An incumbent president is always in a good spot for a reelection bid. Prior to Donald Trump’s election in 2016, the presidency had been held by three consecutive two-termers. Only ten presidents who have run for reelection have lost, including Donald Trump.
2024 is shaping up to be at least as intense of an election as the last two presidential elections. With Trump dominating the Republican polling, current President Joe Biden will have to prepare to go another round with the man he beat by 74 electoral votes.
Biden has had a successful term in office by many metrics. Unemployment has been brought down from a record increase in 2020 to now being under 4% for 18 months, according to Politifact and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation August 2023 report shows the decline in the unemployment rate over the last two years under Biden. If these trends continue to hold, Biden will beat Trump’s record of 24 months of under 4% unemployment.
Biden can build his platform on economic successes by implementing further student debt relief and tax bills that bring back corporate taxes. Biden will fight to get any bills through a divided Congress without giving up significant concessions to the Republican majority in the House or concessions to Democrats like Manchin in the Senate.
A primary concern of voters is whether or not Biden is too old to run for office. Biden is currently 80, about three years older than Trump, and would be inaugurated into a second term at 82. According to a poll from CBS YouGov, only 34% of voters believe that Biden would finish a second term. Despite the relatively small difference in age between the two frontrunners, 55% of voters believe Trump would complete a second term.
This concern most likely stems from concerns amongst voters about Biden’s mental competency. According to the YouGov poll, 44% of voters believe only Trump has the mental competency to serve as president. While much higher for Biden, this concern also applies to Trump, with 23% of voters saying neither is mentally competent to serve as president.
In recent months, there has been a lot of concern about the age of elected officials and whether or not they will stay in power as their mental faculties decline. The age of Congress is higher than it has been, with the Senate having the highest median age since at least the 1920s. Time will tell how much of a role the age demographic will play in next year’s presidential election.
Senators like Mitch McConnell who has had numerous instances of freezing up, which has been the cause of much concern. Prior to the recent passing of Dianne Feinstein, concerns were raised about the fact that she was continuing to serve in Congress despite transferring power of attorney to her daughter.
With such high concern over the mental well-being of the two most prominent presidential candidates, voters may see an increased focus on the vice presidential candidates. If he secures the nomination, Trump will have a new running mate for this election, but Biden will be sticking with Kamala Harris. Voters don’t necessarily believe that if the need arises, Harris will be able to step up and fill the role of the president. According to another YouGov poll, only 32% of voters believe Harris is ready to assume the presidency.