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Democrats very nervous about the prospect of Biden seeking a second term

by | Feb 13, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

Here are two headlines for your consideration separated by just a few days: “Biden Appears Set to Run in 2024, but Many Democratic Voters Have Doubts” (Wall Street Journal); “Biden sounds ready to seek second term while rallying Democrats” (the Associated Press).

Actually there is a third that straddles the two that appeared in Politico: “Biden stops the Dem bedwetting … for now: Let’s be honest, it will come again. After all, it’s the Democrats”

Let’s probe deeper into all three to see what they tell us.

Catherine Lucey, Ken Thomas of the Wall Street Journal lead with

“Concerns about Mr. Biden’s age and abilities are front of mind for some Democrats, even those who think the 80-year-old president has done well during his first two years in office, according to recent polling and Wall Street Journal interviews with more than two dozen people around the country who voted for Mr. Biden in 2020.”

They offer the other side—“ During last week’s meeting of the Democratic National Committee, members approved a resolution expressing its “full and complete support” of the president’s re-election”—before offering what the latest polls tell us:

Still, a recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs showed that 62% of Democrats didn’t want Mr. Biden to seek a second term, while 37% did.

A Washington Post-ABC poll showed that 58% percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would prefer to nominate someone other than Mr. Biden, while 31% favored nominating Mr. Biden. 

 Biden’s reception at the aforementioned Democratic National Committee in Philadelphia is the basis for the Associated Press report, which has no negative news. Will Weissert’s and Chris Megerian’s lead is “President Joe Biden sounded like a candidate making his case for a second term Friday night as he rallied a raucous meeting of national Democrats who chanted, ‘Four more years!’”

Specifically, “Let me ask you a simple question. Are you with me?” a grinning Biden asked onstage in Philadelphia as hundreds of party leaders from around the country interrupted him with cries of “Four more years! Four more years!”

The third story—Politico’s—written by David Siders and Christopher Cadelago begin ominously:

Many Democrats are terrified of President Joe Biden running for a second term. Most of them, according to recent polls, don’t want him to.

But in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Biden did something largely unexpected: He lessened the mental anguish of those privately nerve-wracked infamously bed-wetting Democrats — for a moment, at least.

It wasn’t only that the 80-year-old, gaffe-prone president had avoided any serious misstep. It was that Biden showed he was up for a fight and, frankly, had a few uppercuts left in him.

Conclusions? First, however warmly “hundreds of party leaders from around the country” greeted the President, the polls continue their near-frigid results. The numbers mentioned above were a measure of how much Democrats do not want Biden to seek a second term, while the surveys that asked about his handling of virtually all issues were in the tank, explaining why a strong majority of Democrats want somebody else as their standard bearer in 2024.

Second, Democrats were greatly encouraged by Biden’s State of the Union address. They were most happy about those examples of raw demagoguery that drew an angry response from Republicans.  We’ll see how long a shelf-life those lies and distortions possess.

And third the President was already the  oldest man ever  to assume the presidency at 78. He is now 80 and would be 82 were he to win a second term.

As Kelly Spence, who voted for  Biden in 2020, told the Wall Street Journal “I think he’s too old.” She added, “And maybe that’s a little ageist on my part, but I think he’s too old. I worry about cognitive decline. I worry about a stroke, anything like that.” 

Categories: Joe Biden