A year away from Election Day 2024, former President Donald Trump is set to testify in a civil fraud trial and separately faces more than 90 criminal charges, setting up the possibility that a convicted felon tops the Republican ticket next November.
But it’s President Joe Biden’s political prospects that are plunging.
In another extraordinary twist to a 2024 campaign season that is more notable for court hearings than treks through early voting states, Trump is expected to be called to the witness stand in New York on Monday. This is hardly typical activity during a post-presidency. But Trump was, after all, the most unconventional president.
Biden, meanwhile, is absorbing brutal new polls showing him losing to GOP front-runner Trump in multiple key swing states. The numbers will likely ignite panic among Democrats and renew doubts among Americans that the soon-to-be-81-year-old is up to a full second term. If the New York Times/Siena College survey is borne out in 2024, there would be no electoral path to victory for Biden. And an increasingly authoritarian Trump – who is promising a second term of “retribution” – could pull off a White House comeback in spite of sparking a Capitol insurrection with his false claims of electoral fraud in 2020.
“I was concerned before these polls, and I’m concerned now,” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“These presidential races over the last couple of terms have been very tight. No one is going to have a runaway election here. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, concentration, resources. And so we have our work cut out for us.”
The coinciding crises facing both Trump and Biden belie the fact that, for all their deficiencies, neither is yet to face a serious challenger from within their parties as they seek the nomination.
Biden’s position is weakening as he tackles cascading global threats such as the war in the Middle East, sheds support over his handling of the economy and sees cracks in the multiracial coalition that first elected him. It also reflects a nation that is divided and disconsolate, and groping for the elusive normality that the president promised three years ago after the pandemic and the historic turbulence of the Trump administration.
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