President Biden sees himself as the Democrat most likely to beat Donald Trump.
The president suffers from anemic approval ratings, with a recent poll showing most Democrats don’t want him to be the party’s nominee in 2024.
She faces record inflation, a turbulent political and media environment, and deep frustration within her party over her failure to protect abortion rights and take action on climate change.
Not surprisingly, many are beginning to look for alternatives in two years, as Democrats face the prospect of a tough midterm election in which they could lose both House and Senate majorities.
Yet the same New York Times/Siena College poll that had bad news for Biden also showed he would still beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup 44 percent to 40 percent if the next presidential election were held today. .
“It’s pretty clear that the strongest argument for Biden 2024 is a rematch between Biden and Trump,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne.
In the Times poll, Biden’s approval rating hit a low of 33 percent and showed most Democrats want someone other than him to run in 2024.
However, one major Democratic donor said the poll showing Biden beating Trump, who could announce a new White House bid at any moment, is giving the president “some life at a time when we really he needs her.”
“A lot of people write him off, but when you put it in those terms… when you see that he’s the only one who could win, we’d be crazy not to back him. Because who else is there right now?
Biden was running in the 2020 race to end Trump’s presidency and said no other Democrat could take him on and win after the Republican’s shock victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2020. Biden, vice president for the eight years above, he did not run in 2020 with Clinton sitting as the party favorite.
Given Biden’s political problems, the 2024 scenario is shaping up to be a huge conundrum for Democrats.
Many in the party have doubts about Biden, who would turn 81 in 2024. Young people are clamoring for a different candidate and the president is very weak politically.
However, there are also questions about all of Biden’s possible replacements in a 2024 race. And while there is no guarantee that Trump will win the 2024 Republican nomination if he runs for a second term, although polls suggest it is likely, there are Democrats who see Biden as a strong candidate to run against Trump in such a scenario.
“I thought the only relevant number on that was Joe Biden beating Donald Trump,” Zac Petkanas, a former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser in 2016, said of The New York Times poll.
A Biden-Trump rematch would be a historical anomaly: a president running against a former president he defeated.
“As frustrated as Democrats may be with the administration, the fear of a second Trump term seems bigger than anything else,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.
The Times poll couldn’t have landed at a better time, in a way, for Biden, as Trump appears inching closer to announcing another presidential bid.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Trump all but said he planned to announce another presidential bid, saying the only question that remained was whether he would do it before or after the November midterm elections.
While Trump may be weakened by the committee’s explosive findings on Jan. 6 and competing investigations into his conduct, polls still suggest he holds sway among Republican voters.
Democrats would be delighted to see Trump announce his candidacy before the midterm elections, which could help energize his base at a critical time.
“Trump is like a steroid booster for Democrats,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for politics at the centrist Third Way Democratic think tank. “He is the most hated politician in America, particularly among Democratic voters.”
Kessler acknowledged that the November midterms are likely to be difficult for Democrats, but said a Trump re-election announcement could help boost turnout among the base.
Biden at times hinted that he would enjoy another matchup against Trump. He did it again last week, telling Israel’s Channel 12 in an interview that he “would not be disappointed” by another Trump-Biden showdown.
“Biden stands to gain a lot from a Trump candidacy,” said a Democratic strategist who has worked on recent presidential campaigns. “We know what that looks like. We know what the arguments are. We know that even if Biden runs, Trump energizes the base. It’s the best case scenario for Biden.”
Still, the strategist said Biden risks locking himself in by playing the I’m the only one who can beat Trump card.
“They are putting together an interesting box if for some reason Trump decides not to run or is unable to run,” the strategist said. “It’s a dangerous argument because it downplays his strength against other Republican candidates, including someone like [Florida governor] Ron DeSantis.”
There are scant public 2024 polls at this stage, but a Marquette Law School poll released in late March showed Biden beating three hypothetical challengers — Trump, DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence — by four or five points each. . However, at the time, Biden’s approval rating was about 10 points higher than it is now.
Biden also faces a significant challenge in improving his standing with voters, who have resented his presidency amid high inflation. FiveThirtyEight earlier this week placed their current average approval rating – 39 percent – as the worst of any president since the end of World War II at this point in his term.
Still, Biden started his presidency on a high note and his supporters argue that Biden, unlike Trump, has a chance to bounce back as the economic situation in the US improves.
“At a certain point, we’re going to start to see a decline in inflation and hopefully a soft landing, and it has room to grow,” Kessler said.