A Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch in 2024? - GulfToday

A Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch in 2024?

Political pundits appear incresingly convinced of a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the presidential elections of  2024.

Political pundits appear incresingly convinced of a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the presidential elections of 2024.

Carl P. Leubsdorf, Tribune News Service

A year before Americans elect their next president, pundits, strategists and the two 2020 combatants themselves seem convinced the election will again pit President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s been 67 years since Republican President Dwight Eisenhower defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956 in the last presidential rerun. More-recent elections suggest how much could change in the next 12 months. Three of the last four presidential elections unfolded differently from the conventional wisdom of one year earlier. Beyond that, the ultimate winner in many past elections was not apparent a year out.

In the last 80 years, the following presidential winners were not regarded as favorites a year beforehand: President Harry Truman, Sen. John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton was favored twice — and lost both times. An article in The Washington Post in November 1979 said that, based on the polls, Reagan was likely to lose in 1980 — to Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. But Kennedy lost the Democratic nomination to President Carter, who lost in a landslide to Reagan. In 1948, Truman was seen as an almost certain loser up to the point he won; one year before they won, Carter and Clinton were barely known.

The recent election that turned out the most differently from a year earlier was in 2008. In October 2007, the two poll leaders were New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the Republicans. The two ultimate nominees, Obama and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, were both subjects of speculation that their once-promising campaigns were collapsing. But Obama’s breakthrough speech at an Iowa Democratic dinner jump-started his campaign, and he upset both Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards in the Iowa caucuses. Despite losing the New Hampshire primary to Clinton a week later, he went on to win the nomination — and election. Similarly, McCain got his big boost by winning the New Hampshire primary, as he had eight years earlier against ultimate Republican nominee George W. Bush. Giuliani pinned all his hopes on the Florida primary, but finished third, folding his campaign a day later.

More recently, the changes in the year that climaxed with the election weren’t as dramatic. But the campaigns unfolded differently from the outlook the preceding November. In 2011, polls showed Obama would have difficulty winning reelection, but the identity of his likely GOP opponent fluctuated from month to month. In November, the ultimate nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was in a tight race with a little-known African American businessman, Herman Cain. The latter’s candidacy soon collapsed, but Romney lost the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary before emerging on top. In November, he lost to Obama, the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win twice with more than 50% of the popular vote. In 2015, most analysts were skeptical Trump would win the GOP nomination, though he had emerged in the preceding six months to poll competitively against Hillary Clinton, the favourite for both the Democratic nomination and the election itself. Several November 2015 polls showed him ahead of Clinton, but a Marist-McClatchy poll had a big Clinton lead with Trump tied in the GOP race with another neophyte candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. A year later, Trump edged Clinton by winning narrowly in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, though the former secretary of state held a 3 million national popular vote margin.

Four years ago, polls showed Joe Biden in a close race with liberal Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts amid doubts about both Biden’s (77) and Sanders’ (78) ages. But Sanders and Warren failed to take advantage of Biden’s poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and he rebounded with second in Nevada’s caucuses and a landslide victory in South Carolina’s primary, leading to Democrats consolidating behind the former vice president. The disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic prevented normal campaigning. But, from the outset, polls showed that, if nominated, Biden would have a good chance of beating Trump. As he did. Every election, of course, is different.

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