President Joe Biden officially announced his candidacy for re-election, but he has a long way to go, especially when he must face himself.
Photos: The White House, Ali Shaker/VOA
LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
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With the official announcement of his candidacy for re-election, US President Joe Biden gave the starting signal for the 2024 presidential race. While the Democratic Party will try to maintain order and close ranks with the president, the Republican Party is a battlefield where they fight to repeat the 2020 election (and this time win) or to renew the face of the party, the candidates are already beginning to raise their hands.
Biden, All or Nothing
The President of the United States has three fronts to defend his candidacy to stay in the White House. The first is that of his party. He must achieve unity so the blue team closes ranks with the president. Although there are other exciting profiles, the president hopes to have his entire party backing his aspirations to continue in power. The second front that the president will have to fight in his presidential aspiration is the Republican candidate, be it Donald Trump or another, the approval of the Americans for Biden to repeat is not very high, so his campaign will be crucial considering who he has in front of he, on the red side.
Biden's third front is himself, mainly due to his age and delicate health. The president will have to convince an uncertain electorate about the 82 years with which he would begin his term and the 86 with which he would end. If the GOP decides to support a "young" candidate, Biden could be in trouble by jeopardizing the support within his party of those who consider him too old for the job. The ace up Biden's sleeve is in his speech in defense of democracy (a subject dedicated to Donald Trump) and the leadership he intends to hold as the country that has organized support for Ukraine. Finally, if the Republican candidate is Donald Trump, the 2020 election would be repeated, with the advantage of the distrust generated by the businessman after the assault on the capitol by his followers.
Who will Challenge Biden?
The last US president who decided not to run for re-election was Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s, who finished Kennedy's term and won an election himself. However, the Democrat waived his right to run for re-election due to his low popularity due to the ravages of the Vietnam War. So it's rare for a sitting president to decline to run for re-election, especially if his administration has been widespread. The logical thing is that the party respects his position and closes ranks against him, so allowing a rival can be seen as a sign of weakness.
Even so, in the case of the Democratic Party, there are names that still sound like contenders for the nomination, mainly two: Marianne Williamson, a writer of self-help books who already tried in 2020, her candidacy looks weak, but after what happened with Trump in 2020 nothing can be ruled out. The other name is that of Robert F. Kennedy, who announced his candidacy for the presidency. The main problem with the activist is his controversial positions, such as supporting an anti-vaccine movement. Finally, Bernie Sanders, also an octogenarian, has declined his candidacy to support Biden.
Trump, the Reissue of the Previous Election
The Republican Party is at a crossroads similar to the previous presidential election. Donald Trump began his campaign at the end of 2022. Although his popularity is not what it was eight years ago when he won the presidency (aside from the scandal of the capture of the Capitol), he still has a solid fan base. However, the midterm pick showed him it would be challenging, as many of his chips weren't victorious. If he does not win the nomination, he could threaten, as he did in the 2016 election, to go the independent route, which would split the Republican vote.
Obtaining the candidacy would reissue the previous election, where Biden won the presidency; both candidates are the longest-serving leaders in their country's history, making it a duel for older adults. Trump's speech is the same as it was four and eight years ago: a sharp vision of freedoms, democracy, and migration; on this last issue, he is once again promoting an agenda that is not very humanitarian but which yielded him votes to obtain the presidency.
The Break with "Trumpism"
The support of the Republican Party for Donald Trump in the 2016 elections was unique. The businessman threatened to go independently if he did not obtain the nomination. Against all odds, the businessman became president with an isolationist policy, critical of migrants and supporting issues such as weapons. However, the wear and tear of his government weighed on the 2020 election, where Biden was elected president. Now, towards 2024, his Party is divided between those who support him and those who do not, just as in the blue camp, in the red base, some voices aspire to a renewal of the nominees to make way for younger politicians.
Thus, in front of Trump, characters such as his former vice president Mike Pence, who marked his distance from the former president, could be presented. In addition to names like Nikki Haley, a former governor and former ambassador whose closeness to Trump could weigh on his candidacy. Also among the options are Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman, and former Alaska Governor Asa Hutchinson, who stands out for being against Trump. However, one of the names with the most weight is Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, who is a fervent defender of carrying weapons with a law included. He is also a promoter of the transportation of migrants to "democratic areas" of the country, which will undoubtedly give him points among conservative sectors before an eventual candidacy.