Biden and Trump, being the main candidates for the U.S. presidency in 2024, do not stop their electoral struggle for a moment. June was marked by a new trial of the Republican ex-president in the case of “illegal possession of classified documents”. Despite the fact that the verdict in this case may be far from positive for the White House, and the trial may end after the election without preventing Trump from running, Washington considered this trial as its big propaganda victory. However, June became very challenging for Biden, bringing him many “small” troubles, some of which were caused by attacks from his opponents and some by his own ill-conceived and questionable behavior. The first problem was the incumbent’s long-suffering son, Hunter, who, after much prodding by Republicans in Congress, still came under investigation in very early June. After that, Hunter Biden made his first appearance at the White House in a long time. Immediately after making a deal with the investigation, he was dragged to a dinner party with Indian Prime Minister Modi, trying to clearly show that Hunter had finally fought off the corruption charges. However, expectations were not met, and immediately a new scandal erupted around the president’s son.
IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley testified before Congress. He accused the Justice Department of pandering to the Bidens, thanks to which Hunter managed to get a light sentence for quite serious charges of tax evasion and illegal weapons possession. In 2017, Hunter extorted money from Chinese businessmen, along with his father, although the latter denies having anything to do with his son’s gray schemes. The Justice Department flatly refused to investigate this, and they did not give the prosecutor involved in the cases against Hunter the status of special prosecutor, effectively limiting his powers. That prosecutor was not allowed to bring charges against Hunter for a long time, apparently waiting for an opportune moment in the election off-season, so that it would not interfere with the Democrats in the elections. And at one point, when Hunter was to be searched, the ministry hinted to him about it in advance so that he would have a chance to destroy all the evidence in time. Hunter managed to make $8 million through his schemes in Ukraine, China and Romania. And he conducted these transactions through a Maltese bank that was found to be laundering money from Ukrainian oligarchs. But for all of this, he’s only facing a few years’ probation. Half of Americans believe Hunter got away with it because of his privileged position. Against this backdrop, Republicans in Congress are once again threatening to declare Biden impeached. So the political crisis in Washington is only intensifying, and the current scandals threaten to further undermine what remains of the Biden family’s reputation.
However, it is not always his shortsighted son and the Republicans who took advantage of his miscalculations that are behind the president’s problems. In early summer, Biden caused another diplomatic scandal, which hit not only the foreign policy reputation of the U.S. and the president, but also his position inside the country: this time he de facto called Xi Jinping a dictator. Biden talked about the reaction to stratospheric flights in the skies over the U.S. that went off course and were shot down, adding that it was a “humiliation” for China because “dictators” don’t like it when things don’t go according to their plan. The timing for such reservations was most unfortunate because by then the talks in Beijing involving Blinken, long sought by the White House, had just concluded. The Americans wanted to persuade China to make concessions and call it a “détente” in relations. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that Blinken’s visit ended in a fiasco, and he did not even manage to convince Beijing to open a direct channel of communication between the PLA General Staff and the Pentagon. But Biden’s statements have put an end to any U.S. attempts to reach a serious agreement with China. Last year, Biden caused no less scandal by promising to use U.S. military forces to defend Taiwan. Then the White House had to make hasty excuses and emphasize that the official U.S. doctrine of recognizing China alone had not changed in any way. Although Biden was only saying aloud what Washington is already doing, pumping arms into Taiwan, sending U.S. soldiers there, and provoking a military clash with China. In fact, Biden reiterated only the consensus in Washington about China, stating that it is a “communist dictatorship” seeking to defeat the entire “free Western world.” Therefore, “détente” between the U.S. and China is unlikely. But here Biden is playing on an unplayable Republican field for him. He does not gain the sympathy of the patriotic electorate, which openly hates him, but he loses the support of the left-wing Democrats, who are in favor of reconciliation.
In order to somehow reduce the flow of negativity, the White House presented a plan for the total spread of Internet access throughout the country. Biden’s team will spend $40 billion to provide high-speed Internet access to all Americans, and compares it to Roosevelt’s 1936 reform of the electrification of the United States. Though America is the birthplace of the internet, it lags behind many countries in speed and quality of connection. 42 million Americans still do not have access to high-speed internet, which is defined by speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. Among rural residents, the percentage of those without a properly functioning internet connection is as high as 25%. The White House promises to connect all Americans to wired internet at speeds of 100 Mbps or higher by 2030. And, of course, to make money for corporations close to the Democratic Party. After all, the biggest Internet providers in the U.S., AT&T, Verizon and especially Comcast, are at the same time big sponsors of Biden. They will now be able to make tight use of generous government contracts. Biden still hopes to show that he is still interested in infrastructure problems in the U.S. and to raise his ratings somewhat. However, there may be problems with this, because despite the attractiveness of the issue of total high-speed Internet development, nobody is even going to solve the main infrastructure diseases in the United States related to transportation and other traditional communications, and Biden’s initiative is seen as empty promises and corruption. Trains derail, bridges fall down, and there are fan blackouts every summer. 200,000 bridges in the U.S. are in dire need of reconstruction, 15,000 dams could collapse at any time, and the average age of the power grid is under 70 years old. 32% of urban roads need repair, and at least $6 trillion is needed to fully modernize the infrastructure. Biden doesn’t have that kind of money, so it’s easier for him to implement a populist project like “modernizing Internet connectivity” and hope that the wave of man-made disasters will fall on the next president.
In addition to effectively controversial measures to improve his own ratings, Biden is trying to continue traditional attacks on Trump. Thus, the apparently democratic CNN channel published an audio recording of Trump’s conversation with acquaintances at the Mar-a-Lago residence, where secret documents were discussed. They concerned the organization of a coup d’état in Iran and the U.S. military operation against Tehran. Trump pointed out that the plans to overthrow the government in Iran come from the Pentagon from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Trump, while pursuing an aggressive policy toward Iran, does not favor such a radical scenario. Relations between Trump and the Pentagon have always been problematic, and the generals lied to Trump about the presence of American soldiers in Syria. He was also forced to make the decision to assassinate Iranian General Soleimani, threatening to make a public scandal otherwise. And Milley was in contact with China’s general staff behind Trump’s back ahead of the 2020 election. Now the audio recording is being used as evidence that he mishandled classified documents. Trump is also being threatened with a new investigation where he will be tried for organizing a “mutiny” in storming the Capitol. Even though Trump is being pressured by the prosecutorial attacks, Democrats are still panicking, fearing he will win the election against all odds. Biden’s ratings remain prohibitively low, as low as 35% in some polls, against Trump’s steady 55-60%. And Kamala Harris is now one of the most unpopular vice presidents in history. If Trump ends up winning and seeks revenge on his opponents, it will threaten to plunge Washington into the worst political crisis in modern history. However, we will only see if this becomes a reality by the end of 2024.