Biden Announces Re-Election Bid Amid Concerns About Age and Fitness for Office

On April 19, 2023, President Joe Biden announced his re-election bid, ending months of speculation over whether the 80-year-old leader would step aside in favor of a younger Democrat.[0] Despite a majority of Democrats saying Biden should not run in 2024, an NBC News poll found that 88% said they’d probably or definitely vote for the president in the general election.[1]

Biden has a significant legislative record, having presided over a swift economic recovery buoyed by bills he championed allocating billions of dollars in Covid aid, as well as major investments in manufacturing and infrastructure projects. Compared to his predecessors, Biden’s first two years were “among the most productive of any president in the past half century,” according to a November analysis by the Atlantic.[2] Biden has shepherded several massive bills through Congress, including the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in addition to using executive action to attempt to cancel student debt, pardon thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession, and appoint a new wave of judges at a rapid pace.

However, there are concerns about Biden’s age and fitness for the presidency. If re-elected, he would be inaugurated at age 82 and finish his second four-year term at 86, making him the oldest president in US history.[1] Polling shows that a majority of voters, and even a majority of Democrats, do not want him to run again.[3] There are voters who have concerns about a second match-up between Biden and former President Trump, who is currently leading the Republican primary race and is 76 years old.

Biden will need to find reserves of vigor to calm doubts on the campaign trail.[4] Doubts about his fitness, which is distinct from his age, are not unreasonable.[3] Since January of this year, Biden has been absent from the White House in Delaware, spending 197 days either entirely or partially at his residence or beach property, and over 60 days at Camp David.[3] Party strategists have questioned if the president is up to the rigor of a presidential campaign.[3]

In the event that Biden is unable to complete his term in office due to incapacitation or any other reason, it is imperative that he has a running mate who can take over the reins of the presidency.[5] Vice President Kamala Harris undoubtedly meets that requirement.[5] She has extensive government experience, experience as a manager running a large state agency, experience on Capitol Hill, and has worked tirelessly as vice president on a wide range of issues of critical importance.[5]

Despite these concerns, Biden is in a strong position to win in 2024, according to some experts.[6] Rosenberg is arguing that despite Biden’s age and anemic approval ratings, he could possibly win big.[7] Biden has already shown his ability to outperform Trump in several key Rust Belt states.[0] In 2020, he defeated Trump in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all longtime Democratic strongholds that had previously tilted towards the Republican leader in 2016.[0]

But the fact that Biden does not see another Democratic prospect, including his own Vice-President, as having broad enough support to beat Trump should occasion an urgent—and probably damning—study of why Democratic Party leaders have failed to give new generations of talent fuller opportunities to thrive and lead before it is too late.[4] The 2024 campaign will be a test of whether Biden can energize his base and overcome concerns about his age and fitness for office.

0. “Democrats see Biden as best hope against Republican challengers” Al Jazeera English, 25 Apr. 2023,

1. “What young Democrats want from a 2nd Biden campaign” Axios, 26 Apr. 2023,

2. “Biden’s approval rating: why haven’t his policy wins translated to public support in the polls?”, 25 Apr. 2023,

3. “Joe Biden’s Reelection Launch Is the Depressing Starting Gun for a Bleak Campaign Season” Jacobin magazine, 25 Apr. 2023,

4. “Are We Really Getting a Rerun of the 2020 Campaign?” The New Yorker, 25 Apr. 2023,

5. “Joe Biden Is Old. Get Over It.” The Daily Beast, 25 Apr. 2023,

6. “Biden addresses friendly union crowd in first speech since 2024 campaign announcement: “Finish the job”” CBS News, 25 Apr. 2023,

7. “Opinion | Why the strategist who nailed 2022 has ‘hopium’ about Biden in 2024” The Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2023,

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