Why Joe Biden Should Want Donald Trump to Run Again

With President Joe Biden expected to run again in 2024, the prospect of another clash with former President Donald Trump looms.

Though some Democrats might want Trump to disappear from the political landscape entirely, there is an argument as to why they and Biden should actually be hoping he does become the GOP candidate again.

While some polls and bookmakers have tipped in Trump's favor should there be another clash between the pair—running against the former president, or an acolyte of his, could prove a tactical boost for Biden in some ways.

Biden's approval poll numbers have slipped and he may be a somewhat harder sell to the American public come 2024 if his issues don't subside.

If Biden's popularity makes it a struggle to encourage votes for himself, he might be better placed to urge action against an opponent. Trump continues to be a divisive figure and could prove the perfect adversary for such a plan.

Speaking to Newsweek, David Andersen, associate professor in U.S. politics at Durham University, said he had some reservations as to whether Biden will definitely run—but said regardless of that decision, Democrats should want Trump to be in the race next time out.

"Whatever Biden's decision is, the Democrats want, or should want, Trump to run again. Twice the Democrats have won the national popular vote with Trump on the ticket, and in 2020 they won the Electoral College by putting new states into play. They should be confident that President Biden can run against Trump by contrasting their styles and presidencies and showing that Biden is the better option. While Trump has a committed base that is likely to turn out to support him, it is difficult to see where he will pick up votes in 2024," Andersen said.

"His base consists largely of shrinking demographics, who are currently the hardest hit by COVID and have adopted a strategy of demeaning and insulting anyone who questions Trump. While this keeps the base strong, it limits Trump's appeal to potential new voters."

Andersen also suggested whoever does run for the GOP will likely be tied to Trump, even if it is not the man himself—again presenting a space for the Democrats to expose.

"Fortunately for the Democrats and President Biden, Trump maintains an iron grip on the GOP. Even if he ultimately decides not to run—and I also think there is a strong chance of that—Trump will likely help select his successor," Andersen said.

"A moderate, respectful GOP candidate could likely challenge Biden's appeal to centrist or weakly-aligned voters. But Trump is likely to favor, if not himself, someone who continues his style and campaigns by adoring Trump and his legacy. That should make Biden's path to re-election easier."

Clodagh Harrington, associate professor in American Politics at De Montfort University, similarly agreed there could be some advantages for Biden in a rematch—though she also pointed out areas where Trump may hold strength.

"Donald Trump is certainly the devil Joe Biden knows and that gives Biden an advantage," Harrington said.

However, she pointed to funds at Trump's disposal and his abilities on the campaign trail.

"Trump has a war chest of $100million+ and has demonstrated his prowess on the campaign trail, so could still be a formidable opponent if he runs," Harrington said.

Running against Trump would make the competition more straightforward for Biden, as Trump "is easy to demonize," and even if Biden chose against campaigning negatively, "others could do that for him."

Harrington also suggested Biden will need to be able to counter Trump's style, "which has become as important (more important!) than substance."

"Trump is expert in throwing sand in voter's eyes and controlling the narrative," Harrington said.

Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London's Center on U.S. Politics, also highlighted Trump's strengths—and suggested it was not clear cut whether going against his former adversary again would be good or bad for Biden—but similarly mooted some advantages for Biden if they were to face off again.

Gift suggested there could be a boost in mobilizing Democrats if it were to be against Trump—and added that while Trump rallies enthusiasm in certain quarters, that also comes at a price.

"It's hard to say whether Biden's odds of re-election would be better or worse if Trump ran again. There's no such thing as a 'generic' opponent, so it would ultimately come down to who the alternative Republican would be," Gift said.

"No other GOP contender is likely to match the enthusiasm Trump can generate among the conservative base. At the same time, another candidate—even one with Trumpist tendencies—would almost certainly have a better chance of winning over swing and moderate voters.

"If Trump doesn't run, one potential concern for Democrats is that it could depress mobilization on the left. In some sense, there's a belief that if Trump's name is on the ballot, the future of American democracy will be up for grabs in 2024. It's easier to activate Democratic turnout in that environment."

While discussion persists about a rematch, Andersen of Durham University, however, suggested Biden might not still be 100 percent in contention next time out.

"President Biden's announcement that he would be seeking a second term was a big one—but I still don't think that he is 100 percent likely to do so," Andersen said.

"Biden's slipping approval ratings have put him in a weakened political position in Washington just as he needs to whip his party together around the Build Back Better bill. Psaki's announcement about his commitment to running in 2024 is more of a signal to his own party that he is still the face of the party and the political future of the Democrats is currently in his hands.

"By committing to run again, he reminds them that if they run away from him, or weaken his agenda, the president may not stand with them in 2022, and 2024 could see them lose the presidency. I still believe that President Biden won't truly make a reelection decision until early-to-mid-2023."

Polling has suggested a tough run for Biden if he does go for a second term, with some showing him down in key swing states if it were him versus Trump.

For Trump, polling has suggested he is still the favorite for the GOP nomination next time out, and he has hinted heavily at going for it—though refused to wholeheartedly commit to a bid. He has spoken of his own confidence in winning the nomination if he should go for it.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and Democratic National Committee for comment.

trump and biden debate in october 2020
This combination of pictures created on October 22, 2020 shows then U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and then Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden during the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. (Photos by Brendan Smialowski and JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI,JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI,JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images