US President Joe Biden formally announced his intention to seek a second term in the White House on 25 April, shrugging off concerns about his advanced age to set up a possible rematch with Donald Trump next year.
Mr Biden, 80, reaffirmed his commitment to fighting for freedom and democracy in a video posted to social media, just months after Mr Trump announced his candidacy.
The short film opened with footage of the deadly Capitol riot of 6 January 2021 and warned against the threat posed by “MAGA extremists”, whom he cautioned are hell-bent on cutting social security while offering tax breaks to the wealthy and assaulting abortion rights, oppressing LGBT+ values, limiting voting access and banning books.
The campaign clip also offered a defiant vision of a more tolerant, multicultural America, clearly establishing a positive alternative narrative for the nation at odds with the apocalyptic forecasts of Mr Trump, 77, and his supporters.
While current polling might indicate that a majority of the American public has little appetite for a rematch between the ageing Mr Biden and Mr Trump in 2024, that is beginning to look like the most likely outcome.
However, the former celebrity real estate tycoon is facing ever-greater legal problems and is the subject of a number of criminal and civil investigations, any one of which has the potential to derail his own bid for a belated second term.
Mr Trump became the first president to be criminally indicted in April when he was hit with charges by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg related to the falsification of business records to conceal hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Since then, he has faced three more indictments: two from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith over the mishandling of classified documents and his plot to overturn the 2020 election and another from Fani Willis, district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, who accuses him of engaging in racketeering in her state as he sought to interfere with the vote count.
On top of all that, he has also been found liable for the sexual assault of magazine columnist E Jean Carroll in the 1990s and still faces a defamation lawsuit relating to the same incident.
How far Mr Trump can go faced with so many distractions and such expense remains to be seen but, so far, none of it appears to have had an obvious impact on his popularity among MAGA conservatives and he continues to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination.
The rest of the GOP field is made up of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Mr Trump’s own former vice president Mike Pence, ex-state governors Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and radio personality Larry Elder.
America will next go to the polls, for the 60th quadrennial presidential election in the country’s history, on Tuesday 5 November 2024 and an awful lot could happen between now and then.
Primary season for the candidates officially begins in late January, running through the spring until June when the Republican National Convention will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 15 to 18 July followed by its Democratic counterpart in Chicago, Illinois, from 19 to 22 August.
After November’s vote, Congress will formally certify the results on 6 January 2025 and the new president will be inaugurated two weeks later on 20 January.
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