ding-ding. seconds out. round two.

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With the US election still more than eighteen months away, both the incumbent Joe Biden and the challenger Donald Trump have now thrown their collective hats in the ring for their respective party’s presidential nomination, and the latest polls predict a dead-heat between them. The situation begs the question as to who else is going to stand against them and what chance would they have?

In the blue corner, Kamala Harris has experience, is ready and was positioned in 2020 as being Biden’s heir apparent. Several more competent individuals appear to be waiting in the wings: Gretchen Whitmer, Sherrod Brown, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Raskin, but are any of them potential Trump-slayers? All are noticeably younger than Sleepy Joe, more steady on their feet and probably less likely to make the anticipated off-the-cuff gaff that Biden has become renowned for – the two he made in Ireland t’other week were priceless: confusing the All Blacks with the infamous Black & Tans security detail and then musing that Irish food was so good he couldn’t think why his potato-famine-fleeing relatives had left in the first place!

In the red corner, the twice-impeached Trump declared his candidacy early enough to use his legal troubles to raise millions of dollars and his iron grip on the MAGA stalwarts remains steadfast. It’s hard, if not impossible, to imagine either the governors of Florida and Virginia, Ron DeSantis and Glen Youngkin respectively, managing to wrestle the Republican nomination away from him. Furthermore, his reinstatement as the man-of-the-moment on disgraced media network, Fox news, tells its own story. Another Trump term would be nothing short of a catastrophe and could potentially signal the end of the US as we know it.

Contrast this with the governing Democratic party that have recently signed three gigantic bills – the $1.9tn Covid relief package, the $1tn bipartisan infrastructure law and the climate and health spending bill – and you witness an alliance that, after years of deadlock and impasse, are finally getting things done. The party remains resolute wrt Russia/Ukraine and continues to play hard-ish ball with China. The isolationist stance of recent years, whilst not fully disappeared, is now at least now nuanced.

So, the answer to who is going to be the next POTUS remains in the balance. Joseph R Biden Jr, the old frail guy who’s not particularly popular but who is a proven Trump-trumper, will go head-to-head with his orange nemesis again but the result is too close to call and it will go down to the wire. It’s beginning to look a lot like 2020. Again.