By Arab News
By Dalia Al-Aqidi *
With the start of 2022, preparations have begun in earnest for the US midterm elections, which will chart the way toward the presidential election in November 2024. The past year has shown us what can be expected and who will be the leading players from the Republican and Democratic parties.
President Joe Biden’s administration had a tough 2021, filled with enormous internal and external challenges that the White House failed to deal with, such as illegal immigration and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, handing the country over to a terrorist group. These are in addition to its urgent desire to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran and several other issues that have led to dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party’s leadership.
The likelihood that Democrats will lose control of Congress in November is high due to the low approval rate of this administration’s performance, a lack of confidence in Biden’s ability to run a presidential campaign at the age of 82, and the unpopularity of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is frequently criticized by the pro and anti-Democratic media alike.
As for the Republican side, all indications point to former President Donald Trump, who seems determined to return to the White House three years from now. He continues to repeat his claims of election fraud and the 2020 election being stolen from him despite the lack of evidence to prove the validity of these allegations, which most of his supporters believe.
On Saturday, Trump flew to Arizona for his first rally of the midterm election year, expressing his support for Republican candidates and energizing his base. Speaking at the “Save America” rally, the former president took aim at his successor by saying that the US had more problems and more destruction last year than seen by the last five presidents put together. “These decisions they’re making, they’re wrecking and devastating people’s lives, firing Americans from their jobs, forcing innocent children to grow up in masks,” Trump told the crowd, while describing Biden as a “disaster.”
The idea of Trump running again raises concerns within the Democratic Party due to his high popularity among his base and his ability to raise significant funds to support his campaign if and when he decides to announce his candidacy.
Meanwhile, the name of former senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been circulating in Washington as a possible Democratic candidate for 2024, perhaps to take on Trump in a repeat of the 2016 election that the latter won. Republican House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy described this suggestion as an “embarrassment to the Democratic Party” and a sign of “how bad the economy” is going and “how bad Joe Biden is serving as president.” “Think about that for one moment. The Democrats have the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and they’re talking about bringing Hillary Clinton back,” McCarty said.
In addition to being first lady from 2001 to 2009, the 74-year-old Clinton also tried her luck as a presidential candidate in 2008, when she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. So what makes her potential 2024 bid different to her previous attempts? According to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by pollster Doug Schoen and former New York City Council President Andrew Stein, “a perfect storm in the Democratic Party is making a once-unfathomable scenario plausible: A political comeback for Hillary Clinton in 2024.”
One of the causes of this speculation was Clinton herself after she read, for the first time, a portion of the victory speech she planned to give after the 2016 election as part of a lesson she gave on the online learning platform MasterClass. “I’ve never shared this with anybody. I’ve never read it out loud. But it helps to encapsulate who I am, what I believe in, and what my hopes were for the kind of country that I want for my grandchildren and that I want for the world,” she said, adding that the American dream is big enough for everyone.
She should know that the expression “third time’s a charm” is not always accurate. If these rumors are true and she is planning a comeback, it will be the Democrats’ biggest mistake since nominating Biden.
Clinton would be yet another factor to widen the gap between the two poles of the Democratic Party. She was rejected by the American people in 2016 while carrying a lot of baggage that would again clear the victory path for any Republican candidate.
The US ought to stop recycling its politicians and open the door to young, ambitious and moderate candidates who are less corrupt and more patriotic.
• Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy.