With Haley’s Departure, the Rematch Between Biden and Trump Is Now Set


Mr. Biden has cast Mr. Trump as a threat to the very foundations of American democracy. He has cautiously avoided discussing the many legal threats facing the former president, including four criminal indictments and one trial set to begin later this month.

Mr. Trump, 77, has portrayed Mr. Biden, 81, as elderly, enfeebled and unable to perform the basic tasks of the presidency. “It’s the fascists and the communists that surround him — they’re making the calls,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News on Tuesday, in a sign of the caustic and conspiracy-tinged campaign to come. “They’re calling the shots. He’s not calling the shots.”

Much has changed since Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump four years ago.

America withdrew from Afghanistan, Russia invaded Ukraine, the Covid pandemic receded and the stock market soared. Inflation and interest rates spiked — but unemployment did not. The federal right to an abortion was swept away by the Supreme Court, border crossings surged to record highs and a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, during a riot that resulted in charges of federal crimes against more than 1,200 people — including Mr. Trump himself, who is accused of being part of a conspiracy to defraud the nation by subverting the 2020 election result.

The 2024 election is expected to be a referendum on all of that, and more.

Mr. Trump has not yet formally secured the delegates needed for the nomination, but that could come as early as next week. On Thursday, Mr. Biden will have a chance to make his case for a second term during his State of the Union speech.

Mr. Biden, who ran in 2020 to restore “the soul of the nation” by wresting the White House from Mr. Trump, has made freedom a central theme of his candidacy, highlighting abortion rights for women and the need for free elections for everyone. Mr. Trump has made immigration an animating cause of his campaign, promising to seal the border immediately when he returns to the White House, even if it requires being a “dictator,” as he put it, on Day 1.

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