(New York) Reading The New York Times the day after Joe Biden’s re-election bid was announced, some Democratic-leaning readers may have been thrown into a state of post-traumatic stress.
In an analysis explaining the optimism of Democratic leaders regarding the president’s chances of winning a second term, the author mentioned the “blue wall”, an expression that had its heyday (or infamy) in the months that followed. preceded the 2016 presidential election.
The “blue wall” refers to the 18 U.S. states and the Federal District (Columbia) that voted continuously for Democratic presidential candidates from 1992 to 2012. These states, located on both coasts and in the Midwest, as well as that district then counted 242 of the 270 electors needed to win the presidency.
Thus, as early as November 2014, commentators and strategists began to evoke this so-called Democratic advantage when speaking of the 2016 presidential election. Certainly, they acknowledged, Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress had suffered a painful defeat. in the midterm elections, a sign of persistent discontent within the American population. But this “blue wall” was going to be a huge, if not insurmountable, asset for a presidential candidate like Hillary Clinton in 2016.
After all, the former secretary of state or any other Democratic presidential candidate only needed to win 28 more electoral votes to reach the magic number of 270.
Four years later, Joe Biden put those states back in the Democratic column. But can we take for granted that the same will be true in 2024, as some Democratic leaders and strategists seem to believe?
In 2016, the “blue wall” had contributed to Democratic optimism that polls on the state of mind of Americans after eight years in Democratic power in the White House did not justify.
In 2023, the poll results are even worse for Joe Biden and the Democrats.
However, Democratic leaders and strategists are confident about Joe Biden’s chances, especially if Republicans choose Donald Trump as their presidential candidate.
Impossible to escape a feeling of deja vu.
Democratic leaders defend their optimism by explaining that today’s map and election stakes are more favorable to Joe Biden than they were in 2016 for Hillary Clinton. In the 2022 midterm elections, for example, Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all triumphed over Trumpist candidates, and by significant margins in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
The issue of abortion played a key role in those results, as it did in a more recent election in Wisconsin that swung the majority of that state’s Supreme Court justices to the camp. progressive.
And abortion should again be at the heart of the 2024 electoral meeting, according to Democratic strategists. According to the three-minute video in which Joe Biden announced his candidacy, the choice to terminate a pregnancy is among the “freedoms” that Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Marjorie Taylor Greene want to deprive Americans, according to the president.
“Across the country, MAGA extremists are scrambling to take away these fundamental freedoms,” Joe Biden says in this video as images of the three Republicans mentioned above scroll by.
Commenting on Democratic pollster Celinda Lake in an interview with New York magazine: “I can tell you that the theme of freedom resonates very, very strongly, and it was a major theme in 2022 [in the midterm elections] . »
But what will happen in 2024 if a recession brings the economy back to the top of voters’ minds, as is often the case in a presidential election? Based on the spread between 3-month and 10-year U.S. Treasury rates, economists estimate there is nearly a 58% chance that the United States will enter a recession in March 2024.
And there is no real guarantee that a Donald Trump candidacy would be an insurance policy for Joe Biden. Despite his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, despite his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, despite the trials and investigations against him, the former president does not draw any behind the president by only 1.4 percentage points in the polls.
However, in 2016, Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, while losing the election to the Electoral College, where Donald Trump had collected 304 of the 538 electors.
And we haven’t even talked about Joe Biden’s age, which could be to the 2024 election what Hillary Clinton’s gender was to the 2016 election.