By Bradley Bernard
Chief Leader Writer
JOE Biden will be 86 at the end of his second Presidential term, should he make it past the 2024 election.
The US President’s re-election announcement has been coming for months, but it was unthinkable three years ago.
Having fought off Bernie Sanders from the Left and Donald Trump from the Right, the nation’s oldest ever President was expected to complete one term before handing responsibility off to one of his younger Democrat colleagues.
But Biden has beaten Trump once – and he’s game to do it again.
The President has whelmed most of the nation during his two years in office, but after four tumultuous years under #45, it’s been a welcome change for voters.
The American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, cancelling student debt, pardoning thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession and rolling through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are all significant achievements Biden can hold up.
He hasn’t gone as far as many progressives want, but he’s done enough to pacify any major disruption from the Left.
And his re-election announcement video this week was a message framing his bid as a fight to save American democracy from Trump and MAGA “extremists”. After the political fallout from the January 6 riots – which remains fresh in voters’ minds after lengthy hearings – not being ‘the other guy’ will continue to help Biden in 2024 as it did four years prior.
The polls – which will always be wildly speculative at this point – make okay reading. Some have him two points up on Trump, others double digits. Ron DeSantis seems a more dangerous opponent, but it would take a miracle for him to win the Republican nomination.
His personal polling is less good.
As of April 23, the president’s approval rating stands at 42.3 percent, according to figures collated by FiveThirtyEight.
It’s not a good sign for any sitting President when approval numbers dip below 50. It often means political extinction.
And the other problem is Trump hasn’t really started yet. He’s not an unknown quantity any more and he has a significant, fiercely loyal fanbase ready to go.
The success of his comeback in the Republican party is already a dead cert – there’s a much smaller field to run against for the nomination than in 2016, and the primaries will be a coronation.
But it depends whether Trump’s legal troubles resurface and whether voters have either forgotten or forgiven his last premiership.
There’s a reason bookies haven’t counted the former President out of the running yet. He’ll be facing an older, slower Biden who still gives off ‘friendly grandfather’ vibes. And while not particularly sharp or intelligent, Trump’s conviction could give him the edge in any campaign scrap.
This is all hypothetical, of course. But Biden’s decision to run is massive. He’s treading water as a President, despite his legislative achievements and party unity. And he’s got Trump to face. It’s remarkable he wants to do that a second time.
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