2024 Election – Who is the “Change” Candidate? How Will Voters Express Frustration if We Don’t Get One?

Who is the “Change” candidate in a Biden vs Trump re-match.?  My gut says neither.

But US voters have pretty reliably voted for “change” since the GFC and Iraq war gutted elite credibility.   So do they force a “change” candidate onto the ballot?  Do they stay home in droves?  Overturn the apple cart in some other way?  I don’t have a good answer.  Just asking the questions…

The twin blows of the Iraq War’s lies and the GFC’s naked self-dealing collapsed elite credibility under George II.  Since then, “Change” has been the best predictor of election outcomes.  The specifics vary by election, but the underlying theme has remained constant.

  • Obama in 2008 – the original “change” candidate – bounced Hillary out in the primaries
  • Trump in 2016 – Presented with the uniquely unappealing non-choice of Hillary and Jeb Bush, voters grabbed the wheel to (eventually) vote in Trump and (nearly) Bernie Sanders.  People forget just how far and fast that election went off the rails on both sides.
  • Biden in 2020 – a bit more complicated, but voters definitely voted for a “change” from Trump.

Democrat:  Biden definitely isn’t the “change” candidate in 2024.  It doesn’t look like we’ll get a real alternative to Biden in the Democratic primaries.


  • Trump was the 2016 “change” candidate, but that fresh feeling is gone.
  • Could DeSantis end up the “change” candidate?  Maybe, except that he’s not running on “change” as much as “I’ll be a more ruthless and disciplined version of Trump.” He could escalate the anti-elitism to full-throated “populist class war” levels, but his (highly concentrated) financial backers would yank his funding.
  • Could one of the other Republican candidates emerge as the “change” candidate?  That seems more plausible in theory.

But what’s the “change” message that still wins over the MAGA voters?  The best bet likely is “full-throated populist class war…”  But that seems a stretch for most of the people running.  It would definitely send the big dollars back over to Biden.

So how do US voters express that desire for “change?”  The frustration with stale politics is still pretty obviously there.  A Biden v Trump re-match isn’t going to scratch that itch.

Do they go down one level and throw out Congressional incumbents?  Or just stay home?  Or mount a more serious insurrection?

No clue.  But my guess is that frustration will find an outlet somewhere…

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