Race for the presidency Unprecedented US election year: What can be dangerous for Biden and Trump

The USA is heading for a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2024 election year. The Democrat and the Republican each have their own problems to contend with. They share one thing.

The United States is facing an unprecedented election year. Everything points to a new edition of the election campaign between incumbent President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, who wanted to undo his defeat three years ago with violence and brought the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis with the unprecedented storming of the US Capitol by his supporters brought. So there is a lot at stake.

Trump could again try to question the integrity of the election, incite his base and create chaos around the vote. Above all, he has to face four criminal trials in the election year, including because of his campaign against the 2020 election results. The fact that an ex-president and presidential candidate has to take a seat in the dock has never happened before in the USA. And whether Trump is convicted or acquitted, both will test the country’s constitutional system in unprecedented ways.

Trump and Biden both face unique challenges in the coming months. They share one. An overview:

The challenges for Joe Biden

The world situation

Biden is dealing with multiple international crises. Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza could become a larger conflict in the region: attacks by Iran-backed groups against US forces in the Middle East have increased. The Democrat is likely to try with all his might to prevent America from being drawn into a war. Given the high number of civilian casualties among Palestinians, Biden’s rigorous support for Israel is also met with great criticism from parts of the US population. This could alienate voters in the long term. Russia’s war against Ukraine is also dividing the USA: support for the previously immense US aid is dwindling. It is therefore difficult for Biden to continue his course of unrestricted support for Kiev, especially because there is no end in sight.

The economy

With the end of the corona crisis and the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices rose in the USA. In the summer of 2022, inflation in the world’s largest economy reached a 40-year high of more than nine percent. The inflation rate has fallen significantly since then. But that means that the high prices will continue to rise moderately. Biden has only very limited responsibility for high consumer prices and things are also looking good on the job market. But when people in the USA can afford less and less for their money, they usually blame the current president. Added to this is the Fed’s fight against inflation with the drastic increase in the key interest rate. The interest rates on loans have gone through the roof.

The age

Biden moved into the White House as the oldest president ever. He is now 81 years old, he would be 82 at the start of a second term and 86 at the end of his presidency. The most powerful man in the world regularly gets confused during appearances, searches for words, mixes up numbers, sometimes mixes up places and sometimes people. The frequent gaffes provide Republicans with constant fodder to publicly question his mental fitness for the highest office in the United States. But enthusiasm for his re-election campaign has also been curbed within his own party for this reason.

The son

Hunter Biden has been making headlines for a long time: with years of alcohol addiction, drug addiction and shady deals. There are now two charges against the 53-year-old – for weapons law violations and for tax offenses. During the course of the investigation, very delicate details came to light. The public prosecutor’s office lists expenses for drugs, strippers and luxury hotels. Criminal charges against the son of a sitting US president are highly unusual, if not unprecedented. During the election campaign, it provides the Republicans with a lot of material for political attacks. The son’s opaque dealings have also landed Joe Biden under investigation in the House of Representatives for possible impeachment proceedings. This has no chance of success, but it also provides a lot of attack surface.

The challenges for Donald Trump

The processes

Trump is facing four criminal charges in the middle of the election campaign – two of them related to his attempts to retroactively overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The charges and even a possible prison sentence do not prevent Trump from running for the highest office in the state – and it is also unclear when the verdicts will be handed down. But many processes begin in the election year. Not only are they likely to tie up the Republicans’ time, they are also likely to stir up a lot of unpleasant dust. In addition, there are civil lawsuits that can cost Trump a lot of money and reputation.

The age

Old age is actually a constant issue with Biden. But Trump is no longer the youngest either. If the 77-year-old were to be re-elected again, at 78 years and seven months, he would be the oldest president to ever move into the White House. And the Republican also seems a bit confused at times: he recently made Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban the Turkish head of state. The Republican often turns Biden into the former US President Barack Obama. However, Trump is never at a loss for an excuse – and simply claims that he is deliberately confusing the two Democrats.

The Supreme Court

Trump opponents in various US states are trying to remove Trump’s name from ballot papers for the presidential election. They argue with a constitutional amendment that excludes people from elections who have incited an “insurrection.” They have failed in numerous courts. But shortly before Christmas, the Colorado state Supreme Court ruled that Trump was unfit to be president because of his role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The last word has not been said. The case is likely to end up in the US Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court accepts it, the further course of the election will be in the hands of the court.

The competitors

It is currently a foregone conclusion that Trump will win his party’s candidacy. In polls he seems to be in the lead. His only serious opponent so far, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has recently lost significantly in popularity. Trump’s former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is gaining approval in surveys. Yes, the gap to Trump is huge at around 50 percentage points. But anything is possible in the election campaign. And the candidate will not be finally chosen until the summer.