In an atmosphere fraught with apprehension, the Democratic party is facing a dilemma as President Joe Biden, nearing his 81st birthday, prepares for a potential re-election campaign in 2024.
Questions have surfaced regarding Biden's age, health, and readiness for a robust campaign against former President Trump, who also is in his late 70s.
Many Democrats are voicing their concerns, expressing apprehension that Biden's age might adversely affect his campaign against Trump.
According to Politico, even Biden's closest allies, including family members, are apprehensive about how the public will perceive his age. There is a delicate balance to strike between showcasing his experience and avoiding the appearance of frailty.
Advisors have reportedly recommended that Biden limit his on-camera walks to shorter distances. This suggestion seems to stem from an awareness of how physical appearances can impact public perception, especially in an age where visual media is dominant.
Elena Schneider, Holly Otterbein, and Jonathan Lemire of Politico provide insight into these internal discussions.
"Even those in Biden’s inner circle, including family members, worry about the optics of age... Those close allies believe that Biden is mentally up for the job, but some acknowledge that the president can at times appear frail, according to two people involved in the conversations but not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations.”
Another significant concern for Democrats is Biden's perceived lack of a clear reelection vision. This lack of clarity extends to campaign strategies as well as his vision for a second term in office.
Recent polls are not in Biden's favor, with his approval rating sinking to 40%, the lowest point of his presidency. This decline in popularity adds to the anxiety within the Democratic Party, as it could signal deeper issues with his potential candidacy.
According to the Washington Post:
“Some argue that neither Biden nor his team have effectively communicated a reelection plan, a second-term governing vision or a clear argument against Trump.”
Additionally, there are concerns about the strength of Biden's campaign operation, especially in key battleground states. This is crucial, as a robust ground game can be a decisive factor in close elections.
A recent NBC poll reveals a concerning trend for Biden and his supporters. It shows Trump leading Biden 46% to 44% in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. This is the first time Trump has led in such a poll, signaling potential trouble for Biden.
Concerns about Biden's age and mental acuity are not confined to a small group within the party. As many as 30 Democrats told the Washington Post they worried that Biden may have lost a step mentally.
This unease is a reflection of the broader anxiety within the party. Politico's Playbook states, "If you haven’t heard, the Democratic Party is full of anxious people right now," capturing the mood among Democrats as they look toward the 2024 election.