Price on Politics: Joe Biden’s reelection announcement

Price Wilborn, Commentary Editor

It’s finally official. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are running for reelection.

On April 25, four years to the day that he announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Biden and Harris released a video officially announcing their 2024 candidacy. The video announcement came following months of speculation on whether the 80-year-old would pursue a second term.

The announcement tried to do several things to show Biden as electable again in 2024. First, the video painted a strong contrast to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and MAGA Republicans. Republicans often present themselves as protecting traditional values and freedoms they say Democrats want to take away. 


In his announcement, Biden uses this tactic against the Republicans for change. Biden stresses the importance of protecting personal freedoms throughout the video.

“Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans,” the president said in the video. The work of his first term, he said, has been “to fight for our democracy. To protect our rights. To make sure everyone in this country is treated equally. And that everyone is given a fair shot at making it.”

He goes on to attack “MAGA extremists” who “are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms.” “Cutting social security […], dictating what health care decisions a woman can make, banning books, and telling people who they can love” are some of the things Biden accuses the GOP of trying to do in the effort to take away certain rights.

Biden said that the nation is still in the battle for the soul of America, and he and Vice President Harris are running for reelection so they can “finish the job.”

Clips throughout the video are an effort to show the president as youthful, vigorous and healthy enough to do the job. Many of these clips show Biden on the campaign trail in 2020, running up on stage, or at work in the White House or speaking with Americans.

Concerns about Biden’s age and fitness for office have plagued the president since taking office. The 80-year-old is the oldest president in American history. Prior to Biden, Donald Trump held this distinction, being 72 years old at the time he announced his reelection bid in 2019.

This will be an issue that plagues the Biden-Harris campaign leading up to Election Day and undoubtedly long after. The campaign will do everything in its power to show that Biden is up for the job. The clips in his announcement video are just the beginning.

The announcement comes as the competition for the GOP nomination is slowly beginning to heat up. As of writing, there are currently five Republicans who have officially announced their 2024 campaigns: former president Donald Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and conservative radio host Larry Elder

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has formed an exploratory committee while former Vice President Mike Pence and current governor of Florida Ron DeSantis are expected to run but have not made an official announcement.

Donald Trump consistently polls at the top of the Republican field, beating out Ron DeSantis by double digits often. According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden polls less than ten points apart from both Trump and DeSantis in a hypothetical general election matchup.

Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address discussed his accomplishments and his vision for the nation this year. He has strong legislative accomplishments to fall back on, but in 2024 they will not be near enough to help him win the election.

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis – one of whom will likely be the GOP nominee in 2024 – will attack Joe Biden for anything and everything they can: his age, his views on abortion, his views on LGBTQ+ rights, his views on certain books in public schools and anything else that they can.

That is why everything the president does from here on out has to be watertight. Everything can’t be perfect, of course, but the administration will do everything it can to make it as perfect as possible.

If Biden wants to win in 2024, he needs to be aggressive, but not too aggressive – the Republicans will be aggressive enough for everyone, and, again, Biden needs to paint that contrast.

Biden will have to appeal to moderate Republicans if he wants a larger margin of victory. This will not be hard, considering the farther right positions members of the GOP have taken recently, like banning large numbers of books or signing a 6-week abortion ban into law.

To appeal to these moderates, Biden cannot veer any further left. Throughout his term, he has worked to appeal to the further left, bringing criticism from the GOP. To appeal to moderates, he cannot adopt policies that are seen as further left than anything he has done so far.

Many of the things Biden has done, however, have had wide support. From the CHIPS Act to Build Back Better to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Americans have liked what he has done. He has created jobs and boosted the economy, which will help the president win votes from moderates from both sides of the aisle.

Trump and DeSantis create a GOP that appeals to the far right base Trump activated in 2016 and further fired up in 2020. In 2024, these Republicans will be out to vote even more, and they will want to vote for someone like Donald Trump.

Biden is going to have a tough time beating the former president or the governor of Florida, but he can do it. He wants to “finish the job,” but it is difficult to see whether he will gain the support and the votes to be able to or not.

Commentary editor Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.

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