by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Current polls, pundits and politicos insist that the 2024 race is a sure ramtch between former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden.
It may well turn out that way.
But in past election cycles, summer polls 15 months before the general election usually did not mean much.
In December 2003, the CBS poll headline blared, “Dean pulls away in Dem race.” Howard Dean would eventually be clobbered by nominee John Kerry.
In the Gallup Poll of late June 2007, Hillary Clinton still continued to enjoy her wide lead in the Democratic primary over eventual nominee and elected president Barack Obama.
On the Republican side, Gallup noted of its summer 2007 polls, “There has been little serious threat to the frontrunner, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani” — who bombed out early in the race.
About this time in 2015, Jeb Bush was leading Trump in the Republican primary. Or as CNN characterized their summer poll, “He (Bush) holds a significant lead over the second-place candidate Trump.”
By January 2016, the favorite, can-do Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was leading all candidates by a substantial margin as they headed for the Iowa caucuses.
There are lots of reasons to believe that 2024 may prove to be the most volatile race in recent memory.
Not since 1912 — when third-party ex-president Theodore Roosevelt challenged incumbent President William Howard Taft in a three-way race with Woodrow Wilson — have two presidents run against each other.
Both, remember, lost that year to the far less experienced Wilson.
Second, Trump is currently the target of at least four state and federal investigations.
Millions of Americans feel that current and likely future indictments are patently political.
Leftwing strategists believe that these indictments will earn Trump Republican empathy.
The legal persecutions supposedly will ensure him the nomination, but then intensify during the 2024 general campaign to bleed him out — ensuring a Democratic victory.
But the left’s weaponization of the legal system is playing with fire.