President Joe Biden launched his re-election bid on Tuesday with a promise to protect American liberties from “extremists” linked to former President Donald Trump, who he beat in 2020 and might face again in 2024.
Biden made his announcement in a slickly produced video released by his new campaign team that opens with imagery from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters.
“When I ran for president four years ago, I said we’re in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are,” Biden said. “This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for re-election.”
“Let’s finish this job. I know we can,” he said.
He described Republican platforms as threats to American freedoms, vowed to fight efforts to limit women’s healthcare, cut Social Security and ban books, and blasted “MAGA extremists.”
MAGA is the acronym for the “Make America Great Again” slogan of Trump, who is the early frontrunner in the Republican primary race. If he wins, he will face off against Biden again in the November 2024 election.
Biden, 80, must overcome Americans’ concerns about his age in order to win re-election, with 44% of Democrats saying he is too old to run, a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Monday found.
Trump, 76, also faces concerns about his age with 35% of Republicans saying he is too old.
The poll showed that a majority of registered voters don’t want either Biden or Trump to run again.
While Biden’s approval rating is relatively low, his aides are confident he can beat Trump again. The Reuters/Ipsos poll showed him with a lead of 43% to 38% over his Republican rival among registered voters.
In his campaign video, Biden squarely targeted Trump and his allies.
“Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms, cutting Social Security that you paid for your entire life, while cutting taxes for the very wealthy, dictating what healthcare decisions women can make, banning books, and tell people who they can love, all while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote,” Biden said.
In the two years since he took over from Trump, Biden won Congress’ approval for billions of dollars in federal funds to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and for new infrastructure, and oversaw the lowest levels of unemployment since 1969, although a 40-year inflation highs have marred his economic record.
Biden’s age makes his re-election bid a historic and risky gamble for the Democratic Party, especially if he faces a much younger Republican candidate.
Democrats already face a tough election map to hold the Senate in 2024 and is the minority in the House of Representatives now.
Biden would be 86 by the end of a prospective second term, almost a decade higher than the average U.S. male’s life expectancy.
Doctors declared Biden, who does not drink alcohol and exercises five times a week, “fit for duty” after an examination in February. The White House says his record shows that he is mentally sharp enough for the rigors of the job.
Biden will be joined in his 2024 quest by his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is featured prominently in his campaign video.