Barack Obama is worried about Donald Trump. Not because of what has happened in the past, but of what may happen in the future.
For that reason he is warning President Joe Biden that Donald Trump is a more formidable rival than Democrats realize, and that he will pose a serious challenge in the 2024 election.
Obama reportedly expressed his concern about Trump’s loyal base, his advantage in the conservative media, and the polarization of the country during a White House lunch with Biden in June. He renewed these warnings just a few days ago, as The Washington Post reported. The former president also pledged to do all he could to help Biden get re-elected, but that was to be expected.
Biden warmly welcomed Obama’s offer of support, as he considers him to be his closest ally and friend.
Although a recent survey showed both Biden and Trump have 43 percent support for their potential return to the White House in 2024, Trump’s lead in the prospective Republican primary was significant, with a 37-point advantage over the second-placed Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida.
With this advice Obama was not suggesting that Biden is falling short in any way in his performance as president, but instead, he was stressing the powerful hold that Trump has maintained on the Republican party.
Obama will be fully engaged in supporting Biden’s campaign efforts. His first campaign visit for Biden was recorded after their June 27 luncheon, in which Obama urged supporters to contribute whatever they could to Biden’s campaign, emphasizing that grassroots donations played a pivotal role in Joe’s previous campaign victories.
Indeed, grassroots donations are a hallmark of Trump’s fundraising as he has a loyal and passionate base of supporters who donate generously in small amounts. Obama reminded Biden that Trump’s campaign has raised millions of dollars from that source, especially after he faced criminal charges in New York and Georgia. These donations, Obama said, show that Trump’s supporters are not deterred by his legal troubles and are willing to fund his political comeback. Obama is not alone in underlining the connection between Trump’s legal troubles and his rising popularity; many pundits comment that far from hurting his chances at winning the office in 2024, Trump’s poll numbers go up with every new indictment.
Reportedly, Obama also mentioned that Trump has an advantage in the conservative media, which amplifies his message and attacks his opponents.
Another factor to take into consideration is that in a country that is deeply divided, it is hard for Biden to win over swing voters. To do so, Biden would need to retain the key swing states that he flipped in 2020, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. He would also need to appeal to the suburban voters who shifted toward him in 2020, especially highly educated white-collar workers and women. Neither of these two goals is easy, nor can he take for granted that if he did it once he can do it again. The political climate of 2023 is radically different from that of 2019.
Obama will host a fundraiser on Martha’s Vineyard later in August, benefiting the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which works to counter Republican influence in drawing legislative and congressional districts. Additionally, he plans to further support Biden’s fundraising efforts in the fall.
A spokesman for the Biden campaign expressed gratitude and anticipation for Obama’s sound advice and for his promise to campaign alongside Biden in order to help him win a second term.