Joe Biden appears to have set his sights on an almost inevitable rematch with Donald Trump for the White House in November’s election, after the former president’s decisive win in the New Hampshire primary, on his sprint to the Republican nomination.
Biden’s campaign believes the presidential election has officially begun, Politico reported, with Trump’s victory over Nikki Haley in New Hampshire on Tuesday officially kicking off what the outlet described as “the longest and most grueling general election campaign in modern American political history”.
It’s a dynamic that underscores the unusual nature of the 2024 campaign. Usually, the results from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have marked just the beginning of the nominating contest, with a long slog of an intra-party fight into the spring.
In 2024, Trump’s victories in both have affirmed him stranglehold on the GOP nomination. Nikki Haley, the last remaining Republican rival in the race, has signaled she will stay in the race at least through the 24 February primary in South Carolina, her home state. She trails Trump by 30 points in the polls there.
Biden’s campaign is shifting into general election mode, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. Those preparations include a change in leadership structure. The Democratic US president announced on Tuesday that two top White House aides – Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Mike Donilon – will take over leadership of his campaign.
The campaign also released a new line of merchandise with the slogan “Together, we will defeat Donald Trump. Again” playing off Trump’s signature Make America Great Again theme.
As Trump gave a winding and unhinged victory speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday, complete with lies that he won New Hampshire in the 2016 and 2020 elections when, in fact, he was beaten by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, respectively, a Biden aide texted a Politico reporter: “That’s the guy we will beat.”
The Biden campaign has also begun more aggressively attacking Trump, 77, over his verbal slips, using X, formerly Twitter, to point out the former president’s frequent non-sensical comments. Those efforts are a kind of counterpunch to attacks from Trump and other Republicans that Biden, 81, is too old to serve another term.
Both Biden and Trump have significant obstacles to winning and the race is expected to be close. Biden narrowly defeated Trump by just a combined 44,000 votes in 2020 in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin. Nearly 60% of Americans said in a recent Decision Desk HQ poll they aren’t excited about the possibility of another rematch between Trump and Biden.
Biden has already begun calling out Trump in public speeches, including a major address on 6 January in which he described the grave threat the former president presents to American democracy. “Donald Trump’s campaign is about him – not America, not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future,” Biden said in the speech. “Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past. It’s what he’s promising for the future.”