To be clear, no one in President Biden’s White House would ever root for Donald J. Trump. To a person, they consider him an existential threat to the nation. But as they watched Mr. Trump open the contest for the Republican presidential nomination with a romp through Iowa, they also saw something else: a pathway to a second term.

Mr. Biden’s best chance of winning re-election in the fall, in their view, is a rematch against Mr. Trump. The former president is so toxic, so polarizing that…


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