Biden’s Risky 2nd Candidacy

The sitting U.S. president originally pitched himself as a man of transition from the Trump era to normalcy. Now, the 80-year-old is aiming for a second term.

It was just about three years ago when Joe Biden stood up in front of a group of younger fellow members of the Democratic Party and spoke. “I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” he said. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”]

The ex-vice president was 77 years old at the time and vying for the Democratic nomination for election to the White House. Now, he is 80 years old and has half of his term behind him — and has declared that he will run for reelection in 2024.

Biden would be 86 years old at the end of his second term. Even in the U.S., with its incredible feats of engineering, there is probably no bridge that long.

Even Biden probably did not expect that his announcement would be met with euphoria and enthusiasm. It is too clear that the people, and even his own party, want a younger generation in the Oval Office. But the president is convinced — also by the possible alternatives — that he would be the best one to heal the divided country, reclaim the working class for his party and preserve the democracy from looming destruction.

Legislation on Infrastructure, Climate and Social Initiatives

Biden has, in fact, achieved far more in two years that many had expected. Despite the bitter opposition of Republicans and significant infighting in his own party, he has ushered in massive legislation on infrastructure, climate and social initiatives. He can point to rising employment rates and growing wages. And he was able to use the midterm elections, which are usually used to teach the party in power a lesson, to marginally increase the Democrats’ narrow majority in the Senate. Internationally, he is the uncontested leader of the Western alliance, which had previously been tarred as “brain dead,” opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our work is not done,” Biden declared in his State of the Union address in February. He now attacks the “radical” and “intolerant” Republicans much more harshly than he did during his first candidacy. That Donald Trump stands a good chance, at least as of now, of being their candidate for president is probably only strengthening Biden’s will to fight — he is, after all, the only politician to have beaten Trump. Polls indicate that most Americans do not want to see either Biden or Trump in the White House again. But a clear majority of them will grit their teeth and choose the solid incumbent over the narcissistic rampager.

Bad Starting Position

All of that may explain why no serious challenger is putting their hat in the ring for the Democrats. The Democratic candidate in 2024 will almost certainly be named Joe Biden. But a candidacy at such an advanced age brings with it particular risks. Even now, Biden has seemed stiff, and he flounders if his gaze strays from the teleprompter. Those are not serious impediments, and his doctors have attested to his good health.

But what would happen if Biden didn’t finish his second term? Many Americans are probably asking themselves this question and thinking with concern about the vice president, who would take over in such a scenario. Kamala Harris is already in no way fulfilling the duties of her current office. But Biden apparently can’t find the courage to change his running mate. A fresh face, a successful woman such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar or Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, could bring a positive boost to the octogenarian’s campaign. Harris, on the other hand, is a burden.

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