President Joe Biden’s week got off to a bad start.
Though recorded on Friday, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria aired on Sunday, the president inadvertently admitted that the U.S. was running low on 155-mm ammunition. In the same interview, he called China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which stretches across Eurasia, a “ring road” — a term Europeans generally use for roads that encircle cities.
Biden is prone to gaffes — partly due to a speech disorder that by no means reflects cognitive ability. But increasingly he seems less lucid — the natural result of aging.
RealClearPolitics has Biden’s job approval ratings average fluctuating in the low-mid 40s since last fall. Polls show Democrats would like an alternative to Biden, but most prefer him to their present choices and would vote for him anyway.
Still, there is little enthusiasm for reelecting a man who would be 86 at the end of his second presidential term. There’s a decent chance he would step down at some point if reelected in 2024. Being president is a tough job.
Donald Trump is just a few years younger. But the latest polls have Biden and Trump tied nationally in a hypothetical race. The former president and potential future convict has a 10-point lead over Biden in Florida.
Biden is vulnerable. Inflation is moving away from last year’s high, without causing massive job losses. But inflation’s downward trajectory may not be as steep as the president hopes. The Federal Reserve’s desired “soft landing” is possible. But the odds of a recession between now and next summer are growing, according to surveys of economists.
Voters are dissatisfied. Yet Biden is not a terrible president. His decades of experience as a legislator have delivered value during his term in office. He’s also a good retail politician. And his centrist instincts are sorely needed in today’s polarized America.
The bottom line is this: for Democrats, the choice in 2024 isn’t clear. What they deserve is a healthy primary process. That would help ensure Biden is tough enough for next November — and the years that follow.
Arif Rafiq is the editor of Globely News. Rafiq has contributed commentary and analysis on global issues for publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, the New York Times, and POLITICO Magazine. He has appeared on numerous broadcast outlets, including Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio.