Trump Gains Ground. Biden Considers Withdrawal

Politics - July 4, 2024

Donald Trump has increased his lead over Joe Biden following last week’s disastrous debate for the sitting president. According to a poll published today by CBS News, the former president now holds a three-point lead in key states and a two-point lead nationally. Specifically, Trump is at 50% nationally compared to Biden’s 48%, and 51% to Biden’s 48% in key states.

A month ago, in the same poll, Trump had only a one-point lead in key states. This increase is mainly due to the greater determination of Republican voters to “definitely” vote.

Three-quarters of American voters believe that the Democratic Party would have a better chance of retaining the presidency if the candidate were not Biden. A survey conducted by SSRS for CNN reveals that the President’s approval rating has also hit a new low after his performance in the first presidential debate. Nationally, Trump remains favored, with a six-point lead over Biden, stable compared to the April poll. However, there are signs that both candidates have consolidated their support among their own voters in recent months.

Pressure is mounting on Joe Biden, and an intense Fourth of July weekend is expected for the American president. According to the New York Times, Biden admitted for the first time to one of his key allies that he is considering whether to continue his re-election bid, acknowledging that he might not be able to save his candidacy unless he convinces the public of his suitability. This account was quickly denied by White House spokesperson Andrew Bates, who called the article “absolutely false.” “If the NYT had given us more than seven minutes to comment, we would have said so,” Bates wrote on X. However, the newspaper’s source reported that the president, while still deeply committed to the re-election fight, knows that the weekend appearances, including an interview with ABC News, must go well. Sources cited by CNN confirm that Biden has privately admitted the next few days will be crucial to determine if he can save his candidacy.

Former President Barack Obama has also acknowledged that his former vice president’s already difficult path to securing another term has become even more challenging after the disappointing debate performance against Donald Trump. As reported by the Washington Post, Obama spoke with Biden after the TV confrontation and offered his support. Meanwhile, opposition within the Democratic Party is growing, with at least 25 representatives ready to ask the presumptive candidate to step aside in case of further missteps. After Nancy Pelosi’s doubts, Texas representative Lloyd Doggett was the first to say that Biden “should make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw.” Maine centrist representative Jared Golden explained that the “poor performance” in the debate “was not a surprise,” and therefore now more than ever Biden needs to step back. Former Obama Housing Secretary Julián Castro also stated that Biden should “absolutely” withdraw. Biden, however, blamed the debacle last Thursday on fatigue from repeated overseas trips. “I wasn’t smart. I decided to travel around the world a couple of times just before the debate, across I don’t know how many time zones, I think at least 15… I didn’t listen to my staff… And then I almost fell asleep on stage,” he said at a fundraiser in Virginia, adding, “It’s not an excuse but an explanation.”

Yesterday, the president met with Democratic governors, some in person and some remotely, to try to reassure them and, in some cases, mend fences. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, for example, shared the surprise and frustration of some of his colleagues for not being contacted by Biden himself the day after the TV duel. Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom – considered one of the possible replacements if Biden withdraws – flew to Washington to attend the meeting in person and “stand by the president.”

Meanwhile, according to seven sources from Biden’s campaign, the White House, and the Republican National Committee, Vice President Kamala Harris is considered the best alternative if the president decides not to continue the race (also because she would inherit the campaign’s funds and network).