Will Biden be too old to be the next U.S. President?

by A. Altieri D’Angelo

Biden’s age and mental capacity have dominated the news in the last few weeks. Biden will be 81 when the November 2024 election occurs and 86 when he leaves office in 2028 (assuming he is elected). Many people believe Biden is too old to run again. One could argue that he is too old, but there is also a strong case that he should be reelected President.

There is no doubt President Biden has aged. He walks slower, and his historic tendency to misspeak has increased. There are stories about how he does not start meetings in the White House until 10:00 AM and tires quickly. At the same time, Biden runs the country and recently managed to travel 18,000 miles to a G-20 meeting in Asia, achieving excellent results, and then went on to Vietnam to establish a new strategic relationship with that country. He continues to reinforce America’s position as the leader of the free world. Biden is, in effect, a walking contradiction. Yes, he is as old, but he does rise to the occasion.

Are voters going to penalize Biden for his age? Or will they consider his age and track record as President? For the reasons stated below, Biden’s age should not be a significant issue in the 2024 election cycle.

There is no doubt that Joe Biden has been a very successful president. He kept his promise to work with Republicans and achieved legislative accomplishments that are historic and transformative. The President rallied the free world and helped defend Ukraine without expanding the war beyond that part of the world. He defeated Trump in 2020 and led the campaign to defeat Trump’s candidates in the 2022 mid-term elections.

However, Biden’s COVID response did exacerbate inflation, but his relief plan was only a partial reason for the spike in inflation. The disruption of the global supply chain and Ukraine also contributed to rising prices.

Many people continue to believe inflation is moving in the wrong direction and blame Biden, but it has declined by almost two-thirds since 2021.

Current polling suggests that voters think the economy is not doing well. But study after study indicates people don’t feel they are doing poorly. Respondents view the economy as affecting others, not themselves. Consumer behavior supports this conclusion, given that spending is at an all-time high.

There is a significant difference between what people believe about the economy and reality. Many Americans, for whatever reason, refuse to accept that the economy is robust and that inflation is coming down. If the economy continues to improve, voters will see the improvement and not make it a 2024 campaign issue.

The same holds for foreign policy. Whatever concerns people have about Biden’s age, no one can doubt that he is in his element when dealing with world leaders and issues, and no American can match his skill. The President’s track record has been outstanding except for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. In addition to supporting Ukraine, Biden also successfully rallied many countries to resist China’s aggressive moves.

Yet, despite all these successes, polling in the U.S. shows that most people do not want to see the President run again. 45% say his age is their biggest concern. 80% of Democratic voters approve of Biden’s performance. Progressive voters still support Biden. There is talk that he is losing support among non-white voters. However, such losses are not expected to be significant since the employment of minorities, mainly Black and Latino voters, has increased dramatically. Biden’s position on individual freedom for a woman’s right to choose and LBGT continues to rally people to his cause.

Trump will be the Republican candidate for President in 2024. He is only three years younger than Biden. He is in worse physical shape than the President; some describe Trump as a heart attack waiting to happen. Age will not be an issue in a Trump/Biden contest, given that only three years separate the candidates’ ages. Also, Trump’s recent statement that Joe Biden will cause World War 2 goes a long way to show people that  Biden is not the only one “losing” his mental capacity.

Lastly, Joe Biden is the only democratic candidate with the national reach and track record to defeat Trump. When voters go to the polls, they will have only two serious choices: Biden or Trump. They will choose Biden because many still believe Trump threatens American democracy.

There is nothing wrong with voters believing Biden is too old. But that is only part of the issue. If they don’t want Biden, then who would they pick? Polling indicates that few have put forward any other person as a candidate capable of beating Trump, and choosing a third-party candidate is a non-starter. Ultimately, people will vote for who they know; they know Biden.

President Biden has earned the right to a second term.

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