It is no secret that Joe Biden’s approval ratings have reached an all-time low, but now Democrats are less inclined to vote again. According to the New York Times, a “vocal segment of Democrats — rattled by Biden’s middling approval ratings, concerned about his age, worried about the lack of voter enthusiasm heading into the 2022 midterms.” The election in 2024 could be the Republican’s time to shine!
BUSINESS INSIDER: Democrats are weighing whether Biden should decline to run for reelection in 2024, report says
John L. Dorman; June 11, 2022
Last December, President Joe Biden told ABC News that he planned to run for reelection in 2024 if he remained “in good health.”
And earlier this year in Brussels, he said he’d be “very fortunate” if his 2020 opponent, former President Donald Trump, sought a rematch.
However, an increasingly vocal segment of Democrats — rattled by Biden’s middling approval ratings, concerned about his age, worried about the lack of voter enthusiasm heading into the 2022 midterms — are questioning whether the president should seek reelection in 2024, according to The New York Times.
Many Democratic lawmakers are pondering Biden’s standing in the party, with the base deeply appreciative of the 79-year-old former Delaware senator and two-term vice president for defeating Trump at the ballot box in 2020.
But there also appear to be questions about his ability to lead a hyper-polarized country — especially as Republicans currently remain in a strong position to regain control of one or both houses of Congress.
Democrats have a wafer-thin majority in the House and Senate and have struggled to pass major pieces of legislation outside of last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
And the GOP is looking to 2024 to win back control of the White House, particularly if Trump decides to run again.
The Times spoke with 50 Democratic officials — from local party leaders to members of Congress, along with deflated voters who backed Biden in 2020 — to assess the president’s standing.
Top Democrats mostly declined to go on the record to discuss Biden’s future as the party leader, but the perception among the party’s base that he has not always maximized the bully pulpit of his position and has suffered in the polls accordingly has left some reeling, per the report.
The issues that have become amplified over the past year — including inflation that has hit numbers not seen since the early 1980s, gas prices that have reached $5 nationally, perceived inaction on gun reform in Congress, the potential of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and Democratic infighting over what was the ambitious Build Back Better social-spending package — have taken their toll on the administration and their ability to highlight successes to many of their staunchest supporters.
And sweeping voting-rights legislation has been stalled in Congress since last year due to GOP opposition, much to the frustration of Black voters, who propelled Biden to the White House.
The speculation of a successor
If Biden were to be reelected in 2024, he would be 82 years old at the time of his inauguration in January 2025, and he’d be 86 at the end of his second term. Some Democratic voters have expressed some concern with Biden’s age, in many instances because they feel that his more congenial brand of politics doesn’t mesh well in a highly-partisan Washington, DC.
David Axelrod, a longtime political consultant and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, spoke of the demanding nature of the position and the perception issues that have weighed down Biden.
“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” Axelrod told The Times.
He added: “Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House. And part of the reason he doesn’t is performative. He looks his age and isn’t as agile in front of a camera as he once was, and this has fed a narrative about competence that isn’t rooted in reality.”
While Harris by all public accounts enjoys a solid working relationship with Biden, she struggled to find her footing as vice president in her first year — and would likely not clear the field nomination in an open-seat race.
Potential challengers include many of the younger candidates who sought the Democratic nomination in 2020, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, among others.
While speculation abounds about Biden’s future, some Democrats say such chatter is typical, while others think Biden should only serve for one term.
Steve Simeonidis, a Democratic National Committee member from Florida, told The Times that Biden “should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.”
But Ben LaBolt, who was the national press secretary for successful Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, dismissed the negative talk surrounding Biden’s overall standing.
“This the same hand-wringing that we heard about Barack Obama in 2010 and 2011,” he told the newspaper.
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