Joe Biden’s first real talk yesterday. Among the many information relayed, his desire to seek a second term in 2024.
I come back to this because once again, many, many observers have looked at the question of the president’s age, wondering if, at 82 (his age in 2024), he would still be in the form necessary to to do a job as demanding as the presidency of the United States.
Let’s start by specifying that the 46e President had no choice but to confirm his interest. How do you come up with projects as ambitious as yours while suggesting that you won’t stay to complete the work or that you don’t have the energy to meet the challenge?
If we go back just a little in time, however, candidate Biden has already said that he could only be a transitional president. The choice of Kamala Harris as vice-president was in itself a signal that we want a succession and that she has four years to stand out and develop a network.
I remain convinced that the former vice-president constitutes a choice of compromise, a bridge between factions, a politician regarded as pragmatic by his fellow citizens ready to give him a chance time to return Donald Trump to his golf courses.
A candidacy of “Uncle Joe” in 2024 would only be possible if we fail to properly prepare for his succession and if his first term is crowned with great success. In either case, two months are not enough to come up with reliable indicators.
Like many other observers yesterday, I noted a few flaws in the president’s performance. Again a little confused and imprecise, he provided the fact-checkers with sufficient material to identify a number of falsehoods, particularly on the immigration file.
Since the start of the presidential campaign, it seems obvious that his team is avoiding overexposing him. We already knew he was inclined to escape a few blunders when he got carried away and moved away from the script, but, by removing him from a greater number of media interventions, we brought water to the mill of those who believe that Biden is diminished, both physically and intellectually.
I have refrained from passing judgment on Donald Trump’s sanity, and I will refrain from passing judgment for Biden as well, simply because I do not have the medical skills to do so. This does not prevent me, however, from observing many changes in the behavior of the Delaware politician.
Is Biden simply experiencing the normal effects of aging, or is he declining at a rate that would render him unfit to perform his duties? If we can not offer a clear answer, we must recognize that the question worries, and not only among his political opponents. His advisers will work to silence critics and reassure, but they will not be able to avoid the exploitation of a considerable amount of gossip that is already circulating.
Yes, Joe Biden slowed down, that’s indisputable. On the other hand, I believe that a majority of his fellow citizens are reassured by the quality and experience of those around him. It seems obvious that Biden is wise enough to consult and listen, a wisdom and openness that sets him apart from his predecessor.
If I had to bet, I’d bet Joe Biden will be the president for just one term. I wouldn’t bet too much money, however. Even though I mentioned that there is a succession, including Kamala Harris, no one seems able to maintain a certain unity within the party, while the president is managing to do so at the moment.
And then, who knows what Biden’s stimulus and infrastructure projects might bring in, especially if the pandemic is brought under control for the next few months? An accumulation of good news and a frank economic recovery could well keep it favorably in the polls.