Mathews: You want a criminal for president? Dump Biden and draft Snoop Dogg


President Biden should quit the presidential race, not because he is too old — but because he is not criminal enough to win.

The United States has broken bad — look at our guns, drugs, politics — and we want our leaders to be as brutal and scary as we are.

This, not age, is the real story behind the reaction to the presidential debate. Donald Trump lied constantly, defended his January 6 coup, and pledged new crimes against the republic. For this, he was judged the winner. Meanwhile, Joe Biden played the kindly forgetful grandfather protecting democracy — and now his own supporters want him out of the race.

This post-debate reaction is unsurprising. Trump surged in fundraising and some polls after his convictions on 34 felonies.

Some Americans remain puzzled why Americans would elect a criminal. But the only real puzzle is why anyone is puzzled.

Criminal daring has always been useful in politics. During the French Revolution — that criminal launch of the modern republic — the Marquis de Sade, himself a criminal, observed, “It is certain that stealing nourishes courage, strength, skill, tact, in a word, all the virtues useful to a republican system.”

Humans routinely vote for politicians commit crimes. One reason is that the criminal politician may be better than the authoritarian alternative. Another reason: being president requires tangling with foreign leaders who are criminals (see Putin, Vladimir).

Another, less discussed reason is representation: We want to see ourselves in our politicians. And since our profoundly punitive America rivals dictatorships in its fervor for locking up people, it’s understandable that Americans might want a convicted felon in the Oval Office.

Today, one-in-three American adults has a criminal record. For context, that’s the same percentage of working-age adults who have four-year college degrees. If that comparison doesn’t grab you, try this. About 80 million Americans have a criminal record, and about 80 million Americans are registered to vote as either Democrats or Republicans.

Criminality and party membership are similarly common American experiences.

Which is why the Democrats should replace “good and decent” Biden with a convicted felon. Why give Trump the honor of making history as the first-ever convict in the Oval Office?

Alas, by this logic, my fellow Californian, Vice President Kamala Harris, as a prosecutor, is the wrong fit for this crooked country.

The good news is that other distinguished Californians boast criminal records.

Like Snoop Dogg.

Born in Long Beach, Snoop (aka Calvin Broadus), 52, would bring clear convictions to the campaign: for cocaine possession in 1990 and for charges of drug and gun possession in 2007. Snoop was tried for and acquitted of murder in 1996, an experience that more presidents should have, since the job is about life-and-death decisions.

What makes Snoop the best presidential choice is his skill in mining his record to produce a diverse and magical entertainment career. He’s a rapper, producer, actor, and cannabis devotee. In 2022, he headlined the Super Bowl halftime show.

Choosing a VP would be a no-brainer. Snoop and his friend and business partner, fellow ex-con Martha Stewart, have collaborated on everything from cooking shows to handbag lines. Together, the two would make an unbeatable and utterly indecent ticket.

Democratic elites might balk at a convicted felon for president. But that’s because they don’t appreciate just how much the federal courts have changed the job.

Just this year, the Supreme Court blew the door wide open for criminal presidents. First, the court ignored the plain text of the 14th Amendment to determine that even a person who had led insurrection against his country could still be president. Then, the Court granted presidents near total immunity for crimes they commit in office.

If both the people and our highest court want felons running the country, let’s give them one of our own.

Joe Mathews is a columnist for Zócalo Public Square.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Mathews: Dump Biden and draft Snoop Dogg



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