In the 2020 election, President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump, winning several swing states that Trump had carried in 2016 (Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia). And while Trump to this day refuses to accept that he lost, the scenario that played out was about the best case for the Democrats in that election year.
In 2024, it appears we are headed for a rematch of 2020, with Biden not facing serious opposition on the Democratic side, and Trump way ahead in most polls for the Republican nomination contest.
Politico reported this week that members of the Biden campaign “continue to believe that they will square off against Donald Trump in a general election rematch of four years prior.” However, Biden’s team is also preparing to face a non-Trump candidate.
“Biden’s nascent campaign and the Democratic National Committee have been preparing to launch broadsides against a slew of current and potential GOP contenders, driven by the fear that their job may be tougher if Trump’s name is not at the top of the Republican ticket,” Politico added.
A strategy by the Democrats this cycle appears to be attacking the GOP as extreme, regardless of who emerges as the presidential candidate.
“They’re all extreme. I grew up under the Ronald Reagan Republican party that wrapped itself in the American flag,” DNC chair Jaime Harrison told Politico. “Well, part of America is freedom: the freedom to speak, the freedom of choice. And these guys are everything against freedom.”
What’s the state of the race, nearly a year and a half before the general election voting?
In early April, an ABC News/Washington Post poll made a lot of news, when it showed Trump leading a hypothetical general election matchup by 6 points against Biden. However, national polls taken throughout the month of May have looked very different.
A Yahoo News poll a few days later had Joe Biden winning by 2, while an Economist/YouGov poll in mid-May had Trump leading by 2. A Harvard-Harris poll had Trump winning by 7, while a Quinnipiac poll had Biden winning by 2. The current RealClearPolitics average has Trump ahead by 1.4 points.
When it comes to hypothetical matchups between Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the RCP average has DeSantis up by 0.6 points. Multiple recent polls have had Biden and DeSantis tied, while the most recent Quinnipiac poll had the Florida governor ahead by 1 point.
As for the Republican race, the most recent Morning Consult tracking poll, taken a week ago, has Trump leading with 58 percent support among GOP voters, followed by DeSantis with 20 percent, Mike Pence with 6 percent, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy with 4 percent each, and Liz Cheney and Tim Scott with 2 percent each. Of those, all but Pence and Cheney have officially gotten into the race, although Pence is expected to declare his candidacy soon, as is former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The DNC, per the Politico piece, is doing opposition research into all Republican candidates, declared and not, including Christie and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who said in early May that he wasn’t running for president but has reportedly reconsidered doing so.
The natural caveat for all of this is that it’s very early, the Republican nomination contest has barely gotten underway, and there could be numerous events, from the economy to possible further indictments of former President Trump, that could upend the race in the next 18 months.
“The White House likes its chances in a rematch. Aides believe Trump’s behavior is disqualifying for voters, and that many Americans would not like a return to the chaos that dominated his administration,” Politico said. “Moreover, Biden’s political brain trust is fixated on the independent, swing voters — in many cases, suburban women — who went for Trump in 2016 but broke hard away from him four years later.”
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.