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Biden vs. Trump rematch

WASHINGTON — As President Joe Biden labors to sell his Build Back Better agenda to the Senate and restore an economy locked down by the coronavirus pandemic, our free press has a dual obligation. First, it must examine and explain that agenda to the American people. Second, it must urge Congress to follow through on the House investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, to bring its instigators to justice.

Biden’s proposals offer very substantial financial relief to our people at this desperate time, and if adequately understood it could limit his current slippage in the polls. Currently, he is taking the ideas on the road in the calculated belief that selling them can replicate Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which that brought the country out of the Great Depression nearly a century ago.

Second, pressing for prompter inquiry into, and punishment for, those who planned and organized the riot would bring a brighter spotlight on the involvement of former President Donald Trump, political associates Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows and other lesser lights. Trump has labeled most of the American journalistic profession “the enemy of the people,” as he corrals favoritism from Fox News and other clearly right-wing news outlets.

Broader public support of regular federal payouts to American working families for childcare, preschool, expanded Medicare and other benefits would be funded by Biden through higher taxes on very wealthy individuals and corporations.

Taken together, greater coverage of his agenda could strengthen his political posture going into next year’s midterm congressional elections, on which his aspirations to retain or enlarge his narrow majority in both houses may rise or fall.

Both Trump and Biden have sent signals suggesting each plans to run again in 2024. A second Biden vs. Trump confrontation would bring another referendum on the men and their personal behaviors, rather than on their experience in governance, of which Trump has demonstrated his shortcomings and Biden has strong paper credentials.

The visible deterioration of the Grand Old Party as a bulwark of traditional conservative principles discourages the emergence of a moderate in the mold of Bob Dole or John McCain to challenge Trump and his GOP faithful. That is particularly so in the South and in rural areas across the Midwest and West.

One old conservative favorite still nominally with the Republican Party of relatively independent nature is former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But he has been pretty much persona non grata with many in his old club.

Consequently, American voters obliged to choose again between Joe Biden and Donald Trump will have to rely on our free press once more to provide the truth and other valid information with which to cast constructive ballots in 2024.

What it produces for public consumption between now and then demands the credibility our competitive journalism has promised, and usually delivered, over the course of our democratic experiment.

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