Square one: on the US presidential election 2024 as a Biden-Trump rematch

Both Republicans and Democrats need alternative voices to articulate their vision

With the exit of Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina, from the U.S. Republican nomination race for the 2024 presidential election, the country is now set to witness a rematch of the 2020 contest between the incumbent, President Joe Biden, and his challenger, former President Donald Trump. It is hardly a surprise that the contest has reverted to this match-up yet again, given that they are the only two leaders who have made the cut as viable candidates for their respective parties over the many months on the campaign trail. On the Republican side, Ms. Haley likely reflected the hopes of some among those who stood for the conservative values of the Republican Party mainstream, which is facing an unprecedented challenge from Mr. Trump and his nativist-populist style of politics. Nevertheless, voters at the primaries and caucuses clearly leaned towards Mr. Trump, perhaps under the assumption that he had left behind, at the end of his term in the Oval Office, an unfinished political agenda to Make America Great Again. On the Democratic side, at 81 years of age, it is Mr. Biden’s ability to yet again live up to the rigors of being in office that remains a question mark, even among the party faithful. Yet more worrying from the perspective of the long-term prospects of the Democratic Party is the fact is that there has been no other leader from among their ranks with the national stature and sufficient charisma to navigate the party through an election in which they are challenged by the likes of Mr. Trump.

While polls have given Mr. Trump a robust lead over Mr. Biden, at this stage in the election cycle, the outcome of the political clash between the two men will depend on factors such as voter turnout, the preferences of independent voters in swing States, and the impact that the many legal cases against Mr. Trump could have on his ability to campaign and persuade voters that he is a victim of a conspiracy by the Democrats. The absence of alternative leadership in both parties beyond the two current contestants suggests that politics in America has not moved past pre-existing conditions of partisan deadlock, even though it is abundantly clear that business-as-usual politics does not serve the U.S.’s national interest. The best that the country could hope for in the next election cycle, perhaps, is for alternative voices within both parties to articulate a new vision undergirding the American Dream, a brand of leadership that embraces the new paradigm of national and global politics today.
(The Hindu)

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