WASHINGTON.– Joe Biden He achieved something this year that none of his recent predecessors had been able to achieve: He emerged stronger from his first election since he has been in the White House. Some of the most notorious presidents of the last decades, such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, suffered harsh defeats at the beginning of their presidencies in their first midterm elections. Even so, they later managed to get his re-election. Biden fared much better than they did, but he has yet to make up his mind about the last big dilemma of his political career: whether or not he will go in search of another four years in the Oval Office.
That dilemma appears inexorably tied to his age.. With just turned 80, Biden is already the first octogenarian president in history and, if he seeks and wins a second term, he would leave the White House at age 86. If Biden were younger, his decision would probably be out of the question.. But the question – which has haunted Washington since even before Biden took office nearly two years ago – hangs over the political chessboard in the United States, and his answer will unleash a ripple effect with repercussions for the rest of the world.
Biden has said that has the “intent” to seek re-electionbut made it clear after this year’s legislative elections that, ultimately, it is a “family decision”. The last retreat of the Bidens in Nantucket, for Thanksgiving Day, did not shed any news on an eventual new presidential campaign, the fourth of his life. When asked by journalists during a shopping trip, Biden said that they did not intend to touch the subject. “We are not going to have any discussion. We are celebrating, ”he said as the president passed by. Christmas and the end of the year recess provide the Bidens with a new space to settle that “family decision”.
The campaign started
For Biden and the Democrats, time is pressing. After the midterm elections, Biden anticipated that he would reveal his decision early next year. Donald Trump has already launched his presidential campaignand several more Republicans are expected to enter the race, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the new star of the Republicans. By the time next summer arrives, the list of candidates will surely already be defined. Biden has the advantage of being president, a position that allows him to avoid the wear and tear of a primary. But if he decides to step aside, the Democratic Party will have to go in search of a new standard-bearer, a task that demands resources and logistics and, above all, time.
Biden and his team feel vindicated by the result they achieved in the legislative elections. Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware ally, said recently that it’s hard not to recognize that “there’s still a role, there’s still a path, there’s still important things to do.” Newt Gingrich, one of the fiercest Republican critics, acknowledged that Biden and his team had had “one of the best first midterm elections ever,” and he warned the Republican Party to stop underestimating him.
“Remember, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan preferred to be underestimated. They both wanted people to find them nice, but not dangerous. They discovered that being underestimated was a major asset. While people laughed at them, they were busy achieving their goals and putting their programs into practice,” he noted.
The inflationthe kryptonite of Biden’s popularity and the main domestic scourge that fell to his government, has begun to yield and in November fell to 7.1% per year after marking a peak in the middle of this year. Biden has had several legislative achievements, and are Press conference together with the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, in the White House, reinforced an unexpected global alliance earlier this year, before the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin, now weakened by brutal Ukrainian resistance, propped up by American weapons.
Adding to those apparent advantages for Biden is a deficit for the Democrats: Biden does not have a natural heir or heir. the vice president Kamala Harris has disappointed with her performance in administration, and his support is lower than that of Biden. And other potential applicants, such as the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, or the governors Gavin Newsomof California, J.B. Pritzkerof Illinois, o Gretchen Whitmer, of Michigan, have yet to prove in the national arena that they can assemble a winning coalition just as Biden, a pragmatic centrist, did. Everybody They await the president’s decision to decide on their future.
The other side of the coin is that the Americans they seem tired of gerontocracy. Nancy Pelosi, another 82-year-old octogenarian political leader, seemed to read that sentiment when she announced, after the last elections, that will leave the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. He will remain a congressman, but will step down from leadership. 67% of Americans do not want Biden to run in 2024, according to a CNN exit poll in the last few elections. A recent CNBC poll raised that figure to 70%, including 57% of Democrats. And an eventual presidential candidacy of a fresh figure, like Ron DeSantis, a scenario that today seems more than feasible, would mark a clear generational contrast for the next election.
Beyond Biden’s successes and failures, and the speculations and political projections, in the United States there are those who believe that Biden’s decision will depend on much more personal variables, such as his health, and, ultimately, the support of his family.
Larry Sabato, an expert on US presidential politics at the University of Virginia, believes that Biden will make his decision – if he has not already made it – based on his health and the preferences of his wife, Jill Biden.
“Biden has had quite a few legislative successes and the Democrats far exceeded expectations in the midterm elections. All of the best-known potential rivals have indicated that they will not challenge Biden in 2024,” Sabato said. “So we are back to health. If that holds up, then Biden will run.”