A funny thing happened on Tuesday: President Joe Biden formally announced his reelection bid for 2024. I spent all day looking for an opportunity to sit down and write about what it meant. But the news cycle just kept happening. All of the day’s news was about the other side. All of it was bad for the other side, but it was about the other side nonetheless. It wasn’t until now that I was able to push aside the day’s news cycle and think about what this Biden announcement really means.
For one thing, Joe Biden doesn’t make news every day. He pushes his messaging each day. He gets his point across. But he’s not willing to post some idiotically foolish tweet that he knows is going to elicit negative headlines, just to make sure that the day’s headlines are about him. And that’s a good thing. That’s how it’s supposed to work, even in this always-on era.
People out there have lives. Most people want to be able to check in on the President now and then, but they don’t want to have to spend every day worried that some narcissistic nut job in the White House might get them blown up in a nuclear war. Or killed in a pandemic. Or all of the things that we all know can and do go wrong when the person running the country is more interested in petty Twitter feuds than in, you know, running the country.
The media, on the left, right, and center, will always hate Biden’s presidency – because it’s not good for ratings. It’s why most (not all) of the media coverage of Biden is hyperbolically negative, to the point that he has a middling approval rating in the forties, when his performance on the job should merit at least a sixty degree approval rating at minimum. But the media rarely talks about Biden’s accomplishments, and is rarely willing to cover him or his allies when they’re talking about his accomplishments, so a lot of people out there don’t realize what all he’s done for this country.
I’m not going to recap all of it here, for the simple reason those of you reading this already know all of it. You’re in that politically educated minority of people who actually follow politics intently every day, and therefore know what all Biden has accomplished. But this guy has been phenomenal. I had pretty high expectations for Biden going in; he’s vastly exceeded them.
What stands out the most remarkably about Joe Biden is that even though he’s an old white guy who’s been in politics for longer than I’ve been alive, and has a long history of moderate positions, he’s turned out to be the most progressive President in a very long time. That’s because he has a clear grasp of the era that we’re now in. He gets that moderate stances don’t protect the vulnerable in the face of right wing extremism. He gets that there’s no point in compromising with those who aren’t willing to meet you halfway. Biden understood going in that after what we just went through, this needed to be a progressive era, and that’s the leader he’s chosen to be.
The mere fact that Biden has been able to adapt and evolve to rise to the current era is all the proof you need that his age is irrelevant. Against all odds, this guy who was born during World War II is somehow built for this moment. Then again, his very first years on this planet were when we were fighting against Nazis. Long range perspective can matter.
The telltale sign about Biden’s reelection bid is that he goes into it with no legitimate Democratic primary challengers. The kind of Democrats who could have challenged him, like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Gavin Newsom, all endorsed him yesterday. That tells you what a strong position he’s in to win the 2024 general election. The people who could have given him a run – not beaten him, but seriously challenged him – all took a pass. The only “Democrats” running against Biden are fringe jokes who will have zero impact on the election and are only looking for book deals. Those fringe loons are best ignored entirely.
So President Joe Biden goes into this in a really good place, for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that the word “President” is already in front of his name. Incumbency advantage varies greatly depending on the office, but it’s super strong in presidential elections. As we saw in 2020, you really have to screw up to blow the incumbency advantage when you’re a President running for reelection. Plenty of persuadable voters would rather just stick with the guy who’s spent the past four years showing that he’s not going to get us all blown up. That is, unless you’re the “former guy” who had everyone afraid he was going to get us all blown up.
Biden is further bolstered by the sheer disaster that the 2024 Republican presidential primary process is shaping up to be. The guy who’s currently in first place has three criminal trials between now and the election. The guy who’s currently in second place has flopped so badly that his poll numbers have been cut in half over the past month – and the guy who’s in first place somehow managed not to gain any of those fleeing voters for himself.
But I don’t want to talk about the Republicans right now. They get enough headlines these days. Most of those headlines are negative, because they just can’t stop making messes for themselves in their desperation to dominate every news cycle. In this moment I’d rather talk about President Joe Biden. He’s once again our last line of defense against descending into lawless fascism. Just as importantly, Biden deserves to be reelected on his own merits. Now let’s go help him win this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report