BET À DAY
As his approval rating stalls in the slums, the president stays focused on 2024, but his party is already thinking about his succession.
The problems Joe Biden faces in the Middle East this week are enormous, but they must seem dwarfed by the challenge of resuscitating his popular approval rating, which languishes at levels as low as his predecessor's.
Even though Biden says he is determined to run for a second term, his supporters are less convinced. He probably better listen to them.
Joe Biden is not doing a bad job under the circumstances, but factors beyond his control have turned a good part of public opinion against him and there is not much we can do about it.
Its policies to emerge from the pandemic and recession were not bad but, like everywhere else, the virus persisted and inflation came to erase the gains of the stimulus from the public eye.
International crises do not help. In reaction to the invasion of Ukraine, Biden has presided over a strengthening of NATO, but he is suffering from the impact of the war on the price of energy and food. Nor is he responsible for the American withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, but he will suffer the consequences as that country restarts its nuclear program.
Biden also faces frustration from the Democratic partisan base. Despite the success of post-pandemic recovery programs and his infrastructure law, his failure to get large parts of his agenda passed is fueling perceptions of weakness.
An inescapable reality
Joe Biden is also subject to negative perceptions resulting from another factor over which he has no control: his age. It's a question of image, but image is ruthless. Even if it is clear that he masters his files well, all his hesitations and his physical or verbal clumsiness are blown up.
Being President of the United States is well known, it means age his man fast enough and there's little chance Joe Biden can counter those perceptions by November 2024.
For Biden, the incentive to persevere is strong, especially if Donald Trump insists on staying in the picture. Moreover, a president who gave up running for re-election so early in his term would normally be very weakened.
That's not false, but there would be nothing dishonoring about not seeking a second term. at his advanced age. His mission was to spare his country and the world a second Trump term and emerge from an unprecedented pandemic. He accomplished it and it's not nothing.
If Biden gives up a second term, the contenders for his succession will be able to praise his successes in chorus rather than outbid his weaknesses, which could help maintain his dominance over his party after a tough midterm election.
In his place, Democrats will need to find a candidate who will inspire their partisan base without scaring voters more chilly from the center. Who will be this rare pearl? Very clever who could predict it so far in advance.