President Biden is forging ahead with his reelection campaign despite a growing chorus of concerned Democrats. Can Biden win reelection? The question hangs over the reelection campaign, tainting the entire effort.
Can Joe Biden use Trump’s indictments?
The expectation is that Biden will face Trump in the 2024 general election for a rematch of their contested 2020 meeting. Trump is a deeply flawed candidate, who in theory should be an easy mark. A two-time GOP nominee, Trump is facing 91 criminal indictments in four separate criminal trials. In most years, for most candidates, the indictments would be categorically disqualifying. No questions asked.
But Trump has spent his entire political career constructing the narrative that the establishment is actively hunting him, trying to thwart him and his “revisionist” political agenda. The indictments play into Trump’s narrative, lending credibility to the persona Trump has so cleverly constructed. So, instead of hurting Trump the indictments may actually benefit Trump. And regardless, Biden will have a difficult time leveraging the indictments during the campaign.
Why? Because two of the four cases stem from the Department of Justice, where federal prosecutors have charged Trump separately for the mishandling of classified documents and for his involvement in the January 6th riots. Biden of course runs the Department of Justice, which resides squarely in the Executive Branch, and were Biden to use the indictments politically it would highlight the act that Biden’s DOJ is prosecuting Biden’s chief political rival. A bad look, which again, plays into Trump’s narrative.
Is Biden too old?
Voters are deeply concerned with Biden’s age – a factor Joe Biden can’t really do anything to address.
Shocking news here but Biden is never going to be younger than he is today. And today, Biden is the oldest person ever to serve as president. If Biden were reelected, he wouldn’t swear in until he was 82, and he wouldn’t leave office until after his 86th birthday. Voters don’t like that – in large part because Biden is already, visibly, in physical and cognitive decline.
Perception is only part of the problem when it comes to age. Practicality is another. A presidential campaign is a notoriously grueling, all-day, several-month sprint. Biden would need to balance his reelection duties with the duties of the presidency itself – a tall ask for even the most able-bodied and able-minded (I’m thinking of a 1996 Bill Clinton, in his prime, running on Big Macs and spiked coffee). Biden, who adheres to a strictly limited schedule in an effort to preserve his dwindling energy supply (no work in the mornings, evenings, or on weekends) probably doesn’t have the juice for a full-throated reelection campaign.
The only reason Joe Biden was able to get through the 2020 election convincingly is because the COVID shutdown allowed Biden to campaign on Zoom from his basement. But the pandemic is over (I’ve just had a morbid and far-fetched thought about the Biden administration reinstituting COVID shutdowns in an effort to manipulate the campaign schedule) and Biden is going to have to get out there and campaign old-school style against a candidate who seems to have plenty of life and vinegar and vitriol, and who thrives off of big events in front of big crowds.
Can Biden keep up? No one seems to think so.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.