New hopefuls emerge as young voters distrust Trump, Biden

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This comes as polls show Democratic voters may want an alternative to the incumbent who publicly insists he will seek a second term in the White House…reports Ashok Nilakantan

Speculation is rife in the US media about the presidential hopefuls for the 2024 run as polls suggest that young voters, who constitute a bulk of both the ethnic and White electorate, prefer to have a fresh face in the White House and are done with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden after revelations in the Jan 6 hearings and Democrats’ handling of the country’s economy with high inflation and unemployment.

Even as both Trump and Biden have suggested they will seek re-election in 2024, both Democrats and the Republicans are faced with a Hobsons’ choice. Republicans feel Trump announcing his candidacy before fall and before the Jan 6 panel’s report on the Capitol Hill’s insurrection could divert attention from the campaign they have been building against Biden’s “inept” governance in tackling the nation’s economic problems such as inflation, unemployment, soaring gas prices and raw materials shortage and the danger of the country sinking into recession soon.

Republicans feel 20 million prime time TV viewers watching the proceedings of the Congressional committee on Jan 6 insurrection has done enough damage, rattling the traditional and practical-minded funders of candidates for the November 8 elections and the subsequent 2024 presidential run. Public opinion rejects both Trump and Biden as being too old to be in sync with the nation’s current problems.

Both Vice President Kamala Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom have started lobbying with Democrat donors that they would throw their hats in the ring if Biden chooses not to contest. Florida’s Republican Governor Rino De Santis and Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence are the Republican hopefuls.

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Republican National Convention.

Pence may seek revenge on Trump for calling him a wimp and endorsing Oath Keepers and Proud Boys’ call to “Hang Pence” for not falling in line with Trump’s call not to certify the election process of 2020 that declared Biden as President.

De Santis is a popular figure among Republican voters and he is already racing up in the Gallup polls with a 44 per cent rating, close to Trump’s 51 per cent. But GOP donors’ decision not to back Trump might change the equation, upping the Santis ratings further as the 2nd strongman in the party to correct America’s fractured economy and cultural ethos.

On the other hand, both Newsom and Harris will inherit Biden’s legacy of an inept administration that failed to solve the country’s economic problems unless the Jan 6 panel’s possible indictment of Trump for his alleged involvement in the Capitol Hill’s insurrection sticks strongly in the minds of Americans.

The events are unfolding now before the November 8 elections to all of the 435 seats of the House of Representatives, wherein Democrats have a wafer-thin majority and Trump hopes to retake it to dissolve the Jan 6 panel, whose findings have dented his image.

Trump’s policies go down well with noted economists like Paul Erdman and the Republicans but not the persona of Trump who did nothing to stop the riotous mob from invading Capitol Hill.

Harris, Newsom and Colorado Governor Jared Polis are engaging with donors as possible 2024 bids loom if Biden doesn’t run. A Wall Street executive who fund-raised for Biden’s 2020 campaign said he has heard from both Newsom and Harris in recent weeks, according to media reports.

This comes as polls show Democratic voters may want an alternative to the incumbent who publicly insists he will seek a second term in the White House.

Harris has purportedly been in touch with a small group of allies who helped to organise her successful California campaigns for District Attorney, Attorney General, and US Senator, and has held private meetings of at least three supporters in her residence, according to a person briefed on the matter. Harris has said in interviews that she plans to run on Biden’s ticket in 2024.

She is said to have been in touch with at least two wealthy friends: Vanessa Getty, a model and wife of Billy Getty, an heir to the billionaire Getty family, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, a billionaire businesswoman and widow of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Both have been close to Harris throughout her political career.

The Vice President’s Press Secretary declined to comment and so did a spokesperson for Powell Jobs. Vanessa Getty did also not respond to requests for comment, as per media reports.

Newsom, meanwhile, has said he has no White House ambitions. He says he believes Biden should run for President again, and that he would not run against him.

Meanwhile, Polis has said he is not running for President, and plans to serve his full term as Governor, if re-elected.

A New York Times/Siena College poll found 64 per cent of Democrats surveyed want someone else to head the presidential ticket in two years. The findings were not all bad for Biden: The same survey found a plurality of voters, 92 per cent of Democrats, would choose the incumbent if he faced Trump in a 2020 rematch.

Biden will be 81 by November 2024. Trump, who will be 78 by then, is reportedly aiming to launch his next run for the White House in September. He told New York Magazine in a recent interview that he has already decided to run again, and that he only needs to settle whether he launches a campaign before or after the 2022 midterm elections.

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