After Haley’s Exit, Biden-Trump Rematch Locked In for 2024 Presidential Election

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After Haley's Exit, Biden-Trump Rematch Locked In for 2024 Presidential Election

After suffering a heavy defeat in the Republican primary following Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, former President Donald J. Trump has received assurance of his party’s nomination, setting the stage for a showdown with President Biden in a general election that both sides anticipate to be bitter, fierce, and protracted.

Many Americans who had hoped to avoid the matchup of Biden versus Trump in the next series of the 2024 presidential election now face an inevitable reality.

It will be the first rematch for the presidency in nearly 70 years, a consequential collision of fundamentally different perspectives on American power, policy, and democratic governance. It will be an intense eight-month sprint, with surveys indicating that both contenders are highly polarizing and firmly committed to running aggressive campaigns against each other, thus ensuring deeply negative campaigns on both sides.

“At a recent fundraising event, Mr. Biden candidly expressed, ‘While I may not have all the answers for every presidency, I am confident that compared to my predecessor, there will be a distinctive enhancement in navigating through challenging times.’ This assertion underscores his commitment to forging a unique path forward amidst unprecedented circumstances.”

Mr. Biden has painted Mr. Trump as a danger to the foundation of American democracy, exercising caution in discussing several legal risks faced by the former president, Among the legal entanglements lies a cluster of four criminal charges, with a high-stakes case poised to unfold as the month draws to a close.

At 77, Mr. Trump has portrayed 81-year-old Mr. Biden as elderly, weak, and incapable of performing the basic duties of the presidency. Mr. Trump hinted at a forthcoming caustic and conspiracy-laden campaign during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, saying, “These are fascists and communists who are surrounding them — they’re calling them.” “They’re making decisions. He’s not making decisions.”

Much has changed since Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump four years ago.

America withdrew from Afghanistan, Russia invaded Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, and the stock market soared. Inflation and interest rates rose — but unemployment did not. The Supreme Court ended federal abortion rights, border crossings reached record highs, and Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, leading to federal criminal charges against more than 1,200 people — including Mr. Trump himself, who is accused of conspiring to defraud the country by overturning the results of the 2020 election.

Expectations are that the 2024 election will hinge on all of these and much more.

Mr. Trump has yet to formally secure the necessary delegates for the nomination — which could come as early as next week — but most in the party rallied behind him on Wednesday, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a Republican stalwart who has long had a strained relationship with Mr. Trump. On Thursday, Mr. Biden will have the opportunity to present his case for a second term during his State of the Union address.

Mr. Biden, who ran in 2020 to oust Mr. Trump from the White House and “restore the soul of the nation,” has made freedom the central theme of his candidacy, shedding light on the need for abortion rights for women and free elections for all. Mr. Trump has made immigration a rallying cry for his campaign, promising to seal the border immediately upon his return to the White House, even if it means being “tough,” as he said on his first day.

The economy is expected to play a crucial role as well. While economic conditions have improved, Americans remain disillusioned. Mr. Biden’s approval rating has yet to benefit from his approval despite rising prices due to excessive inflation in 2022.

The first duel to pit a sitting and a former president against each other since Theodore Roosevelt challenged William Howard Taft in 1912 presents a rare opportunity for voters to compare the records and rhetoric of two individuals who have done so before. had already done it.

The expected swift conclusion of the 2024 Republican primary ensures that both sides will have ample time to present their arguments in the battlefields of nearly half a dozen key swing states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in the industrial Midwest, as well as Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina in the Sun Belt.

Mr. Biden won the White House in 2020 by fewer than 45,000 votes in three swing states. Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 came by less than 78,000 votes in three states, determining the outcome.

How close could the 2024 contest be?

If Mr. Biden takes just three “blue wall” states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — into the battlefield, The ultimate result hinges on clinching victory in a specific congressional district in Nebraska, crucial for attaining a minimum of 270 electoral college votes. This singular district holds the key to the entire electoral puzzle, emphasizing the intricate nature of the electoral process. It underscores the significance of every vote and highlights the unique role that even individual districts play in shaping the nation’s destiny.

Such a closely contested race means that almost anything could prove decisive.

Democrats are troubled by the division wrought by the Israel-Hamas conflict and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while more than 100,000 primary voters in Michigan cast ballots against Mr. Biden in the recent primary in that swing state for his “unresolved” stance. The Biden campaign has acknowledged starting with soft support among some key traditional Democratic voting blocs, including young people as well as black and Hispanic voters.

