Image Courtesy of The New York Times
By John Maggio
While it is still early in the primary season, the 2024 Presidential election will likely be a Trump-Biden rematch. The last time back-to-back presidential elections had the same two people leading each party was when Dwight D. Eisenhower beat Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. While it is still too early to say definitively, each of the two likely candidates has enough in their pockets to help get to the magic number of 270.
Former President Donald Trump, who once faced a crowded Republican field, is now standing alone at the top with former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley far behind. The former President has key factors backing him that could make him the second President, the other being Grover Cleveland, to serve two non-consecutive terms.
Leading in Polls – While it is still too early to rely too much on polls, it could provide some insight into the election. In some key polls, Trump is leading in states that will decide this election. He is leading in national polls, in Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, and Ohio. States where Biden holds a narrow lead including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Colorado may be concerning for Biden’s team.
The last time Minnesota and Colorado each went red in a presidential election were in 1972 and 2004 respectively. Pennsylvania was key for Biden’s win in 2020 and is home to important Congressional Democrats including recently elected progressive Sen. John Fetterman, House Budget Committee Ranking Member Rep. Brendan Boyle, and House Ethics Committee Ranking Member Rep. Susan Wild. To lose this state will be a major setback for Democrats.
Trump is also leading or closing in on Biden’s hold on typically key Democratic demographics, namely Blacks, Hispanics, and young populations. Without their support or even if their support is fractured, the Democrats may not be able to hold onto the White House.
Immigration – Immigration has been a problem throughout the entirety of Biden’s time in office. A poll shows that those who think that the level of immigration should be decreased has reached the highest in a decade and it has become the top concern for voters heading into election season. This concern is not just at the federal level, with crises being declared in cities such as NYC and Chicago.
Making immigration a major part of his platform helped Trump win in 2016, so looking to use this strategy again for the 2024 race may prove to be a winning strategy once again for the former president.
War – The taste for war among the American public seems to be lessening. A Gallup poll shows that a growing number of Americans think we are providing too much aid, that a majority of Americans feel there should be a limit in aid and a rising sentiment for a quick end to the war.
The conflict in Gaza seems to not be in the President’s favor as well, with a majority of Americans against how Biden has handled the Israel-Hamas war. This same poll shows more Americans would trust Trump than Biden to do a better job at this conflict. After the recent election in Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping called it a choice between war and peace.
After the war in Ukraine and the widening conflict throughout the Middle East, it is not likely that the American people would support a third war to take place under the Biden Administration so perhaps the American people may look for a change in leadership.
Vice President – Vice President Kamala Harris has had low favorability for much of her time in office. While Trump has not named his running mate, it may be an important decision. With the ages of both Trump and Biden being a concern to voters in this election, voters may focus heavily on the Vice President unlike in past elections. If Trump can pick someone who would be appealing to the electorate, some could prefer this pick over Vice President Harris.
While there are 9 months until the election, there are many unknown factors and events in the remaining months that could affect former President Trump in positive or negative ways in his reelection chances. These factors are key to helping him get to 270 on election night, flipping the White House red for at least four more years.