Joe Biden: second term at 82?

Exactly four years after announcing his first candidacy in the US elections, Joe Biden announced in a video that he would be running for a second term. He also wrote on Twitter that now was the time to take a stand for democracy, finishing the tweet with the words: 'Let's finish the job.' Commentators weigh up the pros and cons of his decision.

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Kathimerini (GR) /

No power, no dynamism

Alexis Papachelas, editor-in-chief of Kathimerini, is concerned about Biden's age:

“The image of such an old president does not project power, vigor, or dynamism. The Chinese and others see him as yet another sign of the decline of American influence. ... We have reached a point where the fate of the West will depend on whether a now 80-year-old politician falls down the steps of the presidential airplane or suffers a heart attack. Because, let’s not kid ourselves, something like that would instantly blow up Biden’s re-election chances. And, let’s not kid ourselves, the return of a now uncontrollable and all-powerful Trump to power would mean the end of the West as we know it.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

Good cards for the incumbent

If it comes to a playoff between Trump and Biden, the latter will have the better hand, says Spotmedia:

“Given the context, the decision of an experienced politician like Biden to run for office is not a mistake. ... Barring any major surprises, Joe Biden's task will be much easier this time than it was four years ago. Donald Trump's popularity has waned, though not substantially. He no longer has the full support of the party leadership and he's at the centre of several legal disputes. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Donald Trump returning to the White House would be a disaster.” (SK) /

A missed opportunity for the Democrats

Biden's candidacy is aimed too much against Trump, complains

“If Florida governor Ron DeSantis were to win the Republican primaries, he would have much better chances than Trump in the presidential race against Biden. Not because he would be the better choice, but simply because he would appear fresh and relaxed in comparison to the 82-year-old Biden. This is another reason why President Joe Biden is a mistake. If he doesn't run, it would provide an opportunity for a new politician to emerge in the Democratic primaries who would have a chance against both Trump and DeSantis. By opting for Biden, the Democrats are missing the chance to find a new, younger champion of liberal ideals.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Protectionism writ large, with or without him

Europeans should not lull themselves into a false sense of security, warns the Tagesspiegel:

“With his huge climate package, the oh-so-friendly Mr Biden has already made things tough for Europeans. Whoever is sworn in as president in January 2025, whether it's Biden, Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis: he is likely to engage in even more protectionism in the next four years than Biden did from 2021 to 2025.”

Pavlo Klimkin (UA) /

Ukraine's future at stake here

The US presidential election 2024 is crucial for Ukraine, says former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on his Facebook page:

“Putin will try to 'hold out' until the US elections in the hope of reaching an agreement with the next president. The Kremlin will go to great lengths to secure a more compliant candidate. Ideally, that would be Trump. It will be extremely difficult to negotiate with Biden, who has invested heavily in Ukraine and our success. At the same time, it will be crucial for Biden to demonstrate this success - not the process, but an actual result: a result that Americans like and have no reason to criticise. And they should be able to see it before the active phase of the election campaign begins.”

El País (ES) /

Obvious contradictions

El País praises the president and voices doubts in equal measure:

“The clearly social democratic track record continues to be his best guarantee: ... He has approved the biggest investments in infrastructure in decades, finally put the country on the path to energy transition, unemployment is at a historically low level. ... If the Republican Party comes up with a young and competitive replacement, however, Biden's candidacy could wobble despite his readiness to spread the same message as in 2020 and 2022: Republican extremism poses a threat to democracy. Whether that will be enough to stop Republicans bent on revenge, however, is questionable. The contradictions of running for office at 82 are obvious even to Biden's voters.”

Polityka (PL) /

Democrats have no alternative

Biden has no other option, writes Tomasz Zalewski, who has been Polityka's US correspondent for many years:

“When Biden ran for office in 2020 he said he wanted to be a bridge to the next generation, which was taken to mean that if he won, he would limit himself to a single term in office. Many commentators are now wondering why he changed his mind. ... Some are citing his patriotism and his loathing of Trump. But I see a different motivation there: there is simply no better candidate for the White House in the Democratic party with real chances of being elected.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

A chance against Republican radicalisation

Biden could succeed in being re-elected in 2024 despite approval ratings that are low even among Democrats, Dagens Nyheter observes:

“The abortion issue will dog the Republicans regardless of whether next year's candidate is Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis or someone else. This gives Biden a chance. There may not be much enthusiasm for him getting a second term, even among his own ranks. But the determination to mobilise against a Republican candidate, who in turn will have to pander to increasingly extreme voters in the primaries to have any chance of winning the nomination, is extremely strong. That can make a big difference, especially in an election that will be decided in just six or seven states.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Kamala Harris would be a mortgage

For a successful campaign Biden will need a strong vice president, the Frankfurter Rundschau underlines:

“What if Biden doesn't make it to the end of a second term in office? Plenty of Americans will be asking themselves this question, as they think about the vice president who would of course have to step up. Kamala Harris is not even pulling her weight in her current office. We can only hope that Biden will find the courage to exchange his 'running mate'. A new face, a successful high-calibre woman like Senator Amy Klobuchar or Govenor Gretchen Whitmer could inject fresh energy into the octogenarian's campaign. Harris, by comparison, would be a mortgage.”