The 2024 presidential election is still two years away. But with the midterms finally settled, the attention of the political world is starting to shift toward the race for the Oval Office. At the moment, so far in advance, nothing is certain. Only one major candidate has announced his candidacy, that being former President Donald Trump. We don’t know who Trump will be running against for the GOP ticket. We don’t even know whether incumbent President Joe Biden will represent the Democrats. But we can start to speculate.
And while nothing is certain, the most likely matchup is probably a 2020 rematch – Biden v Trump.
Will Biden Run?
Getting to a 2020 rematch will require several breaks to go a certain way. First and foremost, Biden will need to run for president. To date, Biden has not announced his candidacy, although he has indicated that a decision is imminent. Biden said he was going to take the holidays to consult with family before deciding in early 2023. My money is on Biden running for reelection. Biden spent his entire career, 50 years in Washington, working towards the presidency. Now that Biden has the top job, I have a difficult time seeing him stepping down voluntarily.
Over the summer, Biden’s popularity was historically low – lower than even Trump or Jimmy Carter’s, each of whom served just one term before losing reelection. Biden’s lack of popularity was seen as a hindrance towards re-election. Today, Biden’s popularity has trended in the right direction. More importantly perhaps, Biden was validated with the Democrats performance during the midterm elections. Democrats clung to a majority in the Senate while mitigating projected losses in the House, suggesting that the Biden worldview has some appeal to voters. The midterm performance makes Biden more likely to run. It also suggests that Biden may have higher electability than his popularity ratings suggest.
Can Trump Win the GOP?
Even if Biden does declare his candidacy, there’s no guarantee he’ll be running against Trump. While the embattled Trump has entered the 2024 race, he’ll have to earn the GOP ticket against what will likely be a crowded field.
Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP has loosened. Whereas Trump dominated the party for the last seven years, voters and donors are beginning to seek alternatives to the brash, egocentric real estate mogul. Part of Trump’s problem is his electability; he keeps losing elections.
There’s the 2020 presidential race, of course. Losing a presidential election usually signals the end of a candidate’s presidential aspirations. And then there’s the midterms. Trump-endorsed candidates were trounced in battleground states. Only one Trump endorsee (JD Vance in Ohio) won in a battleground state. The rampant losing streak suggests that swing voters are growing tired of Trump’s antics and rhetoric. Many voters are looking elsewhere, even if that means a democrat.
Who Has an Edge in Biden vs. Trump?
If Trump were to win the GOP ticket, and if Biden were to declare his candidacy, the two would face off for a rematch of the 2020 election. The next election promises to be a different animal, but assessing the 2020 election can be informative. To put things simply, the only time Trump and Biden have faced off, Biden won. Accordingly, you could say Biden has the edge going in. That’s not to say Trump wouldn’t be viable.
Sure, Trump is scandal-prone, but he seems to thrive on scandal. Trump will also be well-funded – despite the fact that he is losing support from some prominent megadonors. Trump will come up with the money.
While most Americans would prefer a pivot away from both Biden and Trump, the two candidates remain the most likely to win their parties’ nominations for the 2024 ticket. Still, it’s two years out and anything could happen.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he 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. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.