For well over two years now the polls have been pretty consistent when it comes to voter concerns about Joe Biden’s age and physical/mental fitness to lead this country, with clear majorities indicating they believe he’s too old for the job.
It’s become such an obvious issue that Democrats on Capitol Hill are now regularly asked if they agree with the concerns expressed by the American people on this topic, with most, like Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), trying and failing to put the issue to rest.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) defense of Biden’s age during a July interview was not exactly a win, either.
“He’s a kid. It’s relative – he’s younger than I am, he’s a kid to me as well,” Pelosi giddily stated at the time, leaving out her own worrisome moments.
But as 2024 approaches, the “whisper campaign” about Biden’s age among Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are less enthusiastic than Pelosi about having an octogenarian at the head of the ticket is starting to roar to life, as the Washington Post reported in a piece on the “anxiety” many of them feel about Biden’s prospects:
But Biden’s allies are frustrated by the hand-wringing from an anxious faction of the party, and even as campaign officials point to the president’s record of defying skeptics, they are strategizing internally about how to best combat the unmistakable nervousness.
Such “Washington whispers” have become far too common among “bed-wetting” Democrats, said Jim Messina, who ran Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and recently put together a 24-slide deck aiming to calm the jitters, which he sent to prominent Democratic officeholders.
That Messina even had to put together a “slide deck” to “calm jitters” just shows you how acute the worry is among Congressional Democrats about Biden’s reelection chances, as even the WaPo acknowledged.
“But interviews with more than 30 lawmakers, strategists, activists and other Democrats show that the uncertainty persists,” they also noted:
But one House Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of Biden’s candidacy, said he has heard concerns among fellow members as well as major Democratic donors about whether the president can sustain a grueling campaign and another four years in office.
Between all the panicking they’re doing about Biden, along with the open second-guessing among powerful Democrats when it comes to Vice President Kamala Harris, all of this gives off the appearance that there is a major unity issue within the Democratic party that is not going to go away anytime soon – and likely will linger even after the DNC convention considering how past disunity issues have played out for them in recent election years. And that will hold especially true if Biden somehow gets forced out (or bows out) and someone else is put in his place.
Assuming the GOP can unify after the Republican National Convention (and that’s a big “if”), the Democrat second-guessing and infighting over Biden will be something the GOP nominee can and should exploit with laser precision, particularly as it relates to minority voters who already feel abandoned by Democrats. In some districts and states, the crossover voting could end up making the difference in close elections, with the advantage going to Republicans in a crucial election year.
A lot of “ifs” and “coulds” and “shoulds” there to be sure, and we still have a long way to go. But at this point, the writing is on the wall, and Republicans need to be prepared to strike when the time is right.