‘Brutally long’ Biden-Trump campaign rematch likely — but there are signs neither may seek re-election
Donald Trump and Joe Biden (AFP)

A Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch appears likely for 2024, but allies and advisers can envision a few scenarios where neither man would seek re-election.

The president and his predecessor have each told aides and confidants they intend to run, and believe they'll win, but neither Biden or Trump wants to be the first to make it official -- and that dynamic has frozen the field of would-be successor to the pair of elderly frontrunners, reported Politico.

“It’s a very unusual situation where there are people in both parties who would likely clear the field, and for the first time in modern history we might not have a very competitive primary on either side,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant. “So it’s hard to think of what that would look like other than it being a brutally long election campaign.”

White House aides and Biden advisers are acting on the assumption that the president would run for re-election, according to three administration officials, and some Democrats hope he would announce his decision soon after November's midterms instead of waiting until deep into next year.

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“Everything is frozen until after the midterms," said former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala. "I expect Biden to run, I hope he runs, and I think if there is a credible primary challenger against Biden there is almost a certain Trump victory."

Those close to both men believe they're each eager for a rematch and would certainly run again if the other announced first.

“Biden running helps shape his decision," said one former Trump adviser. "I think it’s an opportunity to avenge a loss and right a wrong, whereas if there was a younger candidate, I don’t know how motivated he’d be."

Trump pollster John McLaughlin says his the former president's position is strong against Biden at this point, and he said Democratic criticism of the MAGA movement only feeds Trump's desire to run again.

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“If they keep attacking him, he’ll run,” McLaughlin said. “If they keep trying to attack him and his supporters — Trump’s the type of person where if you tell him he can’t do something and if you personally keep attacking him, he’s going to try to prove you wrong.”

Other national polls show a tighter rematch than McLaughlin's, although the election would still be more than two years away, but many believe that Trump would only seek re-election if he felt certain he would win.

“I always said that he would run if Biden is under 44 or 43 [percent] but if Biden is at 46, 47, he will pass,” said GOP strategist Bryan Lanza, a former Trump campaign official. “Right now he is at 41 so I have to say yes right now — there has to be a dramatic turning out in Biden numbers for him to pass.”