The election of 2024 begins with a high-stakes stare-down.
Both President Joe Biden and previous President Donald Trump have informed staffers and close associates that if the other stands, they’re more inclined to run for the presidency.
However, as each camp prepares for a rerun of the tense 2020 struggle, there is one minor snag: neither is willing to take the leap first.
It’s a tournament of ideological chicken that has largely raised concerns about the health and future of two parties, with both hopefuls who have long commemorated their 75th birthdays.
“It’s a very unprecedented circumstance where there are people on all sides who would probably clear the field.”
“We may not have had a very challenging primary along either side for maybe the first time in recent history,” said Alex Conant, a political consultant who was a top aide on Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.
“It’s difficult to imagine what that would entail, other than brutally protracted election campaigns.”
As we survey pollsters we trust, this is how we see things currently:
Biden approval: 40-41%
Congressional Generic Ballot: Republicans +8%
Trump v. Biden: Trump +5-6%
— PollWatch (@PollWatch2020) April 29, 2022
For the time being, it’s all engines go for 2024 inside the White House.
Biden has stated repeatedly that he intends to run for a second term. White House staffers and Biden associates are preparing to do so.
They seem to believe Biden has a great record and could overcome intraparty worries about his age — he will be 82 on Election Day 2024 — and wobbly polling results.
More on Biden?
Biden has little option but to say differently; admitting to being a lame duck would severely limit his political strength.
Some Democrats privately hope Biden will announce his final choice soon after the midterm elections in November.
This will give the party plenty of time to get ready for what will almost certainly be a wide-open race if Biden decides not to run.
Trump v Biden II is much more uncertain imo 😬 pic.twitter.com/oOv4Vp845q
— Matt Convard 🇺🇸 (@MattConvard) May 2, 2022
Presidents, on the other hand, frequently postpone declaring a reelection run until after the midterm elections, owing to campaign finance limits.
Furthermore, acting quickly is not one of Biden’s strengths; therefore, there is concern inside the party that a statement may be delayed until 2023.
One circumstance that could speed a decision is if Donald Trump declares his own candidacy.
To stop Trump from recovering the White House, the incumbent president has repeatedly told allies he will have to run again. Biden sees Trump as a fundamental threat to American democracy, just as he did in 2020.
Much like in 2020, Biden believes he is the only one who can defeat Trump.
He intends to challenge Trump more vigorously as the midterm elections approach, both to improve his party’s status in the midterms and to set a difference for the future.
On Wednesday, Biden remarked, “This MAGA pack is honestly the most radical political body that has emerged in contemporary American history.”