US Presidential Elections 2024: Joe Biden wins enough delegates to clinch Democratic nomination

Meanwhile, other former US President Donald Trump is expected to win nomination for the Republican party soon too

AP
First Published13 Mar 2024
File image: US President Joe Biden has formally clinched a second straight Democratic nomination. Now his party’s presumptive nominee, he faces an all-but-certain rematch with former President Donald Trump.
File image: US President Joe Biden has formally clinched a second straight Democratic nomination. Now his party’s presumptive nominee, he faces an all-but-certain rematch with former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)

United States President Joe Biden, who took office aiming to steady a nation convulsed by the coronavirus pandemic and the January 6 insurrection, clinched a second straight Democratic nomination Tuesday and set up an all-but-certain rematch with the predecessor he blames for destabilizing the country.

Biden became his party's presumptive nominee when he won enough delegates in Georgia. That pushed Biden's count past 1,968 for a majority of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this August, where his nomination will be made official. Former President Donald Trump is expected to clinch the Republican nomination shortly.

Biden, who mounted his first bid for president 37 years ago, did not face any serious Democratic challengers to his run for reelection at age 81. That's despite facing low approval ratings and a lack of voter enthusiasm for his presidency — driven in part by his age.

Just 38 percent of US adults approve of how Biden is handling his job as president while 61 percent disapprove, according to a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Biden and his allies are betting that over a bruising seven-and-a-half-month general election, his Democratic base and independent voters fearful of a second Trump presidency will stand with him despite their misgivings. Their strategy to constantly highlight Trump's perceived shortcomings — combined with Trump's plan to attack Biden in brutally personal terms — sets up a spiritless campaign that many Americans said they didn't want but will have to decide in November anyway.

Biden has tried to frame the race as a battle for freedom, both at home and abroad. He contrasts his support for Ukraine and work to expand NATO with Trump's praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his suggestion that he would tell Russia to attack NATO allies he considers delinquent.

Biden is pushing back on GOP-led efforts to restrict abortion rights that have also jeopardized in vitro fertilization procedures. Democrats credit the backlash to the Supreme Court overturning a federal right to abortion for electoral victories over the last two years. Trump appointed three of the justices who voted to strike down Roe v. Wade and had taken credit for the decision.

But despite major accomplishments and what his allies see as advantages on key issues, Biden enters a rematch with Trump with vulnerabilities he can't easily fix.

The legislator-in-chief

In his first two years in office, Biden signed into law long-term investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure as well as spending to boost America's semiconductor industry. The Senate confirmed Biden's nominee to the Supreme Court and made Ketanji Brown Jackson the first Black woman to become a justice.

The US emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic in an economic boom with low unemployment. After Trump fought his 2020 election loss on the basis of debunked theories about fraud, Biden signed an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act intended to make it harder for presidential losers to overturn election results in Congress.

And as Russia began massing troops on Ukraine's borders, Biden administration officials warned Putin not to invade, then declassified intelligence to build international support for Kyiv. Backed by weapons and intelligence from the U.S. and Western Europe, Ukraine resisted Russian plans to replace President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a puppet government and has kept most of its territory against its much larger foe.

But the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan left indelible images of desperate people trying to flee a country that American troops fought to secure for two decades and lost in a matter of months to the Taliban. Thirteen US troops died in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport during the evacuation of American citizens and allies.

With the economic growth came surging inflation that raised basic prices for Americans and ate into the income gains many people made. Inflation has slowed from its highs two years ago, but just 34 per cent of US adults say they agree with how Biden has handled the economy, according to an AP-NORC survey.

And after campaigning to reverse Trump's immigration crackdown, Biden's White House struggled to process record numbers of people crossing the US-Mexico border without authorization — sometimes thousands of people a day. Republican states sent migrants on buses to Democratic-led cities that struggled to shelter them. 

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