Joe Biden is considering making his re-election announcement as early as Tuesday.
After months of teasing his inevitable run with awkward comments like telling Al Roker he will be pushing out Easter eggs, it would seem the moment is upon us.
So what does this mean for 2024?
Well, there’s still a long way to go. And as 2016 showed us, primaries make for plenty of surprises. Still, even with the unknowns, there’s a good chance that we end up with a 2020 re-rerun: former president Donald J. Trump versus President Joseph R. Biden. Because that worked out so well for everybody last time!
There are plenty of problems currently plaguing the country, from inflation to train derailments. And yet, none of these fresh problems are inspiring fresh candidates.
Why would the American people potentially go for a repeat of 2020?
If Trump and Biden both clinch their party’s nominations, it would be for opposite reasons.
Trump would not be the establishment GOP’s first pick, but it doesn’t matter: the enthusiasm he elicits from the Republican base continues to make him a force to be reckoned with.
Biden on the other hand is very unpopular with voters (check the polls Jack), but that doesn’t matter to the Democrats in power: Biden is an obedient and effective puppet for the left’s agenda and therefore he lives to see another election.
Regardless of the enthusiasm from voters or the backing of their respective parties, this election is going to largely depend on which of these polarizing figures can appeal to independents.
Axios recently reported on a Gallup poll that found that “a record 49 percent of Americans see themselves as politically independent — the same as the two major parties put together.”
Gallup analyst Jeff Jones noted that while younger generations have always tended to have more independent voters, it is unusual that as these voters grow older they continue to refrain from aligning with one political side.
A huge chunk of the country has soured on our polarized political parties. Now it’s a question of which candidate can win over those middle-of-the-roaders in a contentious tug of war.
Trump-Deranged women with “Hate Has No Home Here” lawn signs and MAGA hat wearers with Tucker Carlson recorded on their DVRs are not the people who will make or break this election.
The people who hated Trump in 2020 somehow hate him even more now. The people who got on the Trump train in 2020 — even people who now might prefer a less bombastic option such as a Ron DeSantis — would still vote for Orange Man in a heartbeat were he to become the Republican nominee.
The people who dislike Trump but are still able to acknowledge Biden’s cognitive decline are the ones to sway.
Both men will have to try to appeal to this voting bloc without pissing off their own base of rabid followers. This will be tricky, because the left and the right have never more divided on several major issues. Republicans do not want to find a middle ground with people who support “gender-affirming” surgeries for minors. Democrats do not want to compromise on the climate fight or abortion rights.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump both must assure their bases that they are the fighter to take on these cultural battles, while also appealing to Americans who don’t see everything in such black and white terms.
The candidate who can afford to occasionally take the more centered stance without fear of losing their sure-to-be ticked off loyal supporters is going to have the edge.
In the fight of red versus blue over purple, I think my money’s on orange.