Joe Biden and Donald Trump Will Battle for the White House And It Will Get Nasty

The 2024 primaries are underway and will consume our attention for several months. Although, at times, with the frontrunners so clearly established, the primary contests feel something like a formality.

Primary election rundown

Trump is dominating the GOP primary, en route to what will likely be his third consecutive GOP nomination. No one comes close to Trump, who has been polling around 50 percent, threatening to capture a majority of the votes in a tightly packed and deeply stacked field.

The closest challenger to Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is polling around 35 to 40 percent behind Trump, barely ahead of biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Most of the GOP field, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Tim Scott, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are all stuck in single digits. In all likelihood, Trump will be the nominee.

The Democratic primary seems similarly set. The DNC has modified the primary rules in a way that benefits the incumbent Biden. And regardless, incumbent presidents are rarely challenged in a meaningful way from within their own party.

Biden would be a good time to make an exception, given his age and unpopularity; the American people are hungry for an alternative option – someone with a higher likelihood of surviving a second term, someone with a lower likelihood of leaving Kamala Harris as President of the United States. So far, the only ones willing to take the bait and run against Biden are Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson.

RFK Jr. has been smeared as a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, and although his rhetoric connects with a portion of the left-wing population that feels increasingly disenfranchised from the mainstream of the party, he is unlikely to unseat Joe Biden in a primary.

Marianne Williamson is perhaps even less likely to unseat Biden. The self-help author offers meaningful progressive perspectives but doesn’t really have relevant governing experience and isn’t taken seriously as a challenger to the nomination.

So that leaves Trump and Biden for a 2020 rematch.

General election rundown

A handful of suburban counties in a handful of swing states will decide the election. It doesn’t feel entirely democratic, does it? Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. The presidency lies in these purple states, which could break for Trump or Biden, swinging the entire election (and the fate of the country/world).

Each candidate is vulnerable to the other. But each one is vulnerable to counterarguments to their own primary arguments against their opponent. For example: Trump is facing 91 criminal indictments in four separate cases. But if Biden emphasizes Trump’s indictments, it will raise questions about whether Biden has weaponized the DOJ, which is under his control, against a political rival.

Similarly, Trump could make a case against Biden’s age. Biden is the oldest president ever, right now, today, and a second term would bring Biden through his 86th birthday – which most Americans feel is deeply inappropriate. But if Trump emphasizes Biden’s age, Trump will be drawing attention to his own age – which would surpass 80 during a second term. So, it’s not like Trump is a young guy.

Whatever happens, the 2024 election is likely to be boisterous and unpleasant, full of ad hominem attacks, hyperbole, and claims of existential threat. The American people will have to sift through the vitriol to make a choice between two uninspiring candidates.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.  

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