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US President Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election on Tuesday. If re-elected, he would complete his second term at the age of 86. A prospect that worries many Americans, even in the Democratic camp.
He wants to “finish the job” but will he have the energy and the capacities, at more than 80 years old? From Washington to Los Angeles via Houston, the question tore Americans on Tuesday April 25, after the announcement of a new candidacy for Joe Biden at the White House for 2024.
Most voters seemed less than enthusiastic. The prospect of another lap from the Democrat elicits at most a few polite encouragements.
“He’s old, but he has a lot of experience,” said Ron Autry, an employee of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. This 30-year-old wants to see him stay “four more years” in power and praises his ability to “overcome the divisions” with the Republicans on certain bills.
But on campus, Joe Biden’s age worries. No student lingers on the giant screen where the news channels broadcast his face on a loop. If re-elected, he would complete his second term at the age of 86.
“He’s like an old grandpa,” sighs Avery Gonzales, who still remembers the politician’s fall from a stationary bicycle in June 2022. His shoe got stuck in the toe clip, but the image marked this medical engineering student.
“He could be stricken with dementia and start making bad decisions,” fears the 19-year-old. “I think it would be better to have someone younger, who assimilates faster and who is closer to the younger generations.”
An opinion reflected in the polls. About 70% of Americans – including 51% of Democratic voters – do not want Joe Biden, 80, to run again, according to a recent opinion poll for the NBC channel. Half of those questioned invoke his age.
“We don’t have many alternatives”
The president’s latest medical report, released in February, concluded that he is in “good health”. For some experts, the occupant of the Oval Office, who exercises several times a week, even displays an uncommon endurance.
But Joe Biden remains a gaffe-prone politician and his long-time stuttering doesn’t help.
Firmly anchored on the left, Elizabeth Brown praises her record in terms of the environment or the economy. But she can’t help but point out “the little missteps he makes” during his speeches.
This 73-year-old former school principal will vote for him “if he is the Democratic candidate”. But she would like “to see a younger person” and with new ideas run for the White House.
In Washington, another Democratic stronghold, other retirees share these reservations.
“He is really too old for this position”, even if he “did a very good job” judge Roger Tilton, 72 years old.
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In states with a Republican majority, voters see it as one more reason to mock the president.
“I think Joe is too old, he’s getting a little senile and he should retire,” says Stacy Lewin, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The problem is that “we don’t have many alternatives because the Democratic Party hasn’t done a good job of cultivating younger leadership,” said James Newman, a firefighter from Houston, Texas.
But if the incumbent “is running against a horrible Republican who wants to speed up climate change, criminalize all abortions and do all these other bad things, I still prefer Biden”, admits this voter.
A calculation well integrated by the current tenant of the White House, who seems to be betting on being able to win a second duel against Donald Trump, currently favorite for the Republican nomination.