Air Bar?"
Out come the boxes, hidden under the counter or in the back, full of disposable vapes in varieties from Aloe Blackcurrant to Watermelon Apple Ice. A lot of the names end in "ice," which usually indicates the addition of menthol or synthetic coolants to make the vegetable glycerin containing nicotine taste cool after it's been heated to 400 degrees through a metal coil. You can even get pudding flavor, if you like that. But if you want to know more about this company that's putting lab-made nicotine and a slurry of other chemicals in your lungs, you are out of luck. No one knows who really owns it.
Air Bar is controlled by Shenzhen Goldreams Technology Co., Ltd, an LLC out of China's tech-industrial hub, which has become the global capital of vape manufacturing. (Two more disposable-vape brands also operate out of the building that Shenzhen Goldreams calls its headquarters.) Legal documents show that in the United States, Air Bar is marketed by a wholesaler in a strip mall near the Dallas airport whose phone number permanently goes to voicemail. (The company did not respond to requests for comment.) To get the vape in front of customers, shop owners can buy in bulk from distributors in the U.S. or, if they're willing to risk getting a knockoff, go directly to a manufacturer in China.
Air Bar has been able to evade regulations because it uses synthetic nicotine, which until recently the FDA had no control over. But even now that the FDA has nominal say over synthetic nicotine products, it's unlikely to be able to stop the flow of foreign, counterfeit, or novel products that deliver vapers what they want—along with mysterious and potentially dangerous ingredients. In its attempt to stop people from using relatively safe smoking alternatives, the government is driving people to risky replacements.
• NASA has released some very cool and very clear pictures of the universe taken with its James Webb Space Telescope.
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• Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections skyrocketed during the pandemic, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. In 2020, "infections and deaths among several serious pathogens increased about 15 percent overall from 2019," notes The Washington Post. "Infections of one especially dangerous drug-resistant bacteria that causes bloodstream and urinary tract infections skyrocketed 78 percent in one year."
• New video from inside Uvalde's Robb Elementary School shows law enforcement officers retreating from the classroom where a gunman killed 21 people and standing around in the hallway for more than an hour.
• "California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday allowing individuals as well as the state and local governments to sue gun makers for negligence, potentially paving the way to a wave of lawsuits if the legislation survives inevitable legal challenges," reports Politico.
• An Ohio lawmaker has introduced a total ban on abortion except to save the life of the mother. The bill says Ohio must "recognize the personhood, and protect the constitutional rights, of all unborn human individuals from the moment of conception."