Election Live Updates: Abortion and Inflation Raise Issues for Biden and Trump

Abortion, inflation, the war in Gaza and at least one felony criminal trial.

As President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump turn to their fateful rematch in November, many of the key issues driving the 2024 race — each posing clear vulnerabilities to the two major candidates — have collided this week. For voters, the campaigns are honing their messages as they try to emphasize strengths and exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.

It now appears all but certain that a felony criminal trial for Mr. Trump in New York will go forward on Monday — a historic first for a former president now running for a second term. After a series of failed last-minute attempts to delay the New York trial, Mr. Trump complained on social media on Wednesday that he should be absolutely immune from criminal charges. Three other felony criminal cases against Mr. Trump are still in pretrial proceedings, and it is unclear when they could go to trial.

With that trial looming for Mr. Trump, a bombshell court decision in Arizona reviving a Civil War-era abortion ban overshadowed his own policy announcement on abortion rights. After stressing on Monday that he believed abortion should be left to the states, and that “whatever they decide must be the law of the land,” Mr. Trump days later voiced his disapproval of the law in Arizona, as well as one in his home state of Florida, where a strict six-week abortion ban is set to go into effect.

Mr. Biden is making abortion rights central to his pitch for a second term, and the issue is a potent one for Democrats, who have won races across the country since the Supreme Court, with three justices nominated by Mr. Trump, overturned Roe v. Wade.

An issue Republicans have hammered against Democrats, inflation, also flared this week. On Wednesday, economic data showed that price increases remained stubbornly high, a blow to the president’s hopes that lowered inflation and a cut to interest rates could soon lift his approval numbers. The economy, particularly inflation, has proved a stubborn problem during the Biden administration. Any relief from the Federal Reserve in the form of a rate cut is now expected later in the year — if at all.

The war in Gaza also remains a sore spot for Mr. Biden, particularly within his own party, with criticism mounting against the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, the killing of aid workers by the Israeli military and Mr. Biden’s material support for the Israeli war effort. In a taped interview that ran on Tuesday, Mr. Biden again criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and called his approach to the war a “mistake.”

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