Biden and Trump Seek Breakthrough in Stalemate as 2024 Debate Approaches

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When President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump meet on the debate stage in 2024, both men will be seeking a breakthrough in a race that has been deadlocked for months. The two candidates are extremely familiar and broadly unpopular, and their views appear to be entrenched in the electorate.

Biden has poured millions of dollars into campaign ads attacking Trump in battleground states, but the polls have barely budged. Trump was forced to take a four-day break from the campaign trail due to a New York hush money trial that resulted in felony convictions, but his support has remained stagnant. Can the debates break the stalemate?

The stakes are higher for Biden, who is asking for the opportunity to remain in the White House and possess the nuclear launch codes past his 86th birthday. He needs to alleviate concerns about his age and gain separation from Trump, whom he increasingly brands as a convicted criminal.

Biden and his closest aides believe that the righteousness of their cause and Trump’s alleged threat to democracy will deliver a second term. They point to the midterm elections, where they claim that democracy and “ultra-MAGA” were the focus, and that Trump was defeated in 2020 despite his own pollsters telling him that talking about “the soul of the nation” was “nutty.”

However, few other Democrats outside Biden’s inner circle accept this theory. Biden is running behind, and sometimes well behind, Democratic Senate candidates in several key states. If the election were held today, Democrats would likely lose.

The debate schedule, which includes two encounters instead of the recommended three, also carries risks for Biden. Democratic operatives are already questioning his reelection strategy, and a few have even expressed doubt that he should have run for a second term. If Biden stumbles, all this talk will intensify, and the panic could set in before he is the party’s official nominee.

Both Biden and Trump face an uphill battle in terms of changing how they are perceived by the public. Trump was a celebrity before entering national politics, while Biden has been a politician for over 50 years. When pollsters asked respondents to sum up Biden in a single word, even Democrats said “old.”

W. James Antle III
W. James Antle III
Executive Editor. He was previously politics editor of the Washington Examiner, managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative.

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