Los Angeles Politics

Biden announces 2024 reelection bid

President Biden announced Tuesday he will seek the presidency again in 2024, dismissing doubts about whether the 80-year-old is fit to serve a second term and solidifying his grip on the Democratic Party as its standard-bearer.

The president announced his campaign in a video posted to his Twitter account.

“I said we are in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are,” Biden said. “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”

The much-anticipated announcement sets up a potential rematch between Biden and former President Trump, who has already declared his candidacy and leads the field of Republican 2024 hopefuls.

Biden, a self-described “great respecter of fate,” has weighed the decision for months. . Though most presidents wait to announce a reelection campaign to avoid triggering federal election reporting restrictions, Biden’s age has played an outsized role in his decision. He is the nation’s oldest president and would be just shy of 82 on election day in 2024.

Seventy percent of all Americans, including 51% of Democrats, said they didn’t want Biden to seek a second term, compared with 26% of Americans who think he should, according to a NBC poll released Sunday. Nearly half of all voters who said they didn’t want Biden to run again pointed to his age as a major reason.

Similarly, about half of Democrats think Biden should run for a second term, a slight increase from the only 37% who said he should seek office again in January, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. But 81% of Democrats said they would at least probably support him if he were the nominee. Just 26% of Americans overall said they wanted to see Biden run again, the poll found.

But the president and his allies have dismissed the polling, pointing instead to U.S. job growth and his legislative record as evidence of his success during his first two years in office.

The White House frequently touts the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and boost U.S.-based chip manufacturing and a $700-billion landmark climate change and drug pricing law.

Though the president has been expected to announce his re-election bid for weeks, he made clear during a recent visit to Ireland that he’s “already made the calculus” and that a formal announcement would happen “relatively soon.”

He hinted at his reelection pitch at the State of the Union in February, in which he contrasted his achievements with a divided Republican party that has yet to settle on a 2024 strategy – or candidate. He called on Congress to work with him to “finish the job” of revitalizing the U.S. economy and uniting a country fractured by partisan politics. Though he had not officially launched his campaign, aides and Democratic officials had already quietly begun setting up the campaign infrastructure in battleground states across the country.

Biden took office amid a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic that paralyzed the country for more than a year, vowing to get the virus under control and repair the economic damage wrought by the global health crisis.

His first year in office was bogged down by economic challenges, including record-high inflation and supply chain bottlenecks exacerbated by the pandemic, which lingered longer than White House officials had anticipated. The public mood began to sour in August 2021, when waves of new virus variants spread across the country and 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans were killed during the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. The president’s approval rating sank to the low 40s, where it remains.

But last February, as Biden continued to grapple with problems at home, Russia invaded Ukraine. The president responded by reinvigorating transatlantic cooperation and winning bipartisan support to send tens of billions of dollars in economic and military aid to the embattled country.

The administration celebrated several legislative victories last summer, including the most sweeping gun reform legislation in 30 years, the president’s signature climate and drug-pricing law and a healthcare bill for veterans injured by wartime exposure to toxins. He also signed the ratification documents in support of Finland and Sweden’s membership to the NATO alliance, highlighting U.S. leadership in the expansion of the defense pact.

November’s midterm election results gave Biden a tailwind after Democrats outperformed historical trends and defied projections of a “red wave” despite the president’s low approval ratings. The party narrowly lost the House of Representatives and picked up a seat in the Senate. Democrats also won control of four additional state legislative chambers and two governorships, the best first midterm performance for a party since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.

Biden’s political fortunes took a turn in January, when the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to examine whether he mishandled classified documents found at his former office at a think tank in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Republicans argued that Biden was treated differently than former President Donald Trump, who is also under investigation for classified documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort during an August raid. The facts of the two cases are different. Biden’s lawyers immediately notified the National Archives upon discovery of the documents; Trump resisted turning over sensitive materials for several months.

Biden’s document controversy has fueled GOP-led House oversight probes into the president, his administration and his family, but White House aides argue the special counsel investigation will have little effect on the 2024 election. Vice President Mike Pence later announced classified documents were discovered at his Indiana home, signaling a more systemic problem with the handling of classified material in Washington.

A majority of Americans think both Biden and Trump mishandled classified files, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released in January. Seventy-seven percent said Trump acted inappropriately in the way he handled classified documents compared with 64% who said the same of Biden.

It’s still unclear who Biden will run against as the Republican presidential primary is still taking shape. Trump — who is embroiled in a series of investigations and is facing charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn actor during the 2016 campaign — is so far the leading candidate. Nearly 70% of Republican primary voters said they would back Trump, according to the NBC poll.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson are among those who have already entered the GOP race, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former Vice President Mike Pence are also eyeing White House runs.

The president’s springtime decision is in line with his most recent predecessors’ re-election announcements. Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama launched their campaigns between April and June. (Trump filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on the day he was inaugurated but did not officially kick off his campaign until June). But unlike Biden, there was never any doubt about whether the previous incumbents would run.

Biden’s announcement comes exactly four years after he declared his candidacy for the 2020 race.

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Joseph Hernandez

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