Should Biden Run For A Second Term?

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Whatever the response of viewers to the contents of President Joe Biden‘s State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, it’s clear that he not only skillfully discussed the many accomplishments of his administration, but provided a roadmap of the work that still needed to be done – and who the nation needed to do it.

Now that the president has practically announced that he will indeed run for a second term, all his second guessers will be weighing the pros and cons of his decision.

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The Elephant In The Room

Let us begin with the biggest elephant in the room – Joe Biden’s age age. Already our oldest president, he would begin his second term at eighty-two – an age at which nearly all Americans are no longer working.

Will he be physically and mentally up for the job? Do we want to take the chance that at this advanced age, he may no longer be able to carry out all the duties of the presidency? How many eighty-two-year-olds would you hire – and even provide with four-year contracts?

I think a large number of voters will be asking themselves the same question. Surely, even his most ardent supporters – let alone his political enemies – are quite correct in being concerned, regardless of how many pushups he can do.

Still, tens of millions of Trump supporters had had no problem voting twice for a man almost Biden’s age – an obese person who subsisted on junk food and shunned any form of exercise that did not involve riding around in a golf cart. Surely then, tens of millions of Biden supporters will probably continue giving him a pass on his advanced age.

Should Biden Run For Reelection

Let’s consider, in turn, the arguments for whether Biden should or should not run for reelection, he should not run again, and finally, the three likely major issues of the upcoming presidential campaign – inflation, a possible recession, and the war between Russian and Ukraine.

Biden is surely one of the most skilled politicians in recent times. How many other presidents could have pushed through Congress such major spending bills as the Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. And who else could have assembled a grand alliance of often less enthusiastic NATO members to help Ukraine defend itself against an all-out Russian invasion. And manage all this with razor-thin majorities in both Houses of Congress?

Please also keep in mind that Biden managed these feats not only over the opposition of nearly all Republican representatives and senators, but during very trying economic times. Not only was our nation beset by double-digit inflation, but also by the imminent threat of a recession. Indeed, it appeared that the only way to substantially reduce the inflation would be to slow down a fairly robust economic expansion enough to cause a recession.

The Federal Reserve Board – whose primary job is to regulate the rate of increase in our nation’s money supply – had been increasingly alarmed during the early months of 2022 with the growing rate of inflation. which was approaching double-digit levels. So, the Board of Governors decided to begin pumping the monetary brake, thereby driving up interest rates, and making it more difficult for businesses, consumers, and homebuyers to borrow.

But most importantly, the Fed cut the inflation rate almost in half. The price of gasoline – which had risen to around five dollars dollars a gallon in most parts of the country, fell by about one-third. While Biden could not take much credit, at least he was no longer being blamed.


Economic Slowdown

In the first half of 2022, the economy slowed markedly, almost slipping into a recession. Indeed, it surely would have had it not been for the passage of the two trillion-dollar-plus Infrastructure and Inflation Relief Acts. In late 2022, our economy resumed its growth, as our unemployment rate fell to just 3.4 percent –the lowest it had been since 1969!

President Biden and the Democratic majorities in Congress had dodged two bullets – runaway inflation and a recession. But now the Republicans control the House of Representatives, albeit by the slimmest of majorities.

They will do their best to block any major Democratic economic initiatives. This could even lead to a replay of President Harry Truman’s reelection campaign, when Republican majorities in both Houses blocked Truman’s economic initiatives, while he labeled them “the do-nothing 81st Congress.”

While Congressional Republicans have almost unanimously opposed Biden’s economic initiatives, they have been reliable partners in providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. It is very likely that this partnership will continue, although we may see a rising tide of Republican opposition as the war drags on.

Biden’s chances of reelection will hinge not just how well the war goes, but how well we are able to deal with the twin economic problems of keeping inflation under control while continuing to avert a recession. If Biden is able to successfully met these three challenges, then he should win a second term. But a whole lot can happen over the next year and three-quarters.