The Emerging Paradoxes of Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the Post-Presidential Rerun of the 2016 White House Campaign
Even as President Joe Biden and ex-President Donald Trump move toward a rerun of the most turbulent White House race in modern history, many voters are pining for a break from the past – and the present.
A new CNN/SSRS poll shows that 6 in 10 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents want their party to nominate someone other than Trump in 2024. There is a slice of the other side hoping for a nominee other than Biden.
It is early. In a volatile age, polls and pre-race predictions in the lead up to election day don’t count for much.
The race is on, no matter what the voters think. Early perceptions of the contenders’ strengths are important since they shape the decisions of potential rivals and donors in the early money chase. Biden is giving every sign that he will run for president, suggesting that he will let the country know early on in the new year, despite Trump already being a declared candidate.
Biden doesn’t have the confidence of his party. His previous twopresidential campaigns flopped early and he was in disarray until he had a victory in the South Carolina primary. Heading into the midterms, the conventional wisdom was that Biden’s low approval ratings and raging inflation would deal him a devastating blow. Even if the White House’s relief did obscure the liability it will face from a radical GOP-controlled House with investigative powers, the Republicans never came and the Democrats added a seat to their narrow Senate majority.
One of the emerging paradoxes is revealed by the poll. Even though they are the most powerful figures in their parties, both Biden and Trump seem to be vulnerable at the beginning of the two-year campaign and could face problems from a shifting political environment, outside factors or age.
Another campaign will test whether there’s been any erosion in Trump’s base. But even if his mythical connection to those voters might not be enough to win him the presidency, it could still carry him to his third straight nomination. The Republican lawmakers who do not repudiate Trump over comments like his call to end the Constitution suggest that they still have support from his supporters at home. The same can be said for House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who has found ways not to condemn Trump’s recent associations with extremists in his desperate bid to win the speaker’s gavel next month.
Even as polls show that most Democrats want someone from a new generation, Mr. Biden demonstrated to his supporters that he still has the ability to lead them to victory in 2024 by giving the speech. After a few stumbles at the beginning, thepresident turned energetic and combative and even showed flashes of humor and effective off-the-cuff retorts to GOP hecklers.
The president finishes the year in better shape than Trump, and appears to have been able to Stabilize his slump. In the summer of 2012 only 25% of Democrat aligned voters wanted him to be their nominee. Now that figure is 40%. According to 75% of those who want someone else, they do not have one particular person in mind, bolstering the advantage a sitting president usually has against a primary challenger.
Republican politics may, or may not, be at a moment of transition. How things shake out in the next few months will be critical to Trump’s prospects. More and more Republicans are saying it’s time to move on after the failure of many of the ex president’s hand-picked candidates.
And Trump’s dinner with extremists with a record of antisemitism like White supremacist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago is bolstering their arguments that his general election viability is damaged beyond repair. Trump’s so-far lackluster campaign, which looks like it was declared to make it easier for him to portray criminal probes into his conduct as persecution, isn’t convincing anyone so far.
And yet, the former president’s allies, like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Jim Jordan of Ohio, will be hugely influential in the new GOP House majority. Paradoxically, the failure of Republicans to do better in November means that a thinner majority will be easier for extremists to manipulate as they seek to turn Republican control of half of the Capitol into a weapon to damage Biden and help Trump in 2024.
It was the lowest point in three CNN polls on the topic this year and it will open up an anti- Trump candidate for GOP hopefuls. There is a chance that another field could disrupt the opposition to the ex-president.
A State of the Union with a Better America: Sarah Huckabee and the U.S. Senator-Electorate Correspondence
Huckabee gave a fiery speech Tuesday evening in response to the State of the Union address by Biden, drawing a sharp contrast with him as she criticized the president.
McCarthy called Sanders “a servant-leader of true determination and conviction,” in a statement and said that she will share a “bold vision for a better America on Tuesday. President Biden should listen carefully.
After the president highlighted his priorities and agenda to the nation in his speech, he gave a major national platform to speak to the country and counter Biden.
Sanders gained national prominence as White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, serving as a staunch defender of the then-President and his policies, and frequently clashing with national reporters.
