Joe Biden has this morning, April 25, made official what he has hinted at since he landed in the Oval Office 27 long months ago. He is seeking four more years as president. “I said we are in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are,” Biden said in a three minute video released early Tuesday. Doubling down on his crusade against Donald Trump and his supporters, he stated, “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer … Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take those bedrock freedoms away … This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.”
Already by far the oldest of the 46 presidents to take the oath of office, he would be 86 years old at the conclusion of a second term. And considering his evident decline, consistent with a man even older than his years, Republicans hoping to unseat the incumbent should make one thing, as Richard Nixon used to say, perfectly clear: A vote for 82-year-old Joe Biden is effectively a vote for Kamala Harris. If such a strategy succeeds, it likely won’t matter who wins the Republican nomination. Between Biden’s age and Harris’s rock-bottom popularity, Biden will almost certainly be defeated.
If, on the other hand, Biden manages to be re-elected, the strong likelihood is that the current vice president will be president by the time 2028 rolls around. Democrats expecting to win a third straight presidential election would boost their prospects by elevating a widely unpopular vice president to the top spot before Biden’s term is over. That way, the many advantages inherent to incumbency would accrue to her and lower the long odds of her rising to the presidency on her own. At the same time, if, as many suspect, Harris takes the helm and demonstrates that she is not up to the job, Democrats will be forced to either endure her candidacy as a woman of color or bail out on her and conduct an open primary in 2028, with California Governor Gavin Newsom, among others, likely to make his long-anticipated entrance into presidential politics.
The Last Dance of Joe Biden
The only thing we know for certain at this point, however, is that Joe Biden is preparing for his last dance – the epilogue to his half-century in the Swamp. He strongly implied he was seeking just one term when he presented himself as a “transitional figure” in 2020, a placeholder for a rising generation of Democrats. But once in office, he almost immediately said his “intention” was to seek re-election. After all, who would choose to give up the power and trappings of the presidency? He left room for second thoughts, and after initially planning to announce in February shortly after his State of the Union address, according to most all accounts, he pushed back his projected re-election announcement several times until settling on late April.
This announcement marks the first time in recorded history that a president of the United States reveals his plans to run for re-election on video. Ordinarily, politicians bathe in the warmth and extravagance of a grand announcement before an adoring, flag-waving, hand-picked audience cheering as if their candidate were the greatest thing since George Washington. But undoubtedly, a significant part of Biden’s thinking is that, by doing a video announcement, he can sidestep those pesky White House reporters and their (not-so) tricky questions, as he has long been wont to do, and avoid his signature stumbling and bumbling.
So what are his chances of winning? Well, no president with approval numbers as low as Biden – 42.6% on average according to Real Clear Politics – has ever been re-elected since they started measuring such things. A majority of Democrats say they prefer someone else, more even than Republicans regarding Trump. Does that mean the millions of Democrats who desire a younger nominee will vote against Biden? Certainly not, but the prospect of another four years of what we have witnessed over the last three could well keep many voters home, suppressing the turnout on which Democrats must rely to win another four years.
On the other hand, if Democrats can harvest millions of ballots as they did in 2020, and cash in on the pandemic-induced alterations to voting laws in crucial states that remain in place, we could see the opposite of what would happen if the GOP succeeds in scaring people off by invoking Kamala Harris. It might be that Biden would win no matter what Republican opposes him.
The long and winding career of Joe Biden – six terms in the Senate, eight years as vice president, plus almost three years and counting in the highest office in the land – is, like him, on its last legs. He will go down as the man whose face might appear next to the term “career politician” in a glossary of terms – but also as the beneficiary of a four-year-long assault on the person of Donald Trump. He is the quintessential swamp-dweller, plying his trade for decades in the DC corridors of power and landing at the top, where he intends to stay for as long as is humanly possible.
His career began with a most unlikely victory, followed by sudden tragedy. He pulled off a shocking upset in his first run for the Senate in 1972, the only close race he would run in the deep blue state of Delaware, but before he could even assume office, his wife and daughter perished in a tragic car crash. He carried on, held his seat for 36 years, and ran twice for the presidency before 2020, barely leaving the starting gate, both in 1988 and again in 2008 before being rescued by Barack Obama. After being handed the vice presidency for eight years and leaving the scene in 2017, he would return and again be resuscitated in 2020, when party elders, left with no other choice in a field replete with almost laughable alternatives, cleared the path for his failing campaign. Finally, more than four decades after his first race, after one of the most explosively controversial elections in history, he arrived at the top. One supposes that, if nothing else, Joe Biden’s ascension to the heights of power proves that, in America, anything is possible.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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