Who will win the White House in 2024? It's clear Americans don't want Trump or Biden.
Both Biden and Trump are badly damaged brands. Voters say they want a fresh start. Both parties should take the (strong) hint and move along.
If it wasn’t already known to the nation’s two major political parties, the latest USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll made it crystal clear: The market demand for two new presidential candidates is at a fever pitch. If one party responds to the market and the other doesn’t, expect it to win the White House in 2024.
The market demand is high: "65% of registered voters, including half of Democrats, don't want President Biden to run for another term. And 68% of voters, including a third of Republicans, don't want former President Trump to run again,” according to a USA TODAY news story.
Both parties should take the (more than strong) hint and look elsewhere vs. recreating a 2020 rematch.
Both Biden and Trump are badly damaged brands. The current president has a job approval in the 30s as the country grapples with massive inflation, and the former president disgraced himself on Jan. 6, 2021. Most Americans would rather pick two random names out of the Peoria phone book to run for president than listen to two these two grandpas squabble for two straight years.
Two presidents tied to each other
But both men seem to think they are tethered to one another, forced to run if the other one does. Biden thinks he’s the only Democrat who can beat Trump, and Trump maintains the delusion that he beat Biden and now must do it again. While America struggles against a rematch between them like the unfortunate cat forever pursued by Pepe Le Pew, neither of these headstrong guys seems to have gotten the memo. Makes you wonder how in tune they are with the American people if they can’t divine this most obvious and basic of political desires.
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A new GOP contender has emerged
Both must be hearing the footsteps in their own party. The USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll was the clearest sign yet that Republicans are increasingly uncomfortable with giving Trump a third crack at the White House. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was within single digits of Trump (down nine to Trump, 43-34), his best national horserace showing yet. And that follows recent polls from Michigan and New Hampshire where DeSantis was tied with Trump.
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I don’t know if DeSantis is destined to supplant Trump, but he has shown incredible instincts and acumen necessary to capture a GOP primary voter’s heart these days. He has all the right enemies and none of the baggage of having attempted to subvert the U.S. Constitution.
The case against Trump
Republicans are right to be worried. Trump lost the popular vote in two straight elections, and that was before he disgraced himself and his office in spectacular fashion. Is there any reason to think he’d do better this time? Any Republican – even those who voted for Trump twice, knocked on doors for him and sent a contribution – would be forgiven for looking elsewhere, given how mortified most conservatives are at what Biden and the Democrats are doing to the country.
The case against Biden
For Biden, the intra-party dissatisfaction is even more stark. He is the sitting president, after all, yet three-quarters of his own party in CNN polling released last week say he shouldn’t run again. In a horse race survey out of New Hampshire, Biden trailed his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (that ought to make the next Cabinet meeting more interesting).
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And yet, we might be stuck with them
But despite the broad dissatisfaction both men face from various parts of the electorate, both retain enormous power to again achieve their party’s nominations. Both are the frontrunners, in fact, despite the cracks in their support. So the thing that most voters don’t want – a 2020 rematch – remains the most likely thing to happen.
Which brings me back to the point: if either political party can muster a gold watch and send their resident septuagenarian on his way, it would give them an enormous advantage if the other fails. Listen to the market, parties! The people want new flavors.
Scott Jennings is a Republican adviser, CNN political contributor and partner at RunSwitch Public Relations. He can be reached at Scott@RunSwitchPR.com or on Twitter: @ScottJenningsKY.