After 15 years since the first revival, Gladiators is finally returning to our screens on 13th January 2024 on BBC 1. The name of the show is inspired by the eponymous term from Ancient Rome, of a man trained to fight.
Whilst I hope 2024 brings you all health, happiness, and peace, it will also bring an expectedly immense fight between two gladiators. That fight being the US Election. That’s right, it’s US Election year, and whilst it may seem disingenuous to refer to a 77-year-old and an 81-year-old as Gladiators, we can be assured that it is a fight that carries big implications – which we are here to break down for you today.
In the Red Corner, former US President, hailing from Florida, Donald ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) Trump. Here’s his Tale of the Tape:
- Donald Trump has come out swinging with numerous policies he would look to bring in, such as increased tariffs on imports, dramatically restricting immigration, pulling back from overseas wars, and gutting Biden’s climate acts. Divisive acts for a divisive man but appealing to some members of the electorate in border states, and those who feel that Biden has put the World’s affairs ahead of the US’.
- Divisive is certainly the right word, having gone on television and stated he would ‘only be a dictator on day one’. Hardly comforting words but for a President who is being charged with starting an insurrection, not exactly shocking – that’s how much the Overton Window has shifted. Within this 24-hour dictatorship, he aims to root out the ‘communists, Marxists, racists, and radical left thugs that live like vermin’ from the USA, exacting ‘revenge’. Basically, adding fuel to the fire for the MAGA crowd.
- The Washington Post stopped counting after 30,573 false or misleading claims were made by Trump during his presidency. So, it comes as no surprise he is facing lawsuits left, right, and centre. So much so that he has even been struck off the ballot in Colorado and Maine, with the Supreme Court due to weigh in on this decision. And yet, for anyone else this would be political suicide, for Trump it adds to his mystique amongst supporters who see him as being hounded and the only one who can take down Gladiator #2.
And in the Blue Corner, your reigning, defending US President, hailing from Delaware, Joe ‘Build Back Better’ Biden. And here’s his Tale of the Tape:
- Sitting Presidents will always face more criticism than their second-term opponents as they must answer for the current state of affairs in voters’ minds. Just look at Trump’s polling numbers in 2020 to see that the pandemic was arguably his downfall. So, overseeing high inflation whilst passing huge spending bills for the likes of Ukraine and Israel will weigh on voters’ minds.
- Other than abortion, where Republican policies are seen as unattractive, Republicans appear to have the edge with voters on the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. Whilst to outsiders like you and I, something like January 6th may seem unforgiveable – but to those living day to day in the US, they can be concerned about financial stability and illegal immigration whilst also condemning January 6th. So, whilst Biden may focus on condemning Trump, people can still vote for Trump without endorsing everything he says.
- Biden’s seen by many of the electorate as frail, such as when he accidentally called President Xi a dictator after successful relationship talks between the US and China, leading Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cringe live on air. This then adds concern that one, he’s not fit for a second term let alone a national campaign trail, which he largely escaped from doing during the pandemic, and two, should it be necessary for Vice-President Kamala Harris to take power during the second term, she has the lowest approval rating ever for a VP.
There are alternatives to both Trump and Biden still in the running, such as Nikki Haley who is vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. She is seen as more moderate than Trump and has had increasing support as her campaign has progressed, dethroning DeSantis from second place. But second place in the polls she certainly is, double digits behind Trump and his cult of personality.
There is also the gentleman with the famous last name, the controversial Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who is seeking to run as an independent. He will encounter issues with navigating state rules to get on all 50 ballots, but he is seen as a fresh alternative in a gladiatorial encounter between two disliked candidates. According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, one in five Americans would be willing to vote for a third-party candidate – so whilst he is unlikely to win, he could have a material effect in reducing vote counts for Biden or Trump in key swing states.
In a year where, globally, approximately two billion people, or about 50% of the world’s adult population, will have a chance to vote, a lot of possible outcomes are on the table. The US being the most notable of the bunch.
Two days after Gladiators airs on BBC, we may be treated to an even more spectacular TV spectacle. US News channels reacting to the results of the Republican Iowa caucus. The first indication of how legitimate Trump’s challenge to Biden will be.
Ultimately, this will be a battle between a representative of the US democratic system, and someone who has publicly stated his desires to change the game. We will see headline issues taking centre-stage, like misinformation, and these will shape the feelings of the public and thus their voting preferences.
But rest assured we here at Ravenscroft will keep track of ongoing macro events throughout this year to ensure that our clients are stewarded to the best of our abilities.
Happy New Year!