Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0

A few weeks ago, President Joe Biden announced his bid for reelection in the upcoming 2024 Presidential election. While the political landscape for Democrats still looks incomplete, it seems as though Biden will remain the Democrats’ best selling point. 

Biden’s approval rating among Americans is at a mere 40%, only three percentage points off of the lowest approval rating of his presidency. While presidents do naturally lack popularity throughout the course of their presidency, these numbers stand exceptionally low in comparison to Biden’s predecessors. Of recent Presidents who launched their reelection campaigns, including Obama, Reagan, Clinton and Trump, who retained similar approval ratings, three secured reelection. Even with Biden’s fairly successful Presidency, it seems a majority of Americans are unwilling to look past Biden’s age when judging the slate of candidates.

According to reports by NPR and Reuters, 6 in 10 Americans say their main concerns and disapproval of Biden originate from the President’s declining mental fitness and age. While this widespread unpopularity might be concerning for the president’s reelection campaign, the general public is not positioned to compare him with the Republican party’s nominee as a field of candidates are still forming. Thus, a falling-in-line effect might occur across party lines, boosting Biden’s popularity if given the Democratic nomination. While Americans, especially Democrats, consider age to be a main issue in the ensuing election, Biden may remind his constituents to, “compare him to the alternative, not the almighty.” 

From the current running democratic hopefuls, Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., there seems to be no candidate possessing an adequate political track record to rival Biden. This might be why the Democratic National Committee is considering the possibility of skipping televised primary debates, in order to put their full support behind the incumbent. Contrary to critics of Biden’s reelection, Williamson and RFK Jr. don’t stand a chance at splitting the Democratic vote in the primaries. While Biden might create some concerns amongst American voters about his ability to govern, it will be hard to surmount a campaign against him based solely on his age. 

With the so-far weak field of democratic candidates ill-suited to challenge Biden, it seems as though Democrats are already looking to the 2024 general election to stack Biden’s resume against a possible Republican nominee. In this sense, Democrats are focused on making the case for unity — even as ideologically diverse as they are. Democrats are strategically employing the incumbency playbook as they did with Clinton and Obama in order to avoid any possible party fractures. Ultimately, Biden’s reelection campaign is far from splitting the democrat vote, instead Democrats are falling in line early to avert another 2016 election disaster.