To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

The eerie similarities between Biden and Obama's run for a second term

The eerie similarities between Biden and Obama's run for a second term

Biden's bid for a second term in the White House is hanging in the balance.

With the 2024 campaign trail now in full swing, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the focus of round-the-clock coverage on news outlets, constant online chatter and multimillion-dollar campaigns, as a repeat of the 2020 face-off between the pair edges closer to reality.

And with sitting president’s chances of a second term hanging in the balance, commentators are drawing comparisons between Biden and former running mate Barack Obama’s own difficult re-election bid back in 2012.

Joe Biden is hoping for a second term in the White House.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Record-setting votes

The 2020 presidential election saw Biden beat his opponent with 306 college electoral votes to 232; and in the popular vote by just over 81 million votes to Trump's 74.2 million.

His vote tally broke a record set by Obama, who made history in 2008 by achieving some 69.4 million votes.

However, in 2012, when Obama took on Republican nominee Mitt Romney in his bid to remain in the White House, he faced a far tougher reception from the American public and media.

Much like Biden, Obama was regularly behind – or level with – his Republican opponent in polls in the run-up to the 2012 election.

Romney even led Obama in the final poll before the election. Similarly, both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton faced bleak polling numbers ahead of an election for a second term that both ultimately won.

Obama's bid for a second term was not a smooth ride.
Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

Democratic challengers

An incumbent President typically doesn't participate in a primary for their party, but occasionally they will have challengers. This election cycle, Biden faced Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips, who struggled to make an impact and ultimately endorsed Biden.

Similarly, when Obama was running for a second term, there were calls for him to be replaced on the ticket for the Democrats by his then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. A poll released in 2010 showed a third of registered Democrats backed this.

There was even talk that Bernie Sanders was strongly considering a primary challenge to Obama, who was battling to keep America on track economically after the 2008 recession.

Joe Biden still faces the third-party candidacy of Robert Kennedy Jr. The son of Robert Kennedy and nephew of John F. Kennedy, RFK Jr. ran initially as a Democrat in the primary but ultimately decided on a third-party run as an independent.

While Biden insiders initially worried that this could pave the way for a Donald Trump victory, RFK Jr's anti-vaccine stance and embracing of conspiracy theories make him more likely to pull votes from Trump, who was hammered by his own supporters on Truth Social after taking credit for the Covid vaccines.

When Obama was running for a second term, there were calls for him to be replaced by Hillary Clinton.
Christy Bowe/ Getty Images

Mid-term mayhem

Biden has so far exceeded expectations and defied polling where it matters most — the ballot box. Historically, incumbent presidents and their parties have suffered huge losses in the mid-term elections; Democrats lost control of the House for the first time in decades in 1994 when Bill Clinton was President and suffered a record 70-year loss in 2010 at the end of Obama's first term.

In 2022, Biden's second year in office, there was talk of a ‘red wave’ and not 'if' but how much Republicans could win both the House and the Senate by. Ultimately, Republicans fell far short of expectations and ended up with a slim majority in the House after a handful of wins against Democrats, but failed to win the Senate. That majority in the House has only gotten slimmer since then.

Biden beat Trump in the popular vote by just over 81 million votes to Trump's 74.2 million back in 2020.
Win McNamee/ Getty Images

Constructive criticism

Biden has faced criticism from high-profile Obama staffers, like David Axelrod, a senior advisor to the former President. Famously, in 2012 Axelrod feared Obama would lose and offered the President a ‘tough love’ perspective, telling him he needed to pivot and ‘let Obama be Obama’. It worked.

Democrats widely criticized Axelrod for saying Biden should consider stepping aside for a younger candidate. Pointing out a poll in November that forecasted Trump winning five battleground states. He added on his X account that he 'has a 50-50 shot here, but no better than that, maybe a little worse'. It was the same 'tough love' perspective that Obama had gotten.

Even though he doesn't work for Biden's campaign, Axelrod is a hugely influential figure in the Democratic Party and felt it needed to be said. While Biden reportedly didn't take the unsolicited advice well, allegedly calling Axelrod a ‘p**k’, his campaign seems to have taken heed of their critics.

Featured Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

Topics: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, US News, Politics