Biden, Trump lock up party nominations, setting stage for presidential rematch

Biden and Trump each faced primary challengers and both managed to lose at least one nominating contest.
Trump and Biden

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening were each projected to secure enough delegates to lock up their respective party nominations and participate in a November rematch.

Biden cleared his party's 1,968-delegate threshold early in the evening after the Associated Press projected him to win Georgia. Trump cleared the 1,215-degelate GOP threshold later in the evening.

Biden and Trump each faced primary challengers and both managed to lose at least one nominating contest. In Biden's case, he faced Hollywood guru Marianne Williamson and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips. On Super Tuesday, however, he unexpectedly lost American Samoa to entrepreneur Jason Palmer.

Trump faced more opponents, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and a host of others. Haley dropped out last week after managing to win only Washington, D.C., and Vermont.

After the Tuesday primaries in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington, and Hawaii, both parties will continue to hold nominating contests in the remaining states, though the outcome of the overall primaries have been decided.

Attention now will largely turn to speculation over Trump's running mate and the potential for non-traditional parties to gain traction, especially as the former president faces numerous court battles.

Trump's VP pick

Trump in February confirmed that he was considering a host of prominent Republicans and conservatives to join him on the ticket. Among the prominent names were Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and tech mogul Vivek Ramaswamy.

DeSantis has rejected the prospect of becoming Trump's running mate, flatly stating in February that "I am not doing that."

This month, Trump indicated he was open to Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, though the governor indicated he would prefer to remain in his current post.

During a Fox News town hall last month, Trump indicated he did not believe that his choice of vice president would impact the race, saying "[t]he VP choice has absolutely no impact. It's whoever the president is."

Third-party candidates

Polling has consistently shown that U.S. voters would like another option if presented with a Biden-Trump rematch, though that doesn't necessarily mean they would all opt for the same alternative.

At present, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independents Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have all attracted some measure of support for their own bids. The centrist No Labels organization, moreover, has vowed to pursue a presidential ticket despite not having a candidate.

The RealClearPolitics polling average of a hypothetical five-way race between Trump, Biden, Kennedy, West, and Stein shows the candidates earning 41.3%, 38.4%, 12.9%, 2.4%, and 1.7%, respectively.

Legal Challenges

Assuming no candidates drop out or surge to prominence unexpectedly, Trump's legal woes remain one of the potentially most significant factors that could impact the lineup of the race.

The Supreme Court, earlier this month, overturned a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court deeming Trump ineligible for the presidency under the 14th Amendment. The decision effectively shut down attempts by other states such as Maine and Illinois to disqualify him over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Trump does, however, face four criminal cases that could adversely impact his candidacy. Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump in two of those cases, though a D.C. election case is on hold while Trump's immunity appeal proceeds. The Mar-a-Lago classified documents case also faces the prospect of delay. His other cases involve charges from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.