There is a saying that time waits for no one. And for 80-year-old Joe Biden, that could be a problem. Can the president of the United States convince his voters that his age doesn’t matter?
Biden announced on Tuesday that he wants to serve four more years in the White House. According to a recent NBC News poll, Americans aren’t so sure.
According to the survey, 70% of Americans and 51% of Democrats believe he should not seek reelection. And that confirms his age, one major concern for about half of those who want him to step down in 2024.
Biden is already the oldest president in US history. If he succeeds in his re-election, he will take office at age 82 and finish his second four-year term at age 86. According to US government statistics, the average life expectancy of an 82-year-old male is 6.77 years. There is an 8% chance of dying within the next 12 months.
A video outlining his plan to protect “individual liberty” and warning about the threat posed by Republican opponents doesn’t address the age issue head-on. Instead, they play swell instrumentals, interspersed with cuts of animated presidents who look jogging here and engaged there.
The video also repeatedly highlights Vice President Kamala Harris, who will take over the presidency if Biden is incapacitated. The 58-year-old Biden team can hope that her presence will add some life and energy to the campaign. Then Vice President Biden was missing from Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election video.
Video won’t be enough, according to veteran political consultant Bob Shrum, director of the Center for the Political Future and former senior campaign counselor to Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry. it is said to be
“You answer the age question by running a vigorous campaign,” said Mr Shrum. “Don’t answer with words.”
He added that the age issue would only become an issue if Biden made a “serious” mistake or stumbled on the campaign trail. And if that were the case, Republicans, already trying to amplify all Biden’s mistakes, would be ready to make the case that Mr. Biden is no longer fit for the presidency.
Last year, 54 Republicans in the House signed a White House letter expressing “concern” about Biden’s cognitive status and demanding that he be tested for dementia.
The letter went on to list a number of mistakes and misrepresentations Biden made during his presidency.
The letter reads, “These recent missteps are not isolated incidents, as they are part of a larger history of your behavior demonstrating cognitive decline.”
These kinds of sharp “concerns” have been echoed by Donald Trump, who is currently the leading contender for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination. At political rallies ahead of last year’s midterm congressional elections, Mr. Trump often showed the crowd various blunders and mistakes of Mr. Biden.
“Joe Biden can’t speak clearly,” Trump said while introducing the video at an October rally in Arizona. “He can’t think clearly.”
According to Jim Messina, who led Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Democrats may be counting on Trump (who is only four years younger than Biden) to help mitigate the age problem.
“Voters say they’re both old,” Mr Messina told the BBC Americast podcast. “Tell me who will make my life better.”
“The Democrats do one thing every night.” “We sit, get down on our knees, and pray to God that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee.”
Mr. Biden also faced questions about his age four years ago, but the nature of a presidential election amid the Covid-19 pandemic helped insulate the candidate from some of the exposure that comes with national primaries and general election campaigns. And in the end, age was a non-factor in Biden’s victory over Trump.
This time, Mr. Biden will benefit from the campaign as the incumbent president. This includes traveling aboard Air Force One and attending political events carefully planned by professional campaign staff as well as the President’s extensive security detail.
It’s a very different type of experience than what non-incumbent candidates have to face. His rivals must fight their way through primaries in the snow of New Hampshire and Iowa, often operating on tight budgets and competing in overcrowded arenas that can take a year or more to conquer.
That would give Biden the luxury of a running start against his Republican opponent. The period of frenzied active campaigning he will have to endure could be measured in weeks and months in the second half of 2024.
And if there’s any hope that NBC polls show a national reluctance to accept Mr. Biden’s reelection run, 88% of Democrats said they would definitely or probably support Mr. Biden if he ran again.