President Joe Biden is gearing up for an anticipated rematch against former President Donald Trump following this week’s New Hampshire primaries.
While the general election is still ten months away, Biden’s unofficial write-in victory in New Hampshire solidified his path to securing the Democratic nomination.
Biden sets sights on Trump rematch, underscores election’s significance
Now, Biden and his team are working to clarify the choice voters will face, emphasizing the importance of the election and Trump’s influence within the GOP.
Biden sees a rematch with Trump as his most straightforward route to reelection and a testament to his decision, at 81 years old, to seek another term.
He wasted no time positioning Trump as his primary rival after Trump’s convincing victory in the New Hampshire primary, following a successful outing in the Iowa caucuses the week prior.
Presidential historian Julian Zelizer of Princeton University notes that the Biden campaign believes it can portray Trump as a credible threat due to his past tenure in the Oval Office.
Biden’s unique challenge: Rematch with former president
Unlike a typical incumbent-versus-challenger scenario, this contest involves someone with a presidential track record.
This positioning allows Biden to assert that “Opponent X is dangerous for the country” based on tangible experiences.
President Biden faces various challenges as the general election season approaches, including low approval ratings, concerns about his age, international tensions, and domestic discontent.
However, his campaign has devised responses to these concerns, many of which center on Trump himself.
Biden’s strategy focused on preparing for rematch with Trump
Biden’s campaign has long anticipated a grueling rematch with Trump and has largely disregarded other GOP contenders.
Key campaign aides have been shifted from the White House to the campaign to oversee the effort against Trump.
They have also secured endorsements, such as the one from the United Auto Workers union, focusing on highlighting the consequences of another Trump presidency.
The Biden campaign is confident that Trump will not regain voters he lost in the previous election.
Assessing Trump’s influence and Biden’s strategy ahead of election
They point to Trump’s continued denial of the 2020 election results, his defense of those involved in the January 6 insurrection, and his advocacy of positions perceived as extremist by Democrats.
According to Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Trump’s agenda is viewed as “toxic,” particularly among suburban and college-educated Republicans who played pivotal roles in Democratic victories in recent years.
While Biden’s team believes Trump’s coalition is eroding, they are focused on assembling their coalition.
Their strategy revolves around issues like abortion access, healthcare, and gun control.
Biden campaign’s focus on Trump and voter engagement
They also hope that concerns about Trump’s return to power will overshadow policy differences, such as Biden’s support for Israel’s actions in Gaza.
A significant part of the Biden campaign’s early efforts is geared towards motivating “sporadic” voters – those who traditionally support Democrats but have not been closely following political developments.
Campaign officials believe that once the stakes of a Biden-Trump rematch become apparent, these voters will rally behind the incumbent president, given Trump’s actual record in office.
Another essential component of the Biden campaign strategy is emphasizing the president’s legislative accomplishments during his first term.
Biden’s campaign: Touting achievements and addressing age concerns
They aim to connect tangible changes, such as reduced insulin costs and infrastructure investments, to Biden’s leadership.
Addressing concerns about Biden’s age, the campaign is banking on voters valuing accomplishments over age. They argue that what Biden has achieved matters more than his birthdate.
As concerns about the economy initially loomed over Biden’s reelection prospects, easing inflation and continued job growth have boosted confidence in his handling of the economy.
Biden gains approval for economy in NH, focuses on election contrast
Most Democratic voters in the New Hampshire primary expressed approval of his economic leadership.
In the run-up to the election, Biden’s team is working to secure voters’ support by addressing their concerns and framing the election as a clear choice between two contrasting candidates.
Rob Samuelson is a writer who splits his time between Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina. He writes the Punk Rock Mister Rogers Substack blog.