Will the 2024 US presidential election be a Biden-Trump rematch?
Mr Biden, already the oldest president in American history, would be 86 by the end of a second term.
The 2024 United States presidential race is shaping up to be a rematch of the 2020 election between current President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, with both appearing to be frontrunners in their respective parties.
This comes after the 80-year-old Mr Biden, already the oldest president in American history, announced on Tuesday (Apr 25) that he is running for re-election next year.
Meanwhile, Trump, despite being the first sitting or former US president to be criminally indicted, launched his bid last November to regain the presidency. The 76-year-old is the overwhelming favourite for the Republican nomination.
“There are a lot of Americans who maybe aren't too jazzed up about Joe Biden, especially considering his age,” said Mr John Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
“But are they really going to go back over to Donald Trump? That's gonna be the key question in this election.”
STANDING UP FOR DEMOCRACY
Mr Biden called the fight for democracy a key motivation for his bid to hold onto the White House.
“Every generation has a moment where they have had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours,” he wrote on Twitter, accompanying a three-minute announcement video.
The veteran Democrat is expected to face constant and fierce scrutiny over his age, said observers. He would be 86 by the end of a second term.
Some critics are unsure why Mr Biden, who called himself a bridge to future Democratic leaders during his 2020 campaign, is not ready to hand over the reins just yet.
“Joe Biden is not popular, but the Republicans are sort of seen as extreme, at least Donald Trump's faction of the Republican Party,” Mr Coleman, a political cartographer, told CNA’s Asia First on Wednesday.
A recent poll showed that Mr Biden's public approval fell to 39 per cent this month, nearing the lowest level of his presidency, as the US economy showed signs of losing steam.
However, Professor Gordon Flake, founding chief executive officer of the Perth USAsia Centre at The University of Western Australia, said that is “kind of par for the course for presidents” at this stage of their presidency.
“Ultimately, elections are about choices. They're really not about approval ratings,” he added.
BIDEN’S EFFECTIVE FIRST TWO YEARS IN CHARGE
Prof Flake noted that Mr Biden has had a “very effective” first two years in charge, defying initial expectations, but things are slower now after the GOP regained control of the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
The Biden administration has also restored the US’ commitment to alliances and international standards.
“So other than declared opponents of the United States, I dare say that were Biden and Trump to have an election globally, it would be a hands down overwhelming victory for President Biden,” Prof Flake told CNA’s Asia Tonight on Tuesday.
However, he stressed that Americans do not care about foreign policy, unless they see it as directly impacting them.
“Americans look at basic kitchen table issues, what they call it, domestic economic issues. Do they think they're better off?” he added.
“Ultimately still, rather than foreign policy, they're going to be focused on a choice between, in this case, it looks likely to be President Biden and former president Donald Trump.”
Prof Flake said the Biden-Trump sequel will be framed as a contest between democracy and authoritarianism at home.
“(Biden’s) counting on Americans that are afraid of Trump. He's counting on Americans that are afraid of the Republican party that have been rolling back rights …
“As of right now, it seems that the former president Donald Trump has done little to increase the size of his base, which has been slowly shrinking, and president Biden seems to be holding onto his.”
MOST BORING PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY SEASON EVER?
Mr Biden is a “very strong retail politician” and will be no pushover in his re-election bid, Mr Coleman pointed out.
“I think he does best when he speaks to empathy, when he talks about his family struggles.”
After a series of big legislative wins and momentous foreign policy struggles in his first two years in office, Mr Biden has no real challenger from within the Democratic Party.
“I think what helps Joe Biden is the Democrats had a decently good midterm. So I think there's a certain sense of satisfaction with Biden despite his age,” said Mr Coleman.
“Depending on how Donald Trump does on the Republican side, where he's a decent favourite as a non-incumbent, this primary season coming up could be one of the more boring primary seasons in American politics.”