She made history last year as the first woman elected as governor of Arkansas. Her father, Republican Mike Huckabee, served as governor of the state from 1996 to 2007.
Republicans in control of the House of Representatives are using their power to launch oversight investigations against the Biden administration, in part because of the State of the Union taking place with them.
“In Washington, under the leadership of Senate Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, we will hold the Biden administration accountable,” Sanders said in a nod to the new political order in the nation’s capital.
“During my two and a half years at the White House, I traveled on every foreign trip with the president,” she said, saying that she “will never forget” a trip that took place on December 25, 2018.
A State of the Union Address for the U.S. Senate During the November 11 War-torn Reionization Collider
Hundreds of troops who had been fighting against ISIS gathered in a dining hall to celebrate Christmas after landing in the war-torn part of western Iraq.
“They had absolutely no idea that the president and first lady were about to walk into that room,” she said, saying that when that happened, “the room erupted. Men and women from every race, religion, and region, every political party, every demographic you can imagine started chanting in perfect unison over and over and over again, “USA, USA, USA.”
A flurry of executive orders were signed by the new governor, one of which was against critical race theory and the other prohibiting the use of the term Latinx in official state documents.
McConnell said that Huckabee is the youngest governor in the nation and that she is a strong advocate for conservative principles that will help bring our country back to life.
President Biden made a plea for unity in his second State of the Union address, but vowed not to back off from his economic agenda and did not offer any new ideas.
Mr. Biden still did not shy from the fight. He loves jabbing Republicans even when he’s promoting bipartisanship. He noted that many Republicans voted against the package, yet still wanted money from it for their districts.
Marty Walsh, the labor secretary who was supposed to stay away in case of a catastrophe at the Capitol, wasn’t in the chamber and is thought to be stepping down soon.
A Primer on the State of the Union: President Joe Biden’s Legacy, His Work, and his Role in the Democrat Party
In his speech, Mr. Biden called on Congress to extend a new $35 price cap on insulin for Medicare beneficiaries to all Americans; to make premium savings on Affordable Care Act health plans permanent; to impose a minimum tax on billionaires; and to quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks.
As important as his program is, the president also had to make sure it was a smooth performance for his largest television audience of the year. If he seeks re-election, he would be asking voters to entrust the White House to him until he is 86. Polls show that even many Democrats are concerned about his age and eager to see a younger generation rise to leadership of the party.
Ted Cruz said in an interview with CNN that he wasn’t good enough to be a good president. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union used the line, “At 80, he’s the oldest president in American history.”
President Joe Biden will become the oldest US president ever when he takes his annual physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday.
That is leading to a focus on events that try to play up the president’s vitality, while trying to strike a balance in the schedule of a man who tends to make more blunders when tired.
It also underscored the importance of a State of the Union address advisers viewed as Biden at his best, from cadence and delivery to his off-script sparring with Republicans in the House chamber. The speech served as a prime-time moment, in front of tens of millions of viewers, to lay out for the country the scale of his accomplishments and vision for the path ahead.
And, at least implicitly, it also represented a window into why his age shouldn’t be viewed as detriment to his efforts to lead the country down that path.
One group was watching: quietly anxious Democratic officials. More than a dozen of acknowledged after the fact it was a night that either put to rest or went a long way in assuaging their lingering concerns about the party’s leader.
The Democrats said that Biden spoke about finishing the job roughly a dozen times.
They are looking for low impact ways to maximize keeping him in the public eye, even though advisers say he would keep to the standard of not starting daily campaigning for at least a year. It would track and build on the oft-criticized formula that Biden used in the lead up to the midterms, where he focused on smaller crowds and had a less aggressive approach.
The advisers joked that they didn’t hear much about the strategy after Election Day last year, when the Democrats did a great job.
Where Are All the News? The Case of J. Biden to the Antennae Democratic Mayors he Met at the White House
If he is to be successful in his campaign, they would like him to keep up the kind of news-making appearances he has been doing in and around Washington.
Top surrogates deployed at a regular clip would include a roster populated by a younger generation of politicians, people familiar with the matter say, even as one pointed out that given Biden’s age, that’s to some degree an inevitability.
