The 2024 U.S. presidential election is making history on many levels. It pits a former president, Republican Donald Trump, against the current one, Democrat Joe Biden, in the country's first presidential election rematch in nearly 70 years. At 81, Biden, a Democrat, would be the oldest American to win a presidential election should he secure a second four-year term in November. He has rebuffed questions about his mental acuity and physical stamina.

Trump, who faces a battery of criminal charges for attempting to overturn his 2020 defeat to Biden and other alleged misdeeds, is the first U.S. president to stand trial on a criminal charge.

Trump, who turns 78 in June, would also be among the oldest men ever to serve as president should he win another term.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 70, a scion of the storied political family, is running as an independent candidate with the potential of serving as a spoiler candidate who siphons votes from Biden or Trump. National opinion polls show Biden and Trump locked in a tight race in a head-to-head matchup ahead of the Nov. 5 general election, with voters citing the economy, border security and political extremism as top concerns. Both candidates suffer from low approval ratings, making turnout a potential issue in November. Trump has refused to say he will abide by the election results. He and his allies are laying the groundwork for a significant poll-watching effort and potential post-election legal challenges.



Biden's pitch for a second term rests on his stewardship of the economy as it emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, and what he calls the "battle for the soul of America," a fight against Trump and aligned Republicans whom Biden labels as extremists. With Trump atop the Republican ticket, much of Biden's campaign is focused on warning voters that Trump poses a mortal threat to American democracy. Biden has accused Trump of instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and plotting revenge against those seeking to punish him. At the same time, the president and his campaign have argued that the economy, which is the top priority for many voters, has rebounded significantly, with unemployment dropping to generational lows, gross domestic product growing faster than expected and wages rising.

However, inflation continues to be a sticking point after peaking in 2022. While it has eased in recent months, voters remain concerned about the high price of staples such as food, fuel, cars and housing.

Biden can point to federal investments in infrastructure, clean energy and chip manufacturing that he says will generate long-term job growth.

On foreign policy, Biden is a traditionalist who believes in the U.S. taking a leading role in international affairs to maintain global security.



Trump and his campaign contend that Americans were better off economically during his time in the White House, pointing to inflation and high interest rates under Biden’s watch. Voters gave the edge to Trump over Biden in terms of which candidate is better for the economy by 41% to 34%, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in April.

Trump has said he will cut federal spending, which Republicans blame for stoking inflation and triggering consumer-price spikes; trim back federal regulations; and lower taxes. Trump also has said he will revive stricter immigration policies from his time in office to stem the record flow of migrants into the U.S. from Mexico and conduct mass deportations. Thousands of those migrants have been bussed to large cities across the country, taxing public resources. Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the influx has led to a spike in violent crime.

As a rebuttal to Biden’s charge that he is a danger to democracy, Trump has accused the Biden White House of weaponizing the Justice Department in order to prosecute him and prevent him from winning another term. The Justice Department says it acts without political bias.

On foreign policy, Trump embraces what he calls an “America First” agenda that seeks to avoid international entanglements. He has pledged to keep the country out of “forever wars,” and claims he could end the Ukraine-Russia conflict within 24 hours.



Trump faces indictments in four cases in federal and state courts for his efforts to undermine the 2020 election, his mishandling of classified documents and his role in a hush money scheme involving a porn star. The hush money trial is under way in state court in Manhattan. It is the only case against Trump certain to go to trial this year. Trump has maintained his innocence in all the cases. The legal calendars for those cases pose obstacles for Trump's ability to campaign, although the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear Trump's presidential immunity claim related to his federal election interference case could delay that trial indefinitely depending on when a ruling is issued.


WHERE DO BIDEN AND TRUMP STAND ON ABORTION? Democrats have made abortion central to their 2024 campaign, two years after the Supreme Court – powered by a conservative majority that Trump installed – overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and ruled that abortion was not constitutionally protected.

Opinion polls show most Americans don’t favor strict limits on reproductive rights, and Democrats are hoping threats to those rights will encourage millions of women and independents to vote their way this year.

Biden, a Roman Catholic who at times has disagreed with his party’s support for abortion rights, has pledged to sign legislation into law codifying them after the Supreme Court struck down Roe. The issue has divided Republicans, with Trump saying the matter should be left to individual states and others pushing for a national ban. Trump supports exceptions for rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother.


WHERE DO BIDEN AND TRUMP STAND ON BORDER SECURITY? Since taking office in 2021, Biden has grappled with record numbers of migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Some liberal Democrats have criticized Biden for turning to Trump-style enforcement measures to reduce illegal crossings, while the White House maintains it is moving to a more humane and orderly system by offering new ways for migrants to enter legally. Trump, who has blamed Biden for reversing more restrictive Trump-era policies, has pledged to step up border security and oversee the largest deportation effort in U.S. history. Trump in February urged congressional Republicans to back away from a bipartisan bill that gave his party many of the border-related measures it sought in order to avoid giving Biden a policy victory.


WHERE DO BIDEN AND TRUMP STAND ON THE ISRAEL-HAMAS CONFLICT? Biden has been heavily criticized by many Democrats for his steadfast support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza, with protests breaking out in cities and on university campuses nationwide. The Biden administration has called for the Israeli government to temper its assault on Gaza, where more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to health officials, and has blocked at least one U.S. shipment of weapons to Israel.

Trump and Republicans also back Israel, and have accused pro-Palestinian protesters of being antisemitic. But Trump has urged Israel to “finish up” the war or risk losing global support. He has not been clear about whether his policy toward Israel would be different from Biden’s.


WHERE DO BIDEN AND TRUMP STAND ON CHINA? The Biden administration has said it wants to "de-risk" and not "de-couple" its relationship with China and work to keep the competition between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economic powers from escalating into conflict. Even so, Biden recently proposed slapping more tariffs on Chinese goods such as steel and aluminum products.

Biden has sworn to protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack. Trump favors a policy of strategic ambiguity to deliberately create uncertainty about how the U.S. would act if there was a Chinese invasion.

While some Republicans view China as a rising national security threat, Trump largely has characterized the Asian giant as an economic rival and has vowed to impose further tariffs on Chinese imports.



Biden has been a fierce advocate of providing weapons and other assistance to Ukraine in its war with Russia, while Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about whether such aid lies in the U.S.'s national interest.

Trump more recently said, however, that the survival of Ukraine was important to the U.S. Trump in April declined to lobby against passage of a $95 billion bipartisan aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan spearheaded by Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson even as it was opposed by Trump's allies in Congress. In February, Trump made waves when he suggested the U.S. should not defend NATO countries that do not meet their obligations to contribute to their national defense.



Republicans will formally nominate Trump this summer at the party's convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while Democrats will nominate Biden at their convention in Chicago.

That both parties are holding their conventions in the Midwest shows the value they are placing on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went for Trump in 2016 and flipped to Biden in 2020.

Arizona, Georgia and Nevada have also proven to be closely divided and contain growing populations that could determine the next election. Another key battleground could be North Carolina, a Southern state with an increasingly diverse electorate.

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(Reporting by James Oliphant; Additional reporting by Ted Hesson and Heather Timmons; Editing by Ross Colvin, Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)