US President Joe Biden appeared at an event on Friday and appeared to be making a case for a second term. The chants of "four mor years" cheered him.
Biden and the Democratic Party have given all signals short of an official endorsement —that's not expected for at least several weeks— that he will be seeking re-election in 2024 US presidential elections.
Though the Dmocrats appear to have rallied behind Biden for a second term, he is still dealing with low approval ratings. Polling and election news site FiveThirtyEight reports Biden has just 42 per cent approval rating.
Here we explain what Biden and Democratic Party have said and signalled of a second term, what are the concerns over Biden's second term, and who are his potential challengers.
Team Biden preparing for 2024 election
President Joe Biden has emerged stronger after the Democratic Party's better-than-expected performance in the US mid-term elections and a rebounding economic situation.
Speaking to the Democratic National Committee after a strong jobs report, Biden boasted about helping create a strong economy and said his administration had made the country's most significant federal investments in public works, health care, and green technology in decades.
He said, "Let me ask you a simple question. Are you with me?" a grinning Biden asked onstage in Philadelphia as hundreds of party leaders from around the country interrupted him with cries of “Four more years! Four more years!”
Biden's advisers have not waited for his official reelection announcement, already spending weeks making staffing arrangements and readying lines of political attacks against Republicans seen as early presidential front-runners, including Trump, who launched his campaign in November, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Alan Clendenin, a DNC member from Florida, said Biden has strengthened the economy, reestablished US global standing and promoted inclusive values — the opposite of what Trump and DeSantis stand for.
"They predicted gloom and doom. He's proved them all wrong," said Clendenin, who kicked off a DNC Southern caucus meeting by noting that Florida has begun lagging behind other states in key policy areas and joking of its governor, "That's what happened when you're led by the devil."
In the US electoral system, candidates have to first secure the nomination within their party before they compete with the candidate of the other party. While there is no challenger to Biden in the Democratic Party, the Republican Party has multiple presidential hopefuls, including Trump, Florida Governor DeSentic, and Nikki Haley.
How Biden is best-placed to be Democratic candidate
Though President Joe Biden has not yet formally announced re-election bid, he has said he has the "intention" to run for president again in 2024. He has also said Vice President Kamala Harris should be his running mate if that happens.
Biden is also believed to have broad support in the Democratic Party for re-election.
The CNN reported, "It was also a clear shift [the interest of Democrats in Biden's re-run] that only served to bolster the view inside the West Wing that, after a year defined by intra-party questions about just about everything Biden did, the party has coalesced around one final White House run.
"Officially, there isn’t a campaign yet. And Biden has yet to personally interview any candidates for top roles. But as he nears a final decision on running for reelection, Biden has given every indication to those around him he is preparing to launch another bid for president."
As the 2020 mid-term elections turned into a Biden vs Trump contest, the Democratic Party's victory also bolstered Biden's stand and weakened Trump's.
CNN's Harry Entend noted, "Biden is in his best position in a while to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024...Perhaps the best indication of Biden’s strength is that he has no obvious potential 2024 primary opponent at this point. Now, as an incumbent, he was unlikely to ever have a slew of challengers. You could have imagined, though, that at least one major Democrat would have challenged Biden had the Democrats done poorly in the midterms. Instead, the opposite has happened. Major potential foes such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom have said explicitly that they will not run against Biden."
Biden's focussed attack on the Republicans
President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats have focussed their narrative on development and welfare measures of the Biden administration and the extremism prevalent in a large section of the Republican Party.
In the DNC speech cited above, Biden also slammed Republican extremism, suggesting that party is still too beholden to former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again movement.
Biden has sought to seize the political offensive after a strong midterm election season for his party and as he looks toward 2024.
Speaking before Biden on Friday night, Vice President Kamala Harris was just as defiant about the Republicans and its staunch opposition to issues like abortion rights.
She said, "There are those who want to stand in the way of our momentum. The extremist, so-called leaders, who want to distract and divide our nation as they ban books, as they reject the history of America, as they criminalise doctors and nurses and the sacred right to vote."
Harris referenced Democrats' holding onto Senate control during fall's midterms and reminded a smaller crowd: "It's not the time to pat ourselves on the back. It's the time to see it through...And that's going to take as much work, if not more, than everything that everyone here put into where we are today."
With the State of the Union address coming next week, Biden has renewed calls for political unity, something he's acknowledged being unable to achieve despite his promises as a candidate in 2020. But those appeals haven't tempered Biden's broadsides against Trump and the former president's MAGA movement.
“This ain't your father's Republican Party,” Biden said, adding that the GOP agenda was so extreme that “we have to keep pointing out what the other team wants.” Of Trump loyalists, he said, "These aren't conservatives.”
That's made some Democrats anxious to see Biden stay aggressive in touting his record.
“The president is trying to solve the problems of the nation on infrastructure, on microchips, on gun safety, on health care," said Randi Weingarten, a DNC member and president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Compare (that) to the GOP, which seems to be on a revenge agenda.”
Concerns over Biden's re-election
The first concern is President Joe Biden's age. He will be 82 at the time of 2024 US presidential election and 86 at the end of second term if re-elected.
There have been questions if Biden will retain the mental sharpness and physical fitness required to carry out the duties of the President. He is already the oldest president ever. Ironically, Biden was once the youngest Senator to be elected.
But Biden is reportedly in good health. The Washington Examiner noted, "Routine medical examinations released during his time in office have suggested that Biden is in good health, showing minimal, if any, signs of physical or cognitive decline, though recent slip-ups in speeches have raised concerns."
Then there are also issues with approval ratings. Though there is no challenger of Biden in the Democratic Party, his overall approval ratings are just 42 per cent, according to polling and election news site FiveThirtyEight. By the same, the ratings for Barack Obama were 49.9 per cent, 56 per cent for George W Bush, and 49.1 per cent for Bill Clinton.
There is also criticism over the handling of classified documents as FBI and Department of Justice conduct independent investigations. Then there is also the scandals of his son Hunter Biden that are plaguing him.
Biden has also suggested that the approach of simply bashing Republicans might not work. He noted that Democrats have seen their support among Americans without a college degree decline. He said Friday night that his party "stopped talking to” blue-collar workers.
"We have to get working-class people to say we see them,” the president added.
(With AP inputs)