Presenting Your 2024 Senate Race Ratings

Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, and Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. (Photos by Angela Weiss and Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

A common theme around here is the interconnectedness of elections: that what happens in one party’s primary affects the way voters on the other side are making their decisions.

For example, President Joe Biden’s campaign is spending a lot of time and effort to point out policy successes and other achievements that would make unenthusiastic Democrats feel better about renominating him. But Biden’s greatest asset in reaching the Chicago convention a year from now without incident is something Republican voters are doing: rallying behind former President Donald Trump.

Without the apparent likelihood of Trump being on the ballot next November, Democrats would undoubtedly feel freer to explore alternatives to their incumbent. Whether Trump would actually be the strongest challenger to Biden (he probably wouldn’t be), Democrats fear a Trump return so deeply that they are unlikely to take any chances on an internal fight.

The same works in reverse. How would the plurality of persuadable primary voters on the Republican side feel about their choices if Biden were not running and Democrats had a messy open primary? Trump has won the presidency once and, in the minds of most of his supporters, a second time. As we’ve discussed before, that false belief makes Republicans see Trump as the strongest candidate to take on the Democratic incumbent. What might they think if Vice President Kamala Harris were leading a congested field of aspiring Democrats? 

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (39)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More