Ever since his loss in the 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump has teased the possibility of him running once more for the Presidency in 2024. But if he does run, what are his chances of becoming the Second US President ever to serve two non-consecutive terms?
Trump’s Popularity and Polls
Since the start of his presidency, Biden’s approval rating has steadily declined to even lower than Trump’s in the correlating period. In 2024, if Biden were to run again, it’s unlikely any serious Democratic candidate would attempt to run against the sitting President. This could be a serious problem for the Democratic party, as most left-wing voters have indicated they would rather have a different candidate than the almost 80-year-old President. If the Democrats were to face this internal division during the election, Trump might take advantage of the internal conflict to secure a victory. Trump’s presence in the public eye should also be accounted for: despite having left office nearly 2 years ago, the former President remains at the forefront of American politics as he continues to reach the headlines.
On the other hand, the GOP (Republicans) are not entirely unanimous themselves: following the recent midterms, Liz Cheney has also hinted she would run in the 2024 elections. If this were the case, Republican voters would have to choose between backing Trump again for re-election, or supporting Cheney for a better chance at getting Biden out of the oval office.
FBI Raid on Trump’s Home
On August 8th, FBI agents raided Trump’s Florida Home Mar-a-Lago, claiming the former President had kept 15 boxes of Presidential records and documents, a violation of the 1978 Presidential Records Act. In previous years, Presidents would often keep documents from their presidency for themselves to use when writing memoirs or as keepsakes. However, the 1978 PRA was passed in order to end this practice after Nixon attempted to destroy several incriminating documents from his tenure.
While the FBI raid theoretically would have diminished support for Trump, in practice it appears to have done the exact opposite: many Republicans have rallied behind Trump, accusing the FBI of another witch-hunt to target the former President, similar to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Election. The FBI raid has been widely condemned and, despite its true motives, many Americans view it as a political tactic, conflicting with the Department of Justice’s responsibility to remain fair and impartial. As a result, this seeming injustice against Trump may just be what he needed to kick-start his presidential campaign, providing him with ammunition against his opponents.
Afghanistan & Ukraine
During Trump’s tenure, tensions between America and North Korea rose significantly as the two countries traded insults, and N.K. began testing nuclear missiles as a threat to the West. However, later in his presidency, Trump managed to de-escalate the situation when he met with Kim Jong Un in June 2019 in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. After becoming the first US President to step on North Korean soil, the two entered talks about nuclear disarmament, and though the talks were not entirely successful, by the end of Trump’s presidency, the tensions had largely dissipated.
Comparatively, Biden has been nowhere near as successful in dealing with international relations. In April 2021, Biden announced the US would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Many viewed this decision as humiliating and a disaster for the American military, as the Taliban took control of the country almost immediately once US forces had left, and making the past two decades of fighting and $2 trillion spent all for nothing. Not only that, but the rushed withdrawal meant that $7 billion of military equipment was left behind for the Taliban to take. It could be argued that Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine this past year was largely due to Biden’s perceived weakness in this withdrawal. America’s failure to provide sufficient military support has also led to criticism of the Biden administration. As many have speculated, if Trump were to be re-elected, his stance on Russian (and also Chinese) aggression would likely be much harsher than that of the current government.
Social & Economic Issues
In Trump’s final year in office, the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd impacted his image significantly. Yet his defeat in 2020 and Biden’s Presidency has not brought about the positive turnabout that many Americans had hoped for. Over the past six months, the cost of living has risen significantly throughout the world, as gas and oil prices continue to skyrocket. Younger generations have struggled to become independent as a result, with housing and basic commodities becoming increasingly expensive because of inflation. Biden’s handling of both Afghanistan and Ukraine has led to harsh criticism from both left and right-wing members of the public, for both lack of humanitarian aid as well as weakness in the face of tyranny. The incredibly controversial overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court has also left a mark on the Biden administration. All of these factors could hold a huge weight in the 2024 election, as Biden’s public image also continues to deteriorate over numerous “gaffs”.
Last week, Trump posted a campaign-style video on Truth Social with the slogan “The Best is Yet to Come”. The video addresses America’s current economic crisis as well as its failure in both Ukraine and Afghanistan and is perhaps Trump’s most obvious hint yet that he will run for re-election. If Trump and Biden did go head to head in 2024, Trump may use this social and economic unrest as leverage, giving him a fighting chance. But it remains unclear if Trump will be able to deliver on his initial promise to “Make America Great Again” (again).