One year ago this week, I wrote a column called “Four Years Notice.” It was an open letter to Democratic and Republican party leaders, encouraging them to find fresh candidates for the 2024 presidential election.

My closing words were, “Find a candidate who will ensure America will be respected worldwide. One who will listen to all sides, and recognize our differences are what make us great, not what are tearing us down.

If anyone applies for the job who insists on rehashing the past, send them packing. You have four years notice. Please don’t waste that time.”

One year later, the needle has not moved. Unfortunately, the 2024 campaign began shortly after the 2020 election was decided.

In November 2024, President Biden will turn 82, and former President Trump will be 78. Despite their advanced age, they are considered the front runners for their party’s presidential nomination.

I have great admiration for senior citizens. With any luck, I’ll be one in the not too distant future. I get emails and letters each week from readers in their 80s and 90s who can out-write me, out-think me, and probably out-run me.

But I’m a realist. I see where America is these days. Internationally, we are not viewed with the respect we have traditionally enjoyed. Financially, we are a disaster waiting to happen. Physically, we’re overweight, overworked, and reeling from a pandemic with rapidly spreading variants. Politically, we’re at each other’s throats, and the division seems to grow each day.

With all this going on, in a nation of 328 million Americans, are Joe Biden and Donald Trump really our two best choices to take the oath of office in January 2025? Can neither party put forward someone who is 40, 50, 60, or heck, even 70? Don’t we have capable leaders in the Senate, the House, state capitols, or major cities?

Putting it in baseball terms, Henry Aaron was the best home run hitter of all time, but you didn’t see him with a bat in his hands at age 80. By that time, it was someone else’s turn. Why aren’t the two major parties putting players with great potential in their starting lineup?

Does America really want Donald Trump back in the White House? Apparently not, since 81 million people voted to give him more time on the golf course.

Does America really want Joe Biden holding the nuclear football until he’s 86 years old? Although the official line is, “He’s planning to run for a second term,” that’s hard to believe if you have seen him struggle to get through a news conference.

I support whoever happens to be president at any given time, even if I disagree with them on some issues. That’s what good Americans do. I hoped Trump’s uncouth campaign style would give way to presidential behavior after he was elected. That did not happen. Too often, the noise drowned out his accomplishments.

I admire Biden’s work on vaccination distribution and infrastructure improvements, even though I’m disappointed in his shortcomings in other areas. But I always want the president, whoever it may be, to succeed.

So let’s look ahead. On the Democratic side, Vice President Kamala Harris is the obvious candidate, if and when Biden decides not to run. But as a 2020 presidential candidate, she failed to attract much support. Her early results as VP haven’t set the woods on fire. And how embarrassing would it be if Democrats bypassed her and supported other candidates? It would be a public admission of, “Well, we made a poor choice in 2020. But trust us with this one.”

As for Republicans, Trump simply won’t get out of the way. Yes, people still attend his rallies, and some politicians are afraid to go to the restroom without his blessing. But many of those 81 million Biden voters didn’t really love Joe Biden. They voted for “Anyone but Trump.” 2024, as it now stands, would likely fill polling places with those who are now against Biden, or still against Trump.

So the notice I’m giving today is far more time-sensitive. Just one year from now, you’ll be bombarded with commercials for the 2022 midterm elections, including U.S. Senate races in Georgia and Alabama, and various gubernatorial races. Almost immediately after those votes are counted, the 2024 campaign will rev up. Must we again settle for Biden vs. Trump, or even their stand-ins and surrogates? We will soon find out if the leadership of one or both parties is courageous enough to find candidates who are focused on the future, and not the past.

That’s my take. Now it’s your turn. In two weeks, this column will include your feedback, anonymously if you wish. Is there a candidate, old or new, that you would support in 2024? Tell me who, and why.

David Carroll is a Chattanooga television news anchor and radio host. You may find him online at ChattanoogaRadioTV.com, or contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at RadioTV2020@yahoo.com

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