It is becoming increasingly clear that neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump can or should be their respective party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2024.
For Biden, the first reason is his relentlessly underperforming in the polls.
According to a new AP-NORC poll, just 42% of Americans approve of the president’s overall job performance, while an even smaller percentage (36%) approve of his handling of the economy.
Biden’s job ratings have changed little over the past year and a half.
Recent signs of an improving economic outlook — inflation is slowing while job growth remains resilient and unemployment remains low — have done little to improve his standing in the polls, at least suggesting that Democrats are using this messenger in can’t win this question.
Second, there could be complications with Biden’s candidacy arising from the failure of Hunter Biden’s consent form and the appointment of David Weiss as the special prosecutor to oversee the investigation.
It now seems likely that the case against Hunter will go to trial. In that case, the president could sit on the witness stand in the middle of his re-election campaign, the eldest son’s attorney told federal prosecutors — leading to political awkwardness at best, a constitutional crisis at worst.
Third, there are legitimate and unanswered questions about the president’s age, mental fitness and ability to serve a second term.
Aside from the gaffes most Americans have become accustomed to by this point, the media’s focus on Biden’s health and mental prowess – at the expense of the troubles – will only intensify as the election approaches.
In fact, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the president at age 80 would be able to endure the rigors of traditional international campaigning while doing his job effectively.
Republicans certainly won’t let Biden get away with another so-called basement campaign, similar to the one he waged in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, which this time would be waged from the Rose Garden of the White House.
The president is clearly an untenable candidate — but so is twice-impeached and four-time indicted former President Donald Trump, who faces 91 counts in four separate trials in three jurisdictions.
While the impeachments hanging over Trump’s head have helped him solidify support in the Republican primary so far, they pose a serious obstacle to his presidential campaign for a number of reasons.
In practice, the problem is that Trump is out of money because his legal fees are piling up.
As of January 2021, Trump’s PAC has spent approximately $40 million on legal firms to defend the former president and his associates against a variety of federal and state charges.
Reportedly, 10 cents of every dollar Trump raised from small donors went towards legal expenses — which is financially unsustainable.
From a news delivery perspective, the numerous charges Trump faces virtually prevent him from speaking about anything other than the past when the Republican Party desperately needs a forward-looking platform.
Rebalancing the 2020 election and voicing Trump’s personal grievances was a losing strategy for Republicans in 2022 and will be no different in 2024.
Outside the White House, Trump’s presence will very likely result in moderate GOP candidates being rejected, as was the case in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
Trump’s nationwide poll numbers are under water, even more than Biden’s.
Though Trump leads the Republican primary by nearly 40 points, his standing with the electorate is much weaker: according to FiveThirtyEight poll averages, only 39% of Americans view him positively.
Of course, Trump’s true believers — the MAGA base — will support him as long as he’s in the running, but these voters make up barely a quarter of the entire electorate.
For the avoidance of doubt, our reasoning is not intended to be biased; Nor does it mean that one of those candidates is in a better position than the other.
One of us, Schoen, supported Biden in 2020 and will likely vote for the Democratic nominee again next year. The other, Stein, endorsed Trump in both 2016 and 2020 and will do so again when faced with a choice between the former and current presidents.
Rather, we are writing this because of the problems with both The frontrunners in this election are so clear and objective that we are forced to look beyond our partisan differences.
We write not as a Democrat and a Republican-leaning Democrat—but as two Americans concerned: our global adversaries are preying on our internal disorder, and the challenges we face at home are only getting worse , if we leave them to an incompetent leader.
Our views also agree with the majority of voters.
There is little interest in a Biden-Trump rematch — according to a CNN poll, 62% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want their party to nominate anyone other than Trump, and 59% of Democrats agree on Biden.
Each of us has been involved in electoral politics for nearly five decades, but never have we seen America more divided, polarized, or weakened than it is right now.
We urge both parties to find a way forward together; This could very well start with Trump accepting a plea deal that would allow him to avoid jail time provided he pulls out of the race, which would inadvertently give a push for Biden to pull out as well.
Only then can both parties produce comprehensive, competent leaders and begin to restore the American consensus that has served us so well for so many years.
Douglas Schoen was senior adviser on Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign, White House adviser (1994–2000), and adviser on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 US Senate campaign. Andrew Stein, a Democrat, served as President of the United States from 1986 to 1994 New York City Council.