And there goes another week. Welcome back to our weekly recap of the latest news related to the 2024 US presidential election. Have you missed us? Because we missed you and used the past couple of days to prepare a new roundup of election essentials for you.
This week, we’re focusing on Joe Biden’s campaign strategy, which is increasingly starting to focus on reproductive rights, as well as heightening concerns about the mental fitness of competitor former president Donald Trump.
On 24 June 2022, Roe v Wade, a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court that made abortion a constitutional right, was overturned by a largely conservative court of judges. Democrats have framed this decision as an endeavour to push a right-wing agenda against the will of the people, since polls showed that roughly 62 per cent were against the dissolution of Roe v Wade.
Its reversion 18 months ago also unleashed a wave of anti-abortion laws across the US, including more than a dozen states where abortion is now effectively outlawed in all cases.
Consequently, it makes sense for Biden to tie the issue directly to Trump, who has appointed three of the nine Supreme Court judges that were central to overturning the decision.
On Monday 22 January, Harris went on a nationwide tour to focus attention on the administration’s efforts to protect the right of women to choose. Her tour started in Wisconsin, where abortion rights propelled a Democratic victory in a key state Supreme Court election. The Vice President’s office stated that she will aim to “highlight the harm caused by extreme abortion bans and share stories of those who have been impacted in Wisconsin and across the country.”
In other campaign strategy moves, it looks like Biden supporters are looking to turn the tables on former President Trump by highlighting his mental unfitness for office, after a verbal slip-up at a campaign rally that seemed very odd, even for Trump standards.
During a campaign speech on 19 January 2024 in Concord, New Hampshire, the former US President falsely claimed that his rival GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley was in charge of security during the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, apparently confusing her with former House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The footage has since gone viral on social media and describes Trump as “deeply confused” and having “lost it.”
On Saturday 20 January, even his GOP rival Nikki Haley joined in the criticism about Trump’s latest remarks at one of her rallies: “Last night, Trump is at a rally and he’s going on and on mentioning me several times as to why I didn’t take security during the Capitol riots. Why I didn’t handle 6 January better. I wasn’t even in DC on 6 January. I wasn’t in office then,” Haley said.
“They’re saying he got confused. That he was talking about something else. That he was talking about Nancy Pelosi. He mentioned me multiple times in that scenario,” the former US ambassador added.
“The concern I have is—I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it.”
Former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it “significant” that Haley herself questioned Trump’s mental fitness after the incident.
Since then, other footage featuring Trump’s slip-ups, or highlighting his age or assumed ailments has gone viral on social media.
However, focusing on Trump’s advanced age and mental unfitness doesn’t come without challenges: “In a perfect world, it will nullify the age arguments against Biden, but if Democrats call attention to Trump’s gaffes, they open the door for the same scrutiny of Biden,” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist and director of the public policy programme at Hunter College to The Hill.
I guess time will have to tell how voters view abortions and the mounting evidence for Trump’s unfitness. If there are any updates, we’ll report on them next week. See you then!