While talking to a class of primary school students on Monday, 22 May in Berlin, Germany, incumbent German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was asked about next year’s US Presidential election. In response, he showed a clear preference for Joe Biden from the Democratic Party, currently in office.
To be precise, he told the students: ‘I think the current president is better, so I want him to be re-elected’, and went on to say about the 46th POTUS that his experience means he knows ‘what you have to do to prevent the world from going to war’. Then, referring to his presumptive challenger, Former President Donald Trump from the Republican Party, he said ‘if all people are only against each other, then there cannot be a good future, and that is why the former president certainly stands for a great division in the country’, as per the reporting of Reuters.
Since Chancellor Scholz is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, his favouring the liberal candidate in an American election is not a major surprise. However, foreign leaders tend to shy away from stating an explicit preference like that, for diplomatic reasons.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also went against that tradition recently. In his speech made at CPAC Hungary 2023 earlier this month, he confidently stated that peace would swiftly come in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war if Trump were to return to the White House; and even addressed him directly, saying ‘Please come back, Mr President!’.
So, both statesmen are making the case that their preferred US Presidential candidate would be better for peace in Eastern Europe. Since there was no military aggression on the part of Russian during Trump’s presidency, while Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula during his predecessor, Barack Obama’s time in office,
and the Russian army reached the capital city of Kyiv in Ukraine under Joe Biden,
Orbán seems to be making the stronger argument.
While it is rare to have a foreign leader openly voice their support for a US presidential candidate, Scholz and Orbán were not the first ones to do so.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admittedly backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016—something many people are aware of, due to the ‘Russiagate’ hoax propagated by the mainstream media, and, as it turns out, the FBI as well. However, it is a lesser known fact that in 2012,
Putin actually gave his open support to Barack Obama, the Democrat President running for re-election.
At the time, Obama also had the backing of Muammar Gaddafi of Lybia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (two rather unsavoury figures in world politics), while his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, was endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
How the 2024 US Presidential Race Is Shaping Up, As of Now
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just announced yesterday, 24 May, that he is officially running for POTUS, in a Twitter space conversation with the social media site’s owner and world’s richest man Elon Musk. However, that announcement—which did not come as a surprise to many—had quite a few technical issues causing some disruption due to the overwhelming traffic the conversation brought to the servers.
DeSantis is currently polling well behind Donald Trump in the Republican primary race, by 34 percentage points in RealClearPolitics’ polling aggregate, to be exact. Evidently, a lot can change with his recent announcement, and with the primary results of the two earliest states in February next year, the caucus in Iowa and the primary election in New Hampshire. However, the fact that President Trump is consistently polling above 50 per cent in a multi-way race is more than a good sign for him—it is very likely he will be leading the Republican ticket again in 2024.
As for the general election, both Trump and DeSantis have a very narrow lead over incumbent President Joe Biden in the RCP average. Trump is up by 1.4, while DeSantis is up by 0.6 points. While many predictions overestimated Republican performance for the 2022 Midterm elections, leading to a disappointing night for conservatives in the US, the RCP average for the national ballot was proved to be remarkably accurate. On election day, it showed Republicans up by 2.5 per cent, and they ended up winning the House popular vote by 2.8 per cent.
No Republican candidate who won the popular vote has ever lost the election,
so if either Trump or DeSantis were to realise their small lead, they would very likely become the next President of the United States.
If President Trump were to win, he would become only the second President in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms, after Democrat Grover Cleveland. Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th POTUS: he was first elected in 1884, then won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in 1888 to Republican Benjamin Harrison (grandson of 9th President William Henry Harrison). Upon leaving the White House, his wife, First Lady Frances Cleveland allegedly told a White House servant to keep everything as it is, as they would be back in four years. If she in fact said these words, she turned out to be correct, as Cleveland won his ‘rematch’ against the incumbent Harrison in 1892.