A year ago, the Republican Party had a disappointing result in the November midterm elections, the worst for an opposition party in 20 years. THE the blame was placed on Donald Trump. Republican leaders stressed that the former president played a role role too importante in the campaign and that almost all of his hand-picked candidates had failed to win. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was re-elected by a spectacular margin.
But a year later, the situation was reversed. Despite being indicted in four different cases for 91 alleged crimes – or perhaps because of it – and despite the chaos from House Republicans, Trump is not only the heavy favorite to win the Republican primaries, but he also narrowly ahead of Joe Biden at the start. presidential elections. There is now a real possibility that Trump could return to the White House four years after the assault on the US Capitol.
Much depends on the 2024 presidential elections. Biden warned that Trump – who has still not admitted his 2020 defeat – is a risk for democracy. While Trump presents the election as a sort of popular vote on his criminal charges, arguing that he is the victim of a politicized justice system. The direction of U.S. international and domestic policy will be very different depending on who wins. In addition, the two presidential candidates are rejected by the majority of the population.
Dave Wasserman, election analyst at Cook Political Report, noted last month: “What’s so crazy about the current political environment is that if the 2024 election were in November, I believe that a) Biden’s numbers are so bad that he would lose to an indicted Trump and b) House Republicans are so dysfunctional/in bad shape. they would lose the majority.
For her part, Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez wrote in a strategy report last week: “We expect it to be a very close race. »
No surprises in the Republican primaries
In the Republican primaries, there seems to be little room for surprises. According to the Fivethirtyeight poll average, Trump has a voting intention of 58.3%, compared to 14% for Ron DeSantis and 7.7% for Nikki Haley. The race officially begins on January 15 in the Iowa caucuses, and the election of delegates is concentrated in the first quarter, leaving no time for Trump’s legal calendar to modify the forecast.
But there is still a year before the presidential elections on November 5, 2024. That’s a long time, especially in such a close election, the outcome of which depends on a handful of swing states (mainly Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin , Nevada and Arizona). Other factors could also affect the outcome, including the lawsuits filed against Trump (two for attempting to subvert previous election results), who could face prison time. The state of the economy and international issues can also have an impact. Another variable to consider is how independent campaigns Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And Cornel West can affect the race.
With all these reservations and a few others, the polls are so far in favor of Donald Trump. The former president is virtually tied with Biden in the popular vote, but he is ahead in most key states. The national polling average calculated by aggregator RealClearPolitics gives Trump an advantage over Biden of 0.5 points in the popular vote (45.4% to 44.9%). A year before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton had a 2.1 point lead (she ultimately won by two points in the popular vote, but lost the presidency in the Electoral College) and a year before the 2020 election, Biden was ahead Trump by 8.9 points. (in the end, he won by 4.5 points), according to the same pollster. The race between Biden and Trump is so close that even survey aggregators’ models don’t give the same predictions. RacetotheWH gives Biden a 0.10 point lead, and 270towin shows Trump ahead by 1.2 points.
Additionally, when voters were also asked about Kennedy Jr. and West, Trump’s average lead widened to 3.3 points, according to RealClearPolitics, to 1.1 points, according to RacetotheWH, and to 2.6 points in 270 victories. And it’s not so much because of Kennedy Jr, who, despite coming from the Democratic Party, seems to be turning voters away from Trump with his anti-vaccine positions, but because of West, an Afro-American philosopher and political activist. -left-wing American.
It’s also important to note that Trump is leading in key states. The American presidential election is indirect. Each state has the same number of electors as members of Congress, which, with three electoral votes from the capital, the District of Columbia, makes a total of 538. A candidate needs 270 votes to win. With minimal exceptions, the candidate who wins in a state wins all the electoral votes. Three are up for grabs in less populated states (like Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont), while New York has 28, Florida 30, Texas 40 and California 54. The system favors states with the least population populous, predominantly republican. Between safe, likely, and relatively decided states (although there is room for surprise), Democrats typically get 241 electoral votes and Republicans, 235.
The battle centers on Pennsylvania’s 19 delegates, Georgia’s 16, Arizona’s 11, Wisconsin’s 10 and Nevada’s six. Biden won all five states in 2020 and Trump must win back at least three to win. One year before the elections, the figures are starting to come out. Pollster 270towin places Trump ahead in Arizona (+4.5 points), Georgia (+4), Wisconsin (+2) and Pennsylvania (+1) and only gives Biden a lead in Nevada ( +2 points). RacetotheWH gives Trump a 3.1-point lead in Georgia; 2.8 points in Arizona and 1.1 points in Wisconsin, while giving Biden a 1.4 point lead in Nevada and 0.1 points in Pennsylvania. Either way, Trump would be president.
The latest major poll, published by The New York Times Sunday, gives Trump a lead in Nevada (10 points), Georgia (6 points), Arizona (5 points), Michigan (5 points) and Pennsylvania and only gives Biden the advantage in the Wisconsin (2 points). This is a nightmare scenario for the current president.
César Martínez teaches at the George Washington University School of Political Management and was a Republican Party strategist in four presidential campaigns. He was also part of the so-called Lincoln Project in 2020, which mobilized mainstream Republican consultants who wanted to prevent Trump’s re-election. “The possibility of Trump winning is so great that we have to restart this effort,” he tells EL PAÍS.
In 2016, he said, “Trump’s victory was an accident of democracy and the electoral college; If he wins in 2024, it would be masochism.” Martínez warns that Trump’s second term could cause more damage than the first, because he wouldn’t care about his re-election. According to him, in 2020, “Biden did not win, Trump lost” and he believes that any other Republican candidate could beat Biden, arguing that he only has a chance of winning if he faces his predecessor. “No one wants Trump to be the Republican nominee more than Biden,” he said.
Democrats believe Biden is capable of beating Trump again. In her strategic report, Julie Chavez decided to repeat the same messages that worked in 2020 and 2022: “protect democracy and the soul of the nation, ensure that the the economy works for the middle class, fighting for more rights, not fewer. And she thinks Democrats will prevail over what she sees as Republicans’ extremist ideas: “rigging the economy for the ultra-rich and big corporations, cutting Social Security and Medicare, banning ‘abortion and refusing free and fair elections’.
For Democrats, it is essential that the election is not seen as a referendum on Biden, whose approval rating has plummeted, but rather as a choice between two opposing visions.
Republicans, for their part, are trying to portray the United States as a country in decline, focusing on immigration, crime and inflation, while closing ranks over what they see as political persecution. of Trump in court. They also attack Biden’s age, 80, while Trump is 77.
Chavez says the Biden campaign is already off to a good start. He has begun campaigning in key states, while Republicans are still in the primaries and Trump is spending much of his donations on lawyers. The idea is to sell Biden’s legislative achievements, his investments in infrastructure, job creation, particularly in the industrial sector, and his support for workers, illustrated by his decision to join the picket line during the auto workers strike.
Democrats, however, face additional challenges when it comes to retaining the support of key sectors such as young people, African Americans, Latinos and Arab Americans. Biden’s unwavering support for Israel has hurt his support among the left wingespecially among young people and Arab Americans.
“This campaign will win by doing the work and ignoring outside chatter – just like we did in 2020,” Chavez concluded in the memo.
“It’s going to be a very competitive campaign, but it’s like watching the same movie with the same actors and the same dialogues,” Martínez explains. Only the ending remains to be written.
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