NBC News contributor Danielle Pletka was visibly shocked Sunday after Democratic pollster and fellow contributor Cornell Belcher said former President Donald Trump could beat President Joe Biden in the 2024 race.
The panel was discussing recent polls showing Biden in a dead heat with most Republican candidates.
Pletka, who serves as a Senior Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, noted both Biden and Trump will face struggles campaigning, arguing Biden can’t hide in his basement anymore. Pletka said voters, despite dissatisfaction with both parties, nevertheless vote for one of the two major candidates.
“Here’s the X-factor, because it can become 2016 again, because you had so many people who said, ‘I’m gonna protest my vote, I’m the lesser of two evils,’ by the way, and that’s how Donald Trump wins. He wins by subtraction,” Belcher said. “So when you look inside the polling, all the [voters] who were once voting — who got him to 51% — they’re now looking at third parties.”
“[Voters] are disgruntled about politics right now,” Belcher continued. (RELATED: CNN Host Says ‘What Ails [Biden] The Most Can’t Be Fixed’)
“Did I just hear you say that you think Donald Trump could win the 2024 election against Joe Biden?” a shocked Pletka asked.
“If 2016 happens again,” Belcher said, pointing again to a small percentage of voters who would be make-or-break it votes in key states. Belcher noted Trump won Wisconsin by a slim majority in 2016 because former Obama voters voted for a third party.
A new CNN poll found, if the election were held today, 47% of voters would choose Trump while just 46% said they’d choose Biden. The poll also found 46% of voters would choose any Republican candidate over Biden and 58% of voters blame Biden’s policies for worsened economic conditions.