Nominations for Biden and Trump set stage for US presidential election rematch

President may face issues in Washington state with organisers pushing for 'uncommitted' vote due to his Gaza policy

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump. AP
Powered by automated translation

US President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump both clinched their parties' nomination on Tuesday, setting the stage for the first US presidential election rematch in almost 70 years.

Mr Biden won the Democratic presidential nomination by gathering delegates from the swing state of Georgia, overcoming concerns about his leadership from his own party.

He needed 1,968 delegates to win the nomination, and he passed that number on Tuesday night as results began to come in from the primary contest in Georgia, Reuters reported citing Edison Research.

Soon after, Mr Trump clinched the 1,215 delegates required to secure the Republican presidential nomination as four states held contests, including Georgia, the battleground where Mr Trump faces criminal charges for his efforts to overturn the state's 2020 results.

There were 161 delegates at stake on Tuesday in Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi and Washington state.

At 81, Mr Biden is already the oldest president in US history, while 77-year-old Mr Trump is facing decades in prison as a defendant in four criminal cases.

Their rematch – the first featuring two US presidents since 1912 – will almost certainly deepen the nation’s searing political and cultural divides over the eight-month grind that lies ahead, AP said.

In a statement, Mr Biden celebrated the nomination, while casting Mr Trump as a serious threat to democracy.

Mr Biden said Mr Trump “is running a campaign of resentment, revenge, and retribution that threatens the very idea of America”.

“I am honoured that the broad coalition of voters representing the rich diversity of the Democratic Party across the country have put their faith in me once again to lead our party – and our country – in a moment when the threat Trump poses is greater than ever,” Mr Biden said.

Inside the Arab American campaign to unseat US President Joe Biden in 2024 – video

Inside the Arab American campaign to unseat US President Joe Biden in 2024

Inside the Arab American campaign to unseat US President Joe Biden in 2024

While he has generally won handily in states thus far, Mr Biden faced some issues in Washington state, where organisers were pushing Democrats to mark “uncommitted” on their ballots, which is not an option in every state.

The move is a protest against Mr Biden's Gaza policy after similar campaigns in Michigan and Minnesota that gained tens of thousands of votes.

In Washington, more than 48,000 Democratic voters – about 7.4 per cent – marked “uncommitted” on their ballots. Though the results do not compare to that of Michigan, where more than 100,000 cast uncommitted votes, it has likely sent a strong message to Mr Biden to review his approach to the Israel-Gaza war.

The outcome in the Republican races was essentially predetermined, after Mr Trump's last remaining rival for nomination, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, ended her presidential campaign following Super Tuesday, when her opponent won 14 of 15 state contests.

There is no longer any doubt that the autumn general election will feature a rematch between two flawed and unpopular presidents.

This year, voters have expressed little enthusiasm for a repeat of the bitter 2020 election, with Reuters/Ipsos public polls showing Mr Biden and Mr Trump are unpopular with most voters.

Mr Trump's myriad criminal charges – he faces 91 felony counts across four separate indictments – could harm his standing among the suburban, well-educated voters whose support he has historically struggled to garner.

He is scheduled to become the first former US president to go on trial in a criminal case on March 25 in New York, where he faces charges he falsified business records to hide hush-money payments to an adult film star.

The most serious case against him is generally thought to be the federal indictment in Washington, accusing him of plotting to reverse the 2020 election.

But the case is on hold after the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr Trump's claim of presidential immunity, and it is unclear whether a trial can take place before Election Day.

Updated: March 13, 2024, 1:36 PM