Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden – America would like some new options, please. It’s time for new faces in presidential politics. That’s the message sent by many respondents to a recent survey.
A Marquette University Law School Poll conducted on Jan. 26 revealed that 48% of registered Republicans do not want Donald Trump to run again, and 51% of Democrats said the same thing about Joe Biden. That is a sizable chunk of party loyalists who are looking for someone else – and a different approach to presidential politics.
Who Will Challenge Trump?
As of now, there are only two candidates running for president – Biden and Trump. The only potential candidates polling competitively with Trump are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence. All other Republicans said to be considering a run are barely registering support.
Pence occupies the Conservative Christian lane in Republican politics and usually polls in the single digits. He likely lost the support of MAGA Trumpers by serving as a roadblock to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. DeSantis is polling in the double digits, sometimes in the 20s and 30s, but lately has remained in second place to Trump.
DeSantis is still feeling his way around national fundraisers. Some of the deep-pocketed donors have grumbled that DeSantis is not a natural at retail politics and backslapping. He often doesn’t smile or show a sense of humor like Trump can. DeSantis, then, may have to work on his likability. If he is to do well in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, he will need to look numerous voters in the eye and shake their hands with a grin. He will have to do this more than once for more skeptical audiences.
What About Democratic Challengers to Joe Biden?
On the Democrats’ side, there is not a deep bench. Vice President Kamala Harris would normally be an obvious choice, but she has struggled in the national and international spotlight. She is still searching for a policy role, and Harris often speaks in laughable word salad instead of delivering succinct, declarative sentences, according to critics. She is also known for doing inadequate homework before speaking in front of the media or at events.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is often thought of as a presidential contender, but he has repeatedly said he will not run against Biden and will likely wait until 2028 before he considers a White House run.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has already run once for president and lost. His tenure as a Cabinet member has been marked by crises, and he is sometimes seen as being caught unprepared when they strike. His low-energy dealings with the Southwest Airlines mega-mess that included thousands of flight cancellations in December did not endear him to detractors. Buttigieg is also not seen as a candidate who has major support with key Democratic constituencies such as African-Americans and Hispanics. It is difficult for Democrats to be elected to the presidency without high minority approval.
That leaves New York socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is not AOC’s time to run. She is too young, and even though her name recognition and social media following are impressive, at this point in her career it would be better to prepare for a U.S. Senate race in 2024 against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
There you have it. Many voters want a new face, but the likeliest candidates either have too many downsides or a case of bad timing. It looks like the country may have to deal with Trump and Biden in 2024. While 2020 had one of the highest voter turnouts in decades, 2024 might be marked by low voter enthusiasm.
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Trump and Joe Biden could make people stay home, especially considering the never-ending negative campaign ads and unwatchable presidential debates that are sure to come. Trump-Biden could be a stinker in 2024, and many voters will have to hold their nose and make an uninspired choice.
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.