Biden to run again



May 3, 2023

Biden To Run Again

Umair Jalali talks about the US presidential race

Biden To Run Again – The American electoral field is gradually getting warmer as the 2024 presidential campaign is now almost one-and-a-half year ahead and the current months are known to be the beginning of the largest and hotly contested electoral campaign for the highest executive office in the land. Traditionally, residential campaigns in the US are extremely dramatic events full of rhetoric and peppered by Hollywood antics. If the risks of violence are discounted then American presidential election campaigns are grand carnivals that are probably also serving the purpose of entertaining public. They are supposed to cater to the purpose of bringing political issues to the nook and corner of the United States and help strengthen the cause of participatory democratic governance. The US presidential race is viewed as consequential for rest of the world and is observed both with fascination and anticipation.

The presidential campaign for 2024 kicked-off with its biggest and, probably decisive announcement. It was in the air and what was missing was the formal announcement that was not warmly anticipated though. However, Joe Biden launched his re-election bid that appeared to many as rather lukewarm promising to protect American liberties from extremists linked to former president Donald Trump, who he beat in 2020 and might face again in 2024. Biden made his announcement in a video released by his new campaign team that opens with imagery from the 6 January, 2021, attack on US Capitol by supporters of defeated Trump. Biden pointed out that when he ran for president four years ago, he said that people were in a battle for the soul of America and that they still are. He emphasised that this is not a time to be complacent and that is why he was running for the office again with the view to finish the job in hand.

Resorting to the typical party politics Biden described Republican platforms as threats to American freedoms, vowed to fight efforts to limit women’s healthcare, cut Social Security and ban books and blasted MAGA extremists. MAGA is the acronym for the “Make America Great Again” slogan of Trump, who is the early frontrunner in the Republican primary race and if he wins, he will face off against Biden again in the November 2024 election. The basic problem Biden faces is the age issue as at 80 he is considered too old for the hectic task of managing the presidency and this is the reason that 44 per cent of Democrats have expressed the opinion that he is too old to run.

Both the leading contenders have difficulty about their ages as Trump, 76, also faces concerns about his age with 35 per cent of Republicans saying he is too old. As a matter of fact a majority of registered voters do not want either Biden or Trump to run again. While Biden’s approval rating is relatively low but his aides are confident he can beat Trump again as currently the polls showed him with a lead of 43 per cent to 38 per cent over his Republican rival among registered voters. Though the lead appears ominous but it can quickly whittle down as has often happened in American electoral politics.

In the two years since he took over from Trump, Biden won Congress’ approval for billions of dollars in federal funds to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and for new infrastructure and oversaw the lowest levels of unemployment since 1969, although 40-year inflation highs have marred his economic record. However, Biden’s age makes his re-election bid a historic and risky gamble for the Democratic Party, especially if he faces a much younger Republican candidate. Democrats already face a tough election map to hold the Senate in 2024 and are the minority in the House of Representatives now. Biden would be 86 by the end of a prospective second term, almost a decade higher than the average US male’s life expectancy. Doctors declared Biden, who does not drink alcohol and exercises five times a week, fit for duty after an examination in February. The White House says his record shows that he is mentally sharp enough for the rigours of the job. Biden will be joined in his 2024 quest by his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is featured prominently in his campaign video.

Quite obviously Donald Trump criticised the president over his record on immigration, inflation and the chaotic US pullout from Afghanistan in 2021. Marking a sharp contrast to Biden’s campaign announcement, Trump is on trial in a civil lawsuit this week over writer E. Jean Carroll’s accusation that he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. The former president, who is not required to attend the trial, has denied raping Carroll. On the other hand Biden, running as an incumbent, is unlikely to face much competition from inside his party. No senior Democrats have shown signs of challenging him and he has compiled a board of rising-star Democrats to advise his campaign including governors JB Pritzker of Illinois and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania.

Biden ran a mostly virtual campaign to defeat Trump in the 2020 election as Covid raged, saying he sought to unify the country, rebuild the economy and better control the virus. With pandemic restrictions mostly over in the United States, the 2024 race is likely to be a much different, more physical affair. Biden’s campaign video suggests he plans to regularly remind voters of those events between now and the next election. Other Biden themes may include strong US support for Ukraine in its war against Russia and what the White House says are Republican plans to unravel federal healthcare. In earlier polls it was shown that Biden is even more unpopular among general voters. About 70 per cent of those polled said Biden should not run for a second term. But 61 per cent of voters also opposed former president Donald Trump’s effort to seek another term.

Most voters prefer fresh candidates from both Democratic and Republican parties but no one knows who though media has reported about many potential candidates. Number one on the Democrats’ list is California Governor Gavin Newsome. Others on the Democratic list include West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Louisiana Governor John Edwards, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Some of them ran against Biden in 2020 but lost the primary to him.

Donald Trump tops the Republican list. The Republican list includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Mike Pompeo, former Kansas representative, CIA director, and Secretary of State, Virginia Governor Glenn Younkin and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While the Democratic field is wide open because of Biden’s declining support, most observers agree that it will be difficult for any Republican to win a primary against Trump.

Potential and declared Republican presidential candidates have begun framing the 2024 election around cutting back government spending amid still-high inflation, restricting abortion, crime in Democratic-run cities and illegal immigration. The two leading Republican contenders, Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, want to limit the access of transgender children to sports teams and gender-affirming medical care and restrict how schools teach LGBTQ+ issues and America’s history of slavery and racial disparities. The Weekender

Umair Jalali teaches in The Royal Colosseum and is an avid sports fan


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