NY Times: Biden ’24 is looking more likely but Dems are still nervous about his age

Last week Politico published a story bemoaning the fact that Biden may be the Democratic Party’s best hope in 2024 despite the fact that many voters think he’s too old to run again. Today, the NY Times offers a similar story which downplays the talk about age slightly even though it’s clearly the elephant in the room.

The concerns about Mr. Biden’s overall weak standing in public opinion polls — which was a burden for many Democratic candidates — have not dissipated entirely. And some Democrats say that the challenges confronting the 80-year-old president and his party should not be glossed over in the party’s relief over the outcome of the elections…

Surveys of voters leaving the polls found that two-thirds, including nearly a third of Democrats, said they did not want Mr. Biden to run for president again — though Mr. Biden’s allies have noted those numbers are not predictive of how voters would respond when presented with a choice between the president and a Republican candidate…

David Axelrod, who served as chief strategist for President Barack Obama, said the midterm elections had given Mr. Biden “a little giddyup in his step.” As for a run for a second term, Mr. Axelrod said, “If he were 60 and not 80, there would be absolutely no doubt.”

Notice the carefully crafted tone. Biden has a weak standing in polls and also he’s 80 years old. Two thirds of poll respondents don’t want him to run and also he’s 80 not 60. But as you delve further down into the article it becomes more and more clear that Biden’s age as the major hesitation concerning even Democrats.

Shelia Huggins of North Carolina, a member of the Democratic National Committee, said the country was “looking at what the future looks like, especially with the speaker deciding that now is the time for her to step away and to give other people an opportunity.”

Ms. Huggins, who has been open about her reservations regarding Mr. Biden, praised the president’s record but added, “I just still have some concerns about him running again. Part of it does have to do with his age.”…

“Most people in this country don’t know many 80-year-olds that can run the entire country,” said Tyler Jones, a Democratic strategist in South Carolina. “That’s not to say that they don’t exist, and it’s not to say that he can’t do it, but it is a very rare thing. And so the burden, unlike most presidents, the burden is on Biden to show the country that he can not just win in ’24, but lead for the next four years.”

I’ve never heard of Tyler Jones before but I think he’s basically correct. Normal people are going to hesitate to elect an 82-year-old to another four year term. Biden would have to do something to allay those fears and campaigning from his basement won’t be possible this time around because he won’t have the excuse of the COVID pandemic to justify being stuck at home so often.

The top comment on the story (measured by upvoting) comes from a Democrat who clearly does not think Biden should run again.

Joe Biden did an important thing for this country. He stopped Donald Trump from getting a second term and from the looks of things, from ever being President again.

He can do an equally important thing for the country by not running again. As he would say, “God love him” but it is quite clear age has caught up with him.

The number 2 comment is similar, suggesting Biden should back away soon so that the pack of younger challengers have a real chance to gain some traction.

This sudden Biden buoyancy is going to come back and bite the Democrats. Trump won’t be the 2024 GOP nominee and DeSantis, the flavor of the month, is going to fizzle as do most prematurely-hailed front runners. Florida crazy is not going to play in most of the country. The GOP might actually end up nominating a moderate who’s not approaching 80, in which case, Biden will be faced with fighting a rational, well-spoken foe, something he’s no longer equipped to do in a grueling campaign. The best thing he could do now is take a cue from the rest of the superannuated Democratic leadership and announce he’s not running. Give the field of possible successors a chance to establish itself in the public’s mind before it’s too late.

And it goes on like this. All of the top comments are from Democrats saying some variation of the same thing.

For Biden to run again at 82 is an act of supreme selfishness. If he does the right thing, he will leave a proud legacy of four years guiding this nation back from the precipice.

Democrats’ strong showing in the midterms has a lot to do with Biden riding high at this moment. Democrats may come to look back on this moment as the worst possible outcome, i.e. they survived the red wave but at the cost of being stuck with Biden in 2024.



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