He had the “intention”, it is now official: Joe Biden, 80, announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election on Tuesday, which could see him face Donald Trump again.
“I am a candidate for my re-election,” said the American president in a video message posted on Twitter, opening with images of the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“Let’s get the job done,” Biden said, emphasizing the fight he says is still ongoing for freedom and democracy.
The main handicap of the Democrat, whose popularity rating remains poor, is his age.
Never before had the Americans elected such an old president, nor had a candidate asked them to leave him the keys of the White House until he was 86 years old.
The president underwent, in November 2021 and then in February 2023, health checks which concluded that he was “in good health”.
Joe Biden certainly displays unusual endurance, juggling between international crises and major reforms.
His trip to Kiev, an unprecedented initiative for the Head of State surrounded by the strictest security arrangements in the world, was a spectacular reminder of his role as architect of the Western response after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
And he never ceases to recall the very ambitious reforms adopted on his initiative to reindustrialize America, attract cutting-edge technologies, accelerate the energy transition, renovate infrastructures and “give a little air”, as he often said, to the middle class.
Still, in a country where image is everything, where a candidate must overflow with vitality, the president cannot hide his age.
His pace is more cautious, his speech sometimes muddled and he has moments of confusion which the Republican opposition seizes on to question his mental acuity.
“Biden is so out of touch with reality that he thinks he deserves four more years in power when he is only creating crises,” Republican opposition leader Ronna McDaniel said Tuesday morning.
But Joe Biden has noted that, according to the polls, the candidacy of his predecessor Donald Trump, 76 years old and officially in the race since last November, is no more enthusiastic than his own.
The Democrat therefore believes that if he once beat his Republican predecessor, a divisive figure par excellence, he can do it again by highlighting his good-natured personality and his unifying program.
Joe Biden is also counting on his balance sheet and on the flourishing health of the economy and employment. None of this is much to impress US households, which are struggling with a sharp surge in inflation.
Biden’s team is betting, however, that in less than two years, improved roads, cheaper drugs, factory openings will be credited to the Democratic candidate.
Joe Biden, who campaigned in 2020 to “save the soul of America”, should this time insist more on the social and economic dimension of his project.
Since the beginning of the year, he has hammered home his desire to restore his “dignity” to the “forgotten” popular America, disturbed by globalization, which Donald Trump has been able to seduce in part.
There remains a big unknown: what would Joe Biden’s chances be if he faced a younger opponent in November 2024?
The name of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a 44-year-old hard-right figure, is circulating widely. But he has not yet declared himself.
Less known, the Republican Nikki Haley, already in the campaign, calls for the emergence of a “new generation”. In particular, it calls for intellectual capacity tests for all political leaders over 75 years of age.