As the United States approaches the 2024 election, the political landscape is already shaping up, and one prominent figure stands out: Donald Trump. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump currently holds a 2.2% lead, a noteworthy margin considering his 7.2% deficit against Joe Biden on the same average during the 2020 election day, where he ultimately lost by only 4.5%. Similarly, Hillary Clinton led by 3.2% on Election Day 2016 but secured the popular vote by a narrow 2.1%. This consistency in outperforming polling numbers sets the stage for a compelling political narrative.
Beyond the polling data, Trump’s advantage is underscored by the perceived stagnation in President Biden’s popularity. Renowned political scientist Ruy Teixeira points out that Biden is trailing behind Trump nationally and in most swing states. Trump’s lead is particularly pronounced on critical issues such as the economy, inflation, immigration, border security, and crime – issues that hold significant sway with voters. Compounding Biden’s challenges, his current approval rating stands as the lowest at this stage of a presidency since the 1940s when modern polling began.
In an attempt to reverse the tide, Biden is planning a tour that incorporates Trump-bashing rhetoric, labeling him as both a racist and a fascist. However, this strategic move raises questions about its potential effectiveness.
One key challenge for Biden is the public’s familiarity with Trump. Attempting to paint Trump negatively is hindered by the fact that Trump is a well-known figure, and the narrative that Trump is more racist than Biden is contradicted by Biden’s own track record. Biden, often hailed as the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) president, has advocated for racial carve-outs and staffed his administration based on intersectional characteristics. The label of Trump as a fascist also faces skepticism, with even Trump opponents acknowledging Biden’s authoritarian tendencies, particularly evident in actions such as the eviction moratorium and vaccine mandate.
Biden’s reliance on anti-Trump sentiment as a driving force for high Democratic turnout may face challenges. The assumption that heavy turnout against Trump is guaranteed may not hold true, especially when comparing 2016 turnout figures with 2020, which saw a significant increase due to pandemic-era policies facilitating early voting from home. The question emerges: What if the actual norm is that Trump doesn’t drive Democratic turnout in the way Biden hopes?
To secure victory, Biden must pivot towards showcasing actual achievements. Merely banking on a negative sentiment towards Trump may not be sufficient, especially considering that Trump’s post-election activities in 2020 did not change the outcome – Biden is, after all, the sitting president. The hope that hatred for Trump will save Biden is predicated on the idea that heavy turnout against Trump is a foregone conclusion. However, this assumption is challenged by the historical context of voter turnout.
In 2016, turnout was within historical norms, with 59.2% of eligible voters participating, compared to 58% in 2012 and 60.1% in 2004. However, in 2020, a significant outlier occurred with a whopping 66.9% of eligible voters participating. This exceptional increase of 23 million voters, totaling 160 million, as opposed to 137 million in 2016 and 129 million in 2012, was not solely attributable to Trump. Pandemic-era policies allowing widespread early voting from home played a significant role. The question arises: Can this exceptional 2020 turnout number be replicated in the absence of those policies, and if not, who stands to gain or lose from the turnout changes?
While Biden may hope for the best, he faces the challenge of delivering tangible results to secure victory. The assumption that Trump-bashing will be a panacea overlooks the need for substantive accomplishments that resonate with a diverse electorate.
In the broader political discourse, influential figures like Ben Shapiro have weighed in on the evolving situation, offering insights and analysis that contribute to the complex tapestry of opinions surrounding the 2024 election. As the election unfolds, the dynamic interplay of these factors will undoubtedly shape the narrative and determine the trajectory of the 2024 political landscape.
Joe Biden is losing to Trump. And his bet — that Trump is so toxic he can’t win — is likely to fail. The numbers are against him.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 5, 2024