The 5-Minute Fix: Yes, Donald Trump Could Win Again

Unless there’s a major unexpected turn of events, the stage is set for the 2024 presidential race: President Biden will face Donald Trump for a second time. Here’s what you should keep in mind about this upcoming election.

The outcome in November remains uncertain to everyone.

“And anyone claiming to have certainty is likely mistaken,” remarked a seasoned Republican strategist to me.

Here’s why the situation remains so uncertain:

  1. One candidate risks being convicted as a criminal: He is scheduled to stand trial at least once during this election cycle, starting later this month, on charges related to hush money in New York. However, it remains uncertain whether he will face trial in 2024 for his involvement in the events of January 6th, mishandling classified documents, or attempting to overturn Georgia’s election results. Previous indictments haven’t significantly impacted his standing with Republicans, and the effect of a criminal conviction on his appeal to swing voters is uncertain.
  2. Both Biden and Trump would potentially hold the titles of the oldest and second-oldest presidents ever: Biden, starting a second term, would be 82, while Trump would be 78. Despite assurances from their doctors regarding their good health, their advanced ages significantly contribute to the unpredictability of this race. The prospect of either candidate having to withdraw would likely trigger considerable chaos and uncertainty within their respective parties.
  3. Both candidates have previously served as president. Consequently, both are unpopular, with many Americans expressing lukewarm enthusiasm about their options.

Trump begins from a remarkably advantageous position.

Following a highly successful primary night on Tuesday Trump delivers a speech Jabin Botsford

The fate of the election likely rests on approximately six pivotal states nationwide. Within most of these states, Biden and Trump are virtually neck and neck in polls, with Trump occasionally leading. However, it’s essential to recognize that polls merely capture current voter feelings. Based on these polls, Trump would have the advantage if the election occurred today. Notably, when Biden emerged victorious in 2020, he consistently maintained a lead over Trump in polling.

Polls suggest that Trump may expand his support from previous elections, particularly among Black and Hispanic voters. Although he faces challenges among college-educated voters, he has notably solidified backing from the elite and ruling class within the Republican Party, as evidenced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s endorsement today.

“Trump is further broadening the party,” stated Republican strategist Nicole Schlinger.

Although he has amassed 91 criminal indictments since his defeat in 2020, being out of office for four years also provides some benefits.

“Trump is the candidate of chaos,” remarked Republican strategist Sarah Longwell, a critic of Trump who conducts listening sessions with voters. “Yet surprisingly, voters are viewing him as the candidate of stability. There’s a palpable sense of chaos currently, especially regarding the border and foreign policy, and Trump is striving to portray himself as the one capable of restoring order.”

On the other hand, Biden may be experiencing a decline in support. According to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll, most voters who backed him in 2020 now believe he’s too old to serve as president effectively.

And crucial swing voters—like supporters of Nikki Haley or those who switched from voting for Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020—frequently cite immigration as a top concern. This poses a challenge for Biden, as the large influx of migrants at the border seeking asylum has been a persistent vulnerability for his administration.

“When criticism of Biden arises, immigration tends to be one of the foremost concerns, particularly among swing voters,” noted Longwell.

However, Biden has optimistic prospects.

However Biden has optimistic prospects
Biden boards Air Force One on Tuesday Amanda Andrade Rhoades

The Democratic strategists I’ve spoken with are not in a state of panic.

Numerous politicians assert that elections are decided in the suburbs. According to Democratic strategist Carolyn Fiddler, Democrats have been steadily gaining support in these areas over the past few elections, particularly on key issues like abortion. In recent elections across states like Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia, where abortion was a prominent concern, the suburbs notably leaned towards the Democrats. “A suburban mother in North Carolina emphasized to a Democratic state house candidate this week, ‘For my children to have the right—now, in the future, at any time—to make choices about their bodies is essential. So that’s 100 percent at the forefront of my vote.'”

According to Democrats, additional factors could work in Biden’s favor. The economy is thriving, and investments from Biden’s infrastructure and climate initiatives are beginning to have an impact in communities, Fiddler noted.

Democrats and those leaning towards the Democratic party strongly oppose Trump.

“This is not a time to panic,” remarked Democratic strategist Tim Hogan. “It’s a time for everyone to brace themselves and get ready for an election that will be challenging and closely contested, regardless of the circumstances.”