Political analyst Charlie Cook predicts a Biden-Trump rematch, but says both parties will benefit from a new nominee

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Political analyst Charlie Cook predicts a Biden-Trump rematch, but says both parties will benefit from a new nominee

Political analyst Charlie Cook told Iowans at Drake University that he believes the country will see a 2020 rematch of the 2024 presidential general election between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

But he said both parties would be better off if they could find another nominee. Cook, the founder and former editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report, spoke about his views on the 2024 primary and general election at an annual event hosted by the Harkin Institute, where he serves as a National Advisory Council member. .

As the 2024 Republican presidential nomination approaches, presidential hopefuls are spending significant time on the campaign trail. Candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are barnstorming Iowa in hopes of pulling off an upset against Trump. The former president holds double-digit poll leads nationally and in early states.

While there are “talented people” seeking the nomination, Cook said he doesn’t believe the race for the Republican ticket is competitive. There are some rallying behind Trump’s alternatives among some influential Republicans in the first state — including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Family Leader president and CEO Bob Vander Plaats who endorsed DeSantis and the Koch Network who endorsed Haley.

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Cook said he understands why some influential conservatives are endorsing candidates who may better align with their political goals. But he said he doesn’t believe these endorsements — or the move to consolidate a “Never Trump” vote at this point would make a significant dent in the former president’s leadership.

“The Trump people — I mean, those people are all over the place, and if they don’t show up to the caucus it means they’re either dead or out,” he said. “I mean, they are committed. And the Republicans who aren’t of the Trump variety, some of them are angry, but most of them are a little more withdrawn and withdrawn, and they’re not participating.

He said that although national polls do not necessarily give a realistic view of an electoral college result, Trump’s position as a former president and popularity within the party give him a tin -view competitors’ content. But he also said Trump is running a more traditional campaign than in previous election cycles.

“In 2016, I think the Trump campaign did better than we all thought,” Cook said. “But they are still lucky. It gets a lot of breaks. But let me tell you, this campaign this time, is much better than before in 2016 and 2020.

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Trump’s fortunes in 2016 came from facing off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cook said, noting that voter distaste for Clinton had a greater impact on the election than support for Trump. A similar situation is unfolding in 2020, he said — the election is more about anti-Trump than it is enthusiasm for Biden.

But polls show that Biden faces problems with key voters in swing states, as well as independents, Cook said. He cited a recent New York Times/Siena Poll of battleground states that found Trump leading Biden in five of the six states that Biden nearly won in the last presidential election.

While Cook said he likes Biden as a person, he believes the party is more likely to win in 2024 if they choose a different nominee. There was scattered applause in the auditorium when he called on Biden to step aside and allow the party to nominate a more “terrible” competitor to face Trump.

“We just take Joe or Jane, any generic current or recent Democratic governor or senator and put them in the nominee against Trump — specifically against Trump — that person is going to win,” he said. “I mean, even with all the other problems that the Democrats have, that person is going to win because that race is about Trump.”

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Current Cook Political Report ratings show that 235 electoral college votes are currently leaning, likely or strongly Republican, while 247 votes are predicted to go to Democrats. Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin comprise 35 “throwaway” votes before the 2024 presidential election.

When asked about a potential third-party candidate, Cook said he believed someone entering the race would likely hurt Biden, as well as other Democrats, more than Trump would. Many of the moderates and independents who supported Biden in 2020 because they want Trump out of office are also unhappy with Biden, he said.

“A pretty big group of these people, they’re not excited about voting for Joe Biden, they’re not,” he said. “But if there are two names on the ballot, most of them will hold their noses if they have to, they’ll go with Biden. But if you give them an exit ramp, if you give them another option — if it’s more attractive , enough of them will take it.