An adviser to Biden said that it is a part of who he is, as far as his record of legislative accomplishments in the last two years, as well as his connection with people.
The adviser went on to spell out a theory of the case Biden’s team believes will outweigh any concerns, no matter how persistent they appear in public polling.
“At the end of the day, people are going to say, ‘Who’s on my side?’” The adviser said something. Who is fighting for me? Who is making a material difference in my life?
That’s how Mitch Landrieu, the White House infrastructure coordinator, made the case to the antsy Democratic mayors he joined for a political meeting in January at a hotel a few blocks from the White House.
According to two people in the room, the mayors were looking around unfittingly. They’d been thinking about Biden’s age themselves, constantly hearing doubts he could or would run constantly from back home. They were startled to hear it said out loud by a White House official.
“But,” Landrieu said, as he started to tick through stats around Covid-19 shots, jobs created, unemployment rates, “there are a whole lot more important numbers out there.”
Contingency plans for the presidential campaign: Why did Biden lose his job before he ran for a second term? Some political experts worry about a young, progressive president
Voters constantly remind Biden of his age in focus groups. Many veer toward assuming he must be ineffective or being puppeteered: “‘brain dead,’ ‘mush’ – ‘dementia’ is a word that comes up all the time,” said one person who observed multiple focus group sessions during campaigns last year.
More than a dozen Dem officials told CNN that they are worried that Donald Trump could make a show that is more energetic if he becomes the GOP nominee, while another younger Republican who is facing calls for new leadership may make a show of seeming more energetic. A number of Democratic figures are questioning the president’s ability to keep up with his travel schedule.
According to people familiar with the plans, a handful of ambitious Democrats have quietly prepared little contingency plans in case Biden makes a decision not to run. Those plans span everything from thinking through top donors to eyeing potential core campaign staff, should Biden reassess his ability to serve another four years or has an unexpected health problem, sparking a short fuse primary.
And they say these doubts are just the latest way of underestimating the president, pointing out that age concerns also dogged his 2020 campaign – even though some of those same advisers confided to others at the time that they believed his age was his biggest liability when he was four years younger.
Other Democratic operatives preparing for a campaign worry about letting suspicions fester, comparing them to the conspiracies about hidden conditions that trailed Hillary Clinton throughout 2016.
The president’s foes are talking about it. The right-wing media coverage of the classified documents found in Biden’s former office and garage made him out to be either senile or at the center of a conspiracy theory, because he hadn’t remembered what happened to the documents.
“They attacked him over age before he beat them in 2020. Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the White House, said that they attacked him over age as he built the best record in modern history. They did the same thing before he beat them. I don’t know what they’re doing. The trend is not good for them. Maybe they forgot?”
Biden advisers argue that most of the people making those kinds of comments are partisan Republicans, and that this is just another instance of a hyperpolarization in politics. They point to Biden’s previous physicals and assessments by outside experts who say that he has no physical or mental competence issues at all.
The White House doctor brought in a team of experts to assess Biden’s walking ability during his last physical in 2021, because of the increased stiffness to his walk that has appeared after he has been in office. They concluded it was the result of normal “wear and tear” of his spine.
He can have less vigorous levels of his energy at public events. They think that Biden won’t green light another run if he doesn’t think he could do it, and they won’t support one either.
Those words, and an overall emphasis on Biden as an embodiment of reassuring routine and normalcy, pop up repeatedly among aides who are starting to look ahead.
In March of 2020, when Biden was endorsed by Harris, Booker and Michigan Gov., they were quietly reframing his position as a bridge to the next generation.
Many assumed that means a four-year bridge, an implicit one term promise that acknowledged his age. Advisers say he had previously rejected a one-term pledge.
Biden advisers also argue that the president’s persona as an elder statesman could help Democrats hold onto voters who see the party as changing too quickly and veering too far left.
Despite Biden being slower physically, he still has a lot of aides, administration officials, and members of Congress who have spent time with him tell CNN that he is thorough and demanding in his meetings.
“There’s a confidence that comes from knowing what you’re doing,” Ted Kaufman, one of Biden’s closest friends and advisers since his first campaign, told CNN late last year.
A 20-Year-Old Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester Representative Reveals Ronald Biden on a Pushing Day in Bali, Indonesia
He often gets stuck on, or mispronounces, names on his teleprompter, but that’s far more connected to a convergence of wanting to get the name correct while not encountering a block tied to the childhood stutter he worked intensively and successfully to overcome, but still surfaces in certain moments.
They say he’s the one constantly adding to his schedule, pushing for photo lines with local politicians and extra time to greet crowds after his events, or making meetings run over by peppering policy aides with questions.
“The energy is higher now than maybe when I first met him, and I really believe that that’s inspired by the work,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who as a Delaware Democrat has known and worked with Biden much of her life.
There is perhaps no better window into the public perception versus private reality advisers try to convey than a 15-hour stretch in Bali, Indonesia, at the Group of 20 meeting last November.
Aides said Biden didn’t skip the gala because he was tired, though they never explained further. The truth was that he wanted to focus on preparing for his granddaughters wedding that weekend at the White House rather than having more generic conversations with other people. He was ready, however, when a crisis moment arrived, they said. And he drove the response.
He was sitting next to Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, and the national security adviser trying to get the attention of the international community.
Biden, wearing khakis and a gray T-shirt from a Delaware-based tractor and garden supply center, was on the phone with the Polish president over the missile that had landed in Polish territory and killed two people, raising the possibility that Russia’s unrelenting attacks on Ukraine had finally spilled into a NATO ally.
Constant communication with the military leadership was done by phone with the NATO secretary general. Aides discussed an emergency call with G7 and NATO leaders. Biden said that wasn’t enough.
An hour later, Biden himself walked the 10 leaders who came to the Grand Hyatt through early intelligence that the missile likely was not of Russian origin. Dramatic escalaters didn’t last as long as feared. Thirty minutes later, Biden was walking through mangrove trees telling French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders stories from his Senate days.
They quickly shoot down what they see as sneering insinuations, like when reporters ask why the president has a light public schedule on the days back from overseas trips – though that has been standard practice for multiple recent presidents, including Obama. Even though Biden rarely appeared at more than a few events each week through the fall, their insistence that his travel schedule proves how robust his presence is shows how strong he is on the road.
Aides laugh at how often his reaction to seeing news mentions of his age is to do a little jog in or out of his next public event. Friends say that he makes sarcastic references to his age even as he proudly speaks about all he has accomplished.
Three weeks ago, he pretended to lose his balance in the State Dining Room as he pretended to pose for a photo with the Golden State Warriors, making fun of the crowd.
“I wanted to get up there and actually give him an arm and help him up, but I didn’t know if I’d get in trouble for that, so I just kinda stood back,” star forward Draymond Green told CNN afterward. “To see him in that physical condition at his age, to get up and down like that, was absolutely incredible.”
The Last Thirty Years of the First Donald Trump White House: A New Look at Mayor Pureval’s In-Circle Conversation
A visit from the president to Cincinnati last month had the mayor thinking that Biden has more than enough left in the tank.
Pureval watched a man laugh hard at the mayor’s joke about the bipartisan infrastructure money helping to rebuild the local bridge with a four letter word that starts with F.
They went to the barbecue spot after the fist bumps. There was a way the president flashed the hand sign when a young black man mentioned that he was a member.
“When you’re with him, age was never really on my mind. What was on my mind was the president provided the single biggest grant in our nation’s history to our bridge,” Pureval said.
If Donald Trump is re-elected, he will turn 81 and you can watch the final days of the first Trump White House from this perspective. Insider found that over 25% of the Congress was over 70 last year, up from 8% in 2002. Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican and Iowa’s senior senator, won re-election at age 89 last fall. Two of the most powerful and defining congressional leaders of most of our lives — Mitch McConnell and Ms. Pelosi — are in their 80s, and until the recent hockey line change in House leadership, much of the Democratic congressional leadership was over 70. The Treasury secretary is 76. Two Supreme Court justices are in their 70s; in the past decade, death changed the ideological balance of the court.