USA 2024: -212, seven months to Election Day, games seem to be over, but…

April 2024
By Giampiero Gramaglia

Seven months remain until the November 5th Election Day, and everything seems already decided. Who will be the candidates facing off: the incumbent president Joe Biden for the Democrats; the former president Donald Trump for the Republicans; and the pacifist ‘novax’ and Covid denier Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a third-party candidate, with no hope of winning but with the concrete effect of harming Biden more than Trump (whom he considers less harmful to democracy). And even who will be the winner, as the polls are more or less unanimous in placing Trump ahead of Biden, especially in the swing states – seven crucial ones: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, in the Rust Belt; North Carolina and Georgia in the South; Arizona and Nevada in the West).

Americans perceive that the economy is doing poorly because they continue to feel the effects of inflation, even though growth is solid and the job market is stronger than expected: the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in March, and 303 thousand jobs were created. Analysts see signs that the US economy has found a good balance between positive trends in business and entrepreneurial activities, increasing employment rates, and rising wages.

On the domestic front, the flow of migrants, which the Biden Administration has failed to manage or reduce, just like the previous Trump Administration, works against the incumbent president. Conversely, what works in his favor is the irritation of a majority slice of public opinion over the crackdown on abortion imposed by a strongly conservative Supreme Court – six out of nine judges on the right and three chosen by Trump personally.

On the international front, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East work against Biden, who cannot end them, and in favor of Trump, who promises to end them, without ever saying how, and boasts that they would never have started with him, without explaining why.

But the game is not over yet. Biden is burdened by uncertainties about his age – he will be 82 immediately after the vote: not that Trump, who will be 78 in June, is a spring chicken – and fragility. For Trump, there is the gamble of the trials: he plays to procrastinate, and, with the complicity of judges appointed by him, he succeeds, but he risks stumbling on at least one of the four.

And both prospective candidates continue to display weaknesses in primary tests, even though they have no more rivals. There is always about a fifth of Republicans who do not vote for Trump; and there is always a slice of Democrats, fluctuating between a tenth and a fifth, who do not vote for Biden. Those disappointed by the Democratic administration are among the youth and minorities, especially Arab Americans tired of the Middle Eastern tug-of-war: the president calls for moderation from Israel, which ignores him, while simultaneously supplying the weapons with which it torments the Gaza Strip.

Against Trump, there are many of his collaborators in the current White House term: his vice president Mike Pence, his former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who defines him as “a threat to democracy”; his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who considers him “unfit to be president”. In short, the more you know him, the more you avoid him.

Sarah Matthews, a former assistant to Trump, who testified against him before the commission investigating the January 6, 2021 riot, finds it “amazing” how many former members of his staff have denounced him. But, on the other hand, there is also a line of those who cannot wait to reclaim their place under their boss.

USA 2024: Trials, Trump seeks the recusal of the New York judge
Donald Trump seeks the recusal of Judge Juan Merchan presiding over the trial in New York for the hush money paid to a pornstar and a former Playboy bunny during the 2016 US campaign. The request for recusal comes ten days before the start of the trial, set for April 15, and follows public accusations made by the former president against the judge and his daughter, a Democratic activist. It is yet another attempt to delay the start of the trial.

USA 2024: An airport named after Trump? No, a prison
The Democratic response is immediate to the Republican proposal to rename Washington Airport, currently called Dulles Airport, after former President Donald Trump. Two Democratic lawmakers suggest naming a federal prison in Miami after the magnate, which would become the Donald J Trump Federal Correctional Institution. It is unlikely that either of the two ideas will be implemented.

Melania Trump returns to the election campaign: after a prolonged absence, the former first lady will organize a fundraising event on April 20 for the Log Cabin Republicans, the association representing the conservative Ltbgq community. The event will be held at Mar-a-Lago, the Trumps’ residence.