If the Democratic candidate Joe Biden defeats President Trump in the 2020 election, a future Trump presidency may still be possible under the US Constitution.
The 22nd Amendment merely states that “no person shall be elected to the office of president more than twice,” but does not stipulate that these two terms must be held consecutively.
This means that, according to the law, the president could theoretically run again if he loses after his first four-year term. With President Grover Cleveland, this has happened even earlier.
In 1884 Cleveland became the 22nd President of the United States, but lost his re-election bid four years later to his Republican opponent Benjamin Harrison. In 1892 Cleveland ran for the coveted office again and became the 24th president without having to serve consecutive terms.
Although this happened only once in U.S. history, the idea had already been carried around in the Trump campaign, according to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump’s former adviser told the Australian last month that if the president were to lose the election in 2020, he would probably run again.
“I will make that prediction right now: if the election is stolen by Joe Biden for any reason, or declared the winner in any way, Trump will announce that he will run for re-election in 2024,” he said. “You will not live to see the end of Donald Trump.”
If that happened, Trump would be 78 years old in the 2024 election – a year older than Biden is now.
Current national polls show that Biden is likely to win the election, but an unusually high number of postal votes and close races in the major swing states could make it difficult to make a definitive assessment of the outcome.
This year there has been an unprecedented number of early voters, with over 100 million before election day. This is largely due to the COVID 19 pandemic, in which over 63 million Americans cast their votes by mail – more than twice as many as in the 2016 election.
While high voter turnout tends to favor Democratic candidates, the impact of COVID-19 and early voting in this year’s election is not yet clear.
However, the final survey data suggest that Biden is the leader in the major swing states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In 2016, Trump won the votes of the electoral colleges in each of these Swing states, usually by a narrow margin.
Washington Newsday asked the Trump campaign to comment on the possibility that he would run again in 2024, but did not receive a response in time for publication.