In recent months, things have been picking up a bit for Joe Biden’s presidency.
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The Democrats did better than expected in the midterm elections and even kept control of the Senate. Inflation is dropping, gas prices are well off pandemic highs, the job market remains strong, and fears of a recession have thus far not come true.
So what does that mean for his possible re-election campaign, with the first 2024 primaries just over a year away?
Here Comes Joe Biden 2024
The Washington Post looked at that question on Tuesday. And it found that less than half of Democrats want Biden to seek a second term. The figure of 47 percent of Democrats that want him to run again has actually risen from 40 percent in December.
This does not, however, mean that Biden is likely to be defeated in a Democratic primary if he runs.
The Democrats who ran in 2020 are unlikely to challenge Biden, and if he wants the nomination, it’s likely that he’ll have it.
The Post added that there are other concerns about a potential Biden re-election campaign.
“Biden is 80 years old in a party that prefers candidates in their 40s or 50s. Democrats elevated him in 2020, in part, because he seemed well matched against Donald Trump — but this time, Republicans might nominate someone else. And, unlike Trump and Barack Obama, Biden doesn’t command that cult-of-personality loyalty that makes renomination inevitable.”
In addition to his age, there are other concerns about Biden. It is often alleged, especially by his opponents, that Biden is suffering from dementia or some other type of cognitive decline. The same was alleged about Donald Trump during his presidency as well, mostly by anti-Trump forces but also by one top general.
It has not, to be clear, been established that this is the case with Joe Biden. There has never been any announcement that the president has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any other cognitive condition, and his physicals are released yearly. It would be irresponsible to speculate or to diagnose him if you’re not his doctor, especially based on a video clip.
The Age Question
Biden is the oldest person who has ever been president, while Trump was the oldest president previously. Biden often speaks inarticulately, but then again he always did, even when he was much younger. And Biden also regularly gives long public speeches, which is not something that most dementia patients can do.
The New York Times looked in November, on the occasion of the president’s 80th birthday, about what it means that Biden was turning 80.
“This idea that old age is associated with only declines is not true,” Dr. Dilip Jeste, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Diego, told the Times. “There are studies that have been done all over the world which show that in people who keep active physically, socially, mentally and cognitively there is increased connectivity among specific networks, and even new neurons and synapses can form in selected brain regions with older age.”
“People in their 80s commonly experience declines; we shouldn’t be naïve about that,” Lisa Berkman, a professor of public policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and a specialist on the subject of aging, told the Times. “And at the same time, there is so much variability. People who are doing well and are in the top level of functioning, have the odds of going for another 10 years, of doing really well during this time and making very important contributions.”
Jay Olshansky, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago, described both Trump and Joe Biden as “super-agers,” or the “subgroup of people that maintain their mental and physical functioning and tend to live longer than the average person their age.”
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.