While the Republican Party put on quite a spectacle in its recent quest to finally elect Mike Johnson as the new Speaker of the House, it would be easy to predict that party infighting could be proving costly to the GOP in terms of their 2024 election hopes. While that may yet prove to be true, the increasingly tumultuous global political environment, paired with recent domestic political developments, could be setting up a GOP advantage in the 2024 election cycle.
Israel-Hamas War and preventing acts of terrorism
In the last few weeks, the world has watched in horror as terror and all-out war has consumed Israel and the Gaza strip. Following the October 7th attacks by Hamas which killed over 1,400 Israelis, the region has broken out into all-out war, with threats to Israel mounting on all sides.
Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates and, in my view an unmatched historian, recently laid out why he believes this latest hot war is another step toward true international conflict.
“Based on the perspective I have gained from studying history and from my over 50 years of experiences betting on what’s likely to happen,” writes Dalio, “it seems to me that the Israel-Hamas war is another classic, unfortunate step toward a more violent and encompassing international war. In other words, it’s part of a larger war dynamic. Anyone who has studied history and is watching what is going on should be concerned.”
Indeed, the war in Gaza is far from what we’ve been accustomed to seeing in the region, with periodic outbreaks of rocket fire only to be silenced within a few weeks. We all know this conflict is far different, and far worse than anything we have seen in recent memory.
This new and unfortunate war, from a domestic political standpoint, could end up providing Republicans with more support in the 2024 election cycle. National defense and combating terrorism have historically been issues that favor Republicans, and although President Biden has talked clearly and resolutely about supporting our greatest Middle East ally in the early-going, conventional wisdom would dictate that a deteriorating situation in Israel could sway independent voters toward the GOP in next year’s election cycle.
Robert F. Kennedy’s Independent bid and other third parties
Just weeks ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. broke ranks with the Democrat party, announcing his independent run for the White House. While there is much debate on who will ultimately benefit from Kennedy’s potential spoiler candidacy, early polls are suggesting that Trump could gain the most from Mr. Kennedy’s independent bid.
A recent ABC News article laid out both sides of the argument, but to me it seems clear (at this stage, anyway), that Kennedy may ultimately prove to spoil President Biden’s re-election bid.
While most polling continues to exclude Kennedy from presidential preference questions, five recent polls highlighted by ABC News point to marginal gains for Former President Trump. In polling examined by ABC News, Trump currently holds just a 0.5% advantage over Biden when Kennedy is excluded. However, polls that present a hypothetical three-way matchup between Biden, Trump and Kennedy raises Trump’s margin over Biden to 1.8%.
Biden also continues to face a major enthusiasm problem within his own party. According to a recent Marist College poll, only 30% of Democrat voters indicate that they will be “very satisfied” with Biden as their party’s nominee, potentially making it easier for some disillusioned Democrats to make the switch to Kennedy.
And while RFK’s campaign is already complicating matters for Democrats, the multi-million dollar elephant in the room is No Labels, the extremely well-funded political organization whose stated mission is to support centrism and bipartisanship. No Labels has already announced that it would be fielding its own presidential ticket in the 2024 election if the two major parties nominate candidates that the group believes are not capable of uniting the country. Should this organization formally endorse a candidate, the waters get extremely muddy for both Democrats and Republicans, though I believe it presents far more of a threat to Democrats than Republicans at this point when you add-in the RFK factor
Although three-way polling is still limited, and a No Labels candidate has yet to be endorsed, the early numbers we are seeing tell me that an RFK Jr. campaign, coupled with a potential No Labels candidate is a big problem for the Democrats and a net positive for Republicans going into 2024.