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  • Eliot Fuller

Biden vs. Trump 2024: The Unpredictable Battle Ahead


You may have heard that a recent New York Times poll found Joe Biden to be trailing Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, casting doubt over the president's ability to win re-election next year. This poll comes as democratic angst over Biden’s age and dwindling favorability is already at an all-time high. Seeing Trump up nationally with commanding leads in key swing states sent a shiver down the spines of his toughest critics, while also giving hope to those who want him back in the White House. Democrats are worried—this New York Times poll wasn’t the first to suggest Trump’s favorability in 2024.


Biden’s approval rating has been underwater for over two years now, and that doesn’t exactly scream “blue wave” going into the next election. He certainly sits in a more vulnerable position than the average incumbent. Nonetheless, it’s too early to panic, as dynamics are likely to shift over time. The anxiety from Biden supporters is valid, but this race is almost certain to tighten up before we head to the polls next November.


Why do I say this? Well, for one, we haven’t even entered the general election phase of Trump or Biden’s candidacies. Trump still needs to secure his party’s nomination—something he’s on track to do handily. Once he gets that nomination, it’s on. You see, for the past few years, Trump’s been sort of living off the mainstream grid; he was moderately deplatformed following the events of January 6th, with Instgaram and X—AKA Twitter—banning him temporarily. His speeches haven’t been getting the same level of coverage that they used to, and non-political folks can easily ignore him if they so choose. But once Trump becomes the Republican nominee (sorry, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis), this will change.


He'll be thrust back into the spotlight, and a bunch of on-the-fence voters who dislike Biden will be reminded why they dislike Trump even more. Younger folks who are frustrated with the 46th president will remember why they elected him in the first place—too dethrone the 45th. When the mainstream focus finally shifts to Trump—thee way it did during the 2020 election cycle—he'll take a hit, and Biden will see a boost.


Additionally, if Trump runs his campaign on personal grievances about the legitimacy of our last presidential election, he’ll turn away potential key voters who don’t believe that 2020 was rigged. Trump’s biggest strength as president was arguably the economy, but if he doesn’t spend his time reminding swing state voters how good things were under his leadership, they might not be inclined to support him. It’s not just this stolen election theory that consumes him—mounting legal trouble has plagued Trump since his defeat three years ago, and if he focuses his campaign on this rather than pushing for an agenda that improves our country, he’s likely to suffer politically.


In the months leading up to next November, it’s basically a guarantee that both Trump and Biden will dominate headlines. They’ll also get additional publicity from members of their own parties and maybe even some celebrities. In this area, Biden will benefit more than Trump. The GOP has some prominent figures who have expressed concerns about Trump. There are a handful of Republicans currently serving in Congress that voted to impeach the 45th president after January 6th. Biden certainly has some critics in his own party too, but they’re more likely to get behind him when Trump is the only other option. AOC and Bernie Sanders have already endorsed Biden, demonstrating his ability to bring different wings of the party together when it matters most. Trump doesn’t do this quite as well.


In addition, Biden can probably count on popular celebrities to vouch for him closer to election day—Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish all did this in 2020. They can help stress the urgency of the election, inspiring our younger generation to get involved, even if they do so begrudgingly. None of this is happening right now, though, and I think that’s a small part of why Biden’s poll numbers look so bad at the moment.


We should also consider the impact that a potential Trump conviction or even arrest would have on this race. A handful of swing state voters in the New York Times poll said that they would switch their support from Trump to Biden if the former president was found guilty of a crime. This would instantly boost Biden’s chances by a lot. The point is, there are plenty of things that could change between now and November 2024. There are plenty of things that I expect to change between now and November 2024. Biden certainly looks weak at the moment, but there will be a massive campaign to lift him up and tear Trump down once the GOP nomination is secured. We haven’t even kicked off the general election season yet, but when we do, you can expect this race to tighten up.

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