Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

On Friday, President Joe Biden declared his intention to defeat Republican challenger Donald Trump in the upcoming November presidential election, despite a disappointing debate performance that left many of his fellow Democrats concerned.

Biden, speaking at a rally the day after his debate with Trump, acknowledged his age and physical limitations. “I know I’m not a young man,” he said with a spirited demeanor. “I don’t walk as easily as I used to, I don’t speak as smoothly, and I don’t debate as well as I once did.” His comments came as the crowd cheered, chanting “four more years.”

Biden emphasized his commitment to running, stating, “I would not be running again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul that I could do this job. The stakes are too high.” Despite his verbal stumbles and sometimes wandering responses during the debate, which heightened concerns about his fitness for another term, Biden’s campaign remained resolute.

Campaign spokesperson Michael Tyler dismissed any speculation about Biden stepping down, stating, “We’d rather have one bad night than a candidate with a bad vision for the country’s future.”

An “all hands on deck” meeting was held by the campaign on Friday afternoon to reassure staff that Biden was not considering dropping out, according to two insiders. Although Trump, 78, made numerous false statements during the debate, the focus remained on Biden, especially among Democrats.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, avoided directly addressing his confidence in Biden’s candidacy. “I support the ticket. I support the Senate Democratic majority. We’re going to do everything possible to take back the House in November,” he told reporters, steering away from the question. Similarly, other Democrats, like Senator Jack Reed, stated, “That’s the president’s decision,” when asked about Biden’s future in the race.

However, key figures such as former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama expressed their continued support for Biden. Obama wrote on X, “Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and somebody who only cares about himself.”

The New York Times editorial board, which had endorsed Biden in 2020, suggested that Biden should step aside to give the Democratic Party a better chance against Trump by selecting another candidate. “The greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election,” the editorial stated.

Despite the criticism, Biden’s campaign reported raising $14 million on Thursday and Friday, with their single best hour of fundraising occurring right after the Thursday night debate. In comparison, the Trump campaign raised $8 million on the night of the debate.

A potential positive for Biden was that only 48 million Americans watched the debate, significantly fewer than the 73 million who viewed the candidates’ last face-off in 2020.

Biden, already the oldest American president in history, faced minimal opposition during the Democratic primary process and has secured enough support to confirm his place as the Democratic nominee. Trump similarly overcame his primary challengers early in the year, setting the stage for a contentious general election battle.

If Biden were to withdraw, the Democratic Party would have less than two months to select a new nominee at its national convention starting on August 19.

This could lead to a complex process involving potential candidates such as Vice President Kamala Harris and other prominent figures whose names have been suggested as possible replacements.