Mr. Trump should attempt to reunite his party after the primary election, in which Ms. Haley continued to win a significant portion of the vote, despite her inevitable loss. She fought hard in some suburban communities where historic elections have been ongoing.

She refrained from an immediate endorsement, opting to place the responsibility of victory on their advocates. Ms. Haley emphasized on Wednesday, “The moment has arrived for decision-making.”

Ensuring a balance between election campaigning and court dates will be crucial for Mr. Trump. His first lawsuit over allegations of silently paying off a porn star during the 2016 race is set to begin jury selection in less than three weeks. Facing 34 counts of misconduct, Mr. Trump could potentially face a maximum of four years in jail. He could be deemed guilty even before the election day, with campaign and criminal penalties for the White House, setting an unprecedented precedent.

Entering the general election, Mr. Biden lags behind in most public opinion polls. His advisers favor a different indicator: Democrats have repeatedly won down-ballot races in 2022, 2023, and several special elections, leaving Mr. Biden’s low approval ratings behind.

A significant issue for Mr. Biden, which he might overlook, is his age. Voters from all demographics express concerns about America’s oldest president, who would be 86 at the end of a second term.

The Biden campaign has leveraged his power to build a financial and early organizational advantage over Mr. Trump. It’s a reversal from four years ago when then Vice President Biden, perceived as relatively weak, started spending $187 million behind Mr. Trump’s operation.

Mr. Biden quickly caught up. Trump’s team isn’t hopeful to match dollar for dollar with the Democrats this time, but his Super PAC is busy wooing major donors, and Mr. Trump himself recently joined forces with one of the world’s richest individuals, Elon Musk. Trump allies hope for establishment within the Republican National Committee on Friday, and the former president has already started fundraising within the party apparatus, which could fetch a much larger check than his campaign alone.

For Mr. Trump, the 2024 election will mark his third consecutive run on the Republican ticket. His position as the party’s standard-bearer, both politically and ideologically, is now indisputable, reshaping the party’s stance on free trade, spending, eligibility programs, and international affairs.

Mr. Trump is also reshaping the political coalition that built the Republican Party. In the age of GOP Trump, there’s a steady decline among women and college-educated voters, while non-white voters, particularly those without college degrees, have emerged as a new force.

According to exit polls, Mr. Biden significantly expanded his support among black and Latino voters in 2020, who didn’t have college degrees. But recently, in a New York Times/CNN College survey, he’s only ahead of that group by 47 percent to 41 percent.

This year, Mr. Trump made a march to the GOP. With expected ease in nominations, he scored victories in most margin states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. He appeared weakened after the 2022 midterm elections when many of his allies lost crucial races, but he announced his candidacy a week later. His comfortable victory in New York in 2023 didn’t weaken him but rather solidified his supporters even more.

Following Iowa, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerged as a Republican challenger to Mr. Trump, arguing in December, “If I could change one thing, I wish Trump wasn’t deemed guilty.” The allegations had “distorted priorities.”

Ms. Haley faced a head-to-head race against Mr. Trump in New Hampshire but lost by 11 percentage points, while independent voters overwhelmingly voted against her. Her second-place finish had little effect – the Biden campaign announced Mr. Trump as the nominee that night. A month later, her comfortable win in Trump’s home state of South Carolina politically troubled her for Super Tuesday.

It seems Mr. Trump’s momentum among Republican voters is slowing down.

Lately, a Manhattan jury delivered a striking verdict, mandating Mr. Trump to compensate $83 million for defaming E. Jean Carroll following rape accusations, while a New York judge issued a staggering $450 million order in a civil fraud lawsuit, entangled with a contentious plot targeting his niece’s rightful inheritance. These legal developments underscore the tumultuous legal battles surrounding the former president.

Mr. Trump has reportedly counted all his growing legal troubles – which last year saw him transfer more than $50 million in legal fees from his political accounts – as an “electoral intervention.” Special counsel Jack Smith’s efforts to handle classified documents in Florida and stay in power after the 2020 elections resulted in him facing two federal charges. He was also found guilty in Georgia, where prosecutors called his efforts to overturn the election results “criminal ventures.”

It’s unclear how many trials he’ll have to face before November, but a secret cash case will begin on March 25 – within a few weeks, hoping to formally secure necessary representatives for nomination.

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