US President Joe Bident has indicated that he intends to run again the 2024 US presidential elections.
While it's natural for a sitting president to run for election, Biden's bid is complicated by his age. At 78, Biden was the oldest American president. He will be 82 when he contests re-election.
There are also factions with Biden's Democratic Party that don't want him to run in 2024. Similar thoughts are echoed by Biden's critics among the Conservatives. However, this might not be a major concern as his standing within the party has improved since the US mid-term elections in which Democrats did better than expected.
However, inflation and low approval ratings among voters remains a concern.
What has Biden said on reelection bid?
“Our intention is to run again,” said Biden after the November mid-term elections, noting that his family supports another campaign. He said his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, has already counselled him not to “walk away” from the “very important” things he's doing on the job.
Biden is expected to discuss the prospect of another campaign with those closest to him when he departs Washington for a Christmas vacation. If he opts for an announcement next year, he would launch a campaign during a time when his approval ratings remain low and inflation is high. As of December 16, Biden has just 42.9 per cent approval ratings, according to polling and data news site FiveThirtyEight.
The steady easing of the pandemic, meanwhile, would add pressure on the president to appear in person before large crowds, an environment where he's sometimes unsteady.
US mid-term elections made Biden stronger
Biden's standing inside his party has improved in the aftermath of the midterms, when Democrats kept the Senate and limited Republican gains in the House. He's long vowed he's his party's best option against former President Donald Trump, who has already announced his third White House campaign.
Trump has been blamed for the Republican Party's disappointing US mid-term losses in states, including Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, that will be among the most politically competitive territory in 2024.
“I'm not going to abandon a president who is winning,” former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile said at a recent party meeting.
The White House's political staff and top Biden allies aren't waiting for the official go-ahead, already lining up staff and preparing for a 2024 campaign launch next spring. They're eyeing the end of the first quarter, thus avoiding the period in which raising money often proves most difficult. Such a timeline would follow the lead of President Barack Obama who, with Biden as his vice president, kicked off his 2012 bid for a second White House term in April 2011.
Biden aides and allies chafe at the speculation he may not run again, saying the president should be taken at his word. They note it's not uncommon for incumbent presidents to delay formally launching their reelection campaigns as long as possible in order to heighten the contrast with their out-of-power rivals jockeying for primary position.
Federal election law requires candidates to register once they raise or spend USD 5,000 for an election, triggering disclosure requirements and putting some limitations on how they can work with outside groups — actions Biden is likely trying to put off until next year.
What has the Biden family said of reelection bid?
Still, filling the political void have been reports that the First Lady Jill Biden told French President Emmanuel Macron that she and her husband are ready for a reelection campaign. The remark is reported to have come before the couple joined Macron in a playful 2024 toast during a recent State Dinner.
Same goes for Sharpton, who reportedly told aides that Biden said of another run that he was going to “do it again” while the pair posed for a picture in the White House's Roosevelt Room in August. And Vice President Kamala Harris has dismissed as “part of the punditry and the gossip” questions that a 2024 ticket might feature Biden but not her.
The White House hasn't denied the Macron toast and Sharpton says no one from Biden's political circle contacted him after word of the pair's August chat about reelection began breaking. But Sharpton also now says that what actually happened wasn't as dramatic as the reports it sparked.
“He said to me basically what he said in public, that he intended to run and he'd let me know when it was his final decision,” Sharpton said. “And I was saying he should run. I don't know why he wouldn't.”
Still, Sharpton also said that during that photo op, “I did get the feeling from the way we talked that he was leaning toward running.”
Sharpton recalled Biden telling him at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in 2018 that, given the direction Trump was taking the country, “I really think I'm coming in" the 2020 race. That same kind of gut determination that I sensed that day — when he was really going to run in '19 — I sensed that day in the Roosevelt Room. His words didn't say anything different, but it was almost that sense of, he feels like he's got to do something.”
Only one US president skipped reelection bid
No US president has voluntarily left the White House after a single, four-year term since Rutherford B. Hayes in 1881. Biden said during the 2020 campaign that he wanted to be a “bridge” to a future generation of Democratic leaders, but he has struck a far differently tone more recently.
Biden said his decision wouldn't be swayed by polls indicating that most Americans don't want to see him run for reelection. And he offered a message for anyone worried he couldn't handle the physical rigors of another campaign: “Watch me.”
None of that, however, has silenced a Washington parlour game about whether Biden will follow through with a second presidential campaign. The speculation reflects a persistent, though often privately expressed, scepticism among even some of Biden's allies that the 80-year-old president will ask voters to keep him in the White House until he's 86.
Despite having run unsuccessfully for the White House twice before his 2020 victory, Biden also is no stranger to prolonged public vacillating over a presidential run. In 2015, he agonized for months over whether to mount a campaign to succeed Obama as he and Jill coped with the death of their 46-year-old son, Beau, from a brain tumour.
A final decision didn't come until that October when, with Obama by his side, Biden said during a speech in the Rose Garden at the White House that he'd waited too long: “Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination."
Jesse Harris was a senior adviser in Iowa to Biden's 2020 campaign and was the early vote and get out the vote director for Obama's 2008 general election campaign. He said that while Biden can be expected to look on Obama's reelection campaign as a blueprint for things like the timing of his reelection announcement, there won't be much overlap on strategy.
Harris said that working for many presidential aspirants over the years has taught him that "these men and women are wired a little bit differently”.
“I think him being in office and being president, there's a lot he wants to accomplish,” Harris said of Biden. “I think he's willing to run and fight to make sure he can get as much done as possible.”
(With AP inputs)