On Tuesday, April 25, President Joseph “Joe” Biden formally announced that he will be running for re-election in the 2024 presidential election. He will be running alongside his current vice president, Kamala Harris. This announcement comes on the four-year anniversary of when he declared his first campaign for the presidency — and it isn’t without controversy. While it is customary for US presidents to run for reelection after their first term, concerns about the viability of his campaign have been raised by Biden’s political enemies and allies alike.
Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election against former president Donald Trump with a 4% margin. His campaign mainly centered on appealing to more moderate voters, and appealing to growing disapproval of then-president Donald Trump.Biden’s message was simple: elect him, and he will “restore the soul of the nation,” which, presumably, had suffered during the Trump presidency. As Trump’s presidency became more tumultuous due to his impeachment and his reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, support for Biden grew, propelling him into the presidency. In some sense, Biden’s 2020 presidential victory was a reaction to his predecessor’s political and personal failures while in office.
Biden positioned himself as a unifying figure for the U.S, promising to restore a sense of normalcy that had been lost to Americans in prior years. His political slogan, “Build Back Better,” promised to heal the nation from the sense of instability that the final years of the Trump presidency and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about. During his presidency, though, Biden was not nearly as unifying a political figure as Democrats had hoped– he sustained relatively low approval ratings throughout his presidency despite having some notable successes in international defense and the passing of nonpartisan bills.
Biden’s low approval ratings can be mostly explained by rising concerns over the economic state of the country and mixed reactions over his handling of the COVID-19 response and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. With the country heading into a recession, the economy remains one of voters’ top concerns heading into the next presidential election. However, voters also harbor concerns over whether Biden himself, being 80-years-old, is fit to serve as president for four more years. Biden sometimes struggles with his speech, and videos of him falling off of bikes and up the stairs of Air Force One have gone viral on the internet. While his supporters highlight wisdom and experience as being products of his age, critics spout concerns over his mental fitness.
It’s likely that Biden will win the Democratic nomination and will run against the Republican nominee for the presidency. While there are other democrats competing against him for the nomination, voters should more carefully watch the race for the Republican primary. Biden seems to be positioning himself to run against Donald Trump, who has announced his run for office and has been campaigning not only against Biden but offensively against his top competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. While DeSantis has not yet announced his bid for the presidency, sources close to him say he could announce as soon as May. The Republican primary race will likely be close between Trump and DeSantis, although polling numbers place Trump ahead of DeSantis by 36%.
It’s seeming like we will see a rematch of the 2020 election in 2024, and that’s a prospect that I, as a voter and avid follower of politics, am not thrilled about. According to the Guardian, I’m not alone— many voters are relatively unenthused about this idea. What will be more interesting to me in the future months is watching the Republican primaries, and keeping an eye on the strategies that Trump and Biden use in this new election cycle. Biden’s victory in 2024 is anything but sure, and both Trump and Biden will have to carefully structure their campaign strategies in order to position themselves as the best choice for voters. It’s in Biden’s best interest to make the election a referendum on Trump– and it’s in Trump’s best interest to make the election a referendum on Biden. In 2020, Trump was his own worst enemy– at Biden’s great benefit. In 2024, victory is not guaranteed for either candidate. This election season is sure to see many curveballs and close calls, and, ultimately, an unpredictable end.