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President Joe Biden vows to stay in the race. Pictured: Joe Biden in May 27, 2024 at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Picture by: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders | Flickr

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Is Biden capable of resurrecting his campaign? The president seems to be ‘not going anywhere’

17 year-old Christian Yeung examines Biden’s attempts to stay in power following the presidential debate

Headlines and memes alike have been created in the wake of Biden’s performance at the presidential debate on June 27. The incumbent president’s poor performance involved stuttering and a failure to defend himself from the former president and Republican candidate Donald Trump’s many attacks. His performance resulted in numerous calls for him to stand down and be replaced on the ticket.

An editorial published by The New York Times the day after the debate said the ‘greatest public service’ the 81 year-old president can do is ‘to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election’ and that the best path to achieve victory would be to acknowledge Biden cannot continue his race but instead choose a different Democratic candidate who will be able to defeat Trump in November.

Echoing similar views, Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat congressman from Texas, was the first member of the Democratic party to ask Biden to step down. He cited Biden’s debate performance as one of the primary reasons, and called for him to withdraw from the election, as his “first commitment is to [the] country, not himself”.

The presidential primaries have already been decided, in which each party internally chooses who will be representing them in the elections. According to Democratic rules, the delegates who have chosen Biden as the primary will not be able to change their candidate ‘in good conscience’ unless Biden tells them he is dropping out of the race.

Will Biden go bye-then? Who would step in if he drops out?

Both alternatives would require a strong candidate to replace Biden on the ballot.

Officially, Biden continues to fight and is trying to save his candidacy, to prove he can carry out a second term. On July 3, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmedthat Biden is “absolutely not” dropping out of the presidential race.

Biden has also said that he would only drop out if the “Lord Almighty”told him to and he has also sent a letterto congressional Democrats, stating he is “firmly committed to staying in the race”.

Immediately after the June 27 debate, Biden launched efforts to fight back and face Trump on November 5. In a North Carolina campaign, viewers remarked that there was an almost “night and day” difference between the debate and Biden’s speech, as he addressed the crowd with more energy, according to The Guardian. The president was quoted to have said that although he does not “walk as easily”, “speak as smoothly”, and “debate as well” as he used to, he knew “how to tell the truth”.

Contributing factors to resurrecting Biden’s campaign

There doesn’t seem to be any real alternatives to Biden, with the most plausible replacement being VP Kamala Harris. Although she could easily take over Biden’s campaign funds and has the highest name recognition amongst other alternatives, her approval ratings are not great, with 37% approving and 53% disapproving of her, according to ABC News’ latest polls. Biden’s polls currently surpass Harris’ at 40% approval and 57% disapproval.

Biden is also a fairly experienced politician, taking office as Delaware’s Senator for 36 consecutive years, he later held the position of VP under former President Barack Obama for eight years and has been the 46th president of the United States since 2021. He’s the most experienced presidential candidate, first remarked in 2019 by The Washington Post, but even more so now with four more years added to his belt.

Taking a look at Biden’s opposition, Trump has also had his fair share of drama.

The former president was in court for most of May, before being found guilty on 34 counts of felonies, while facing another 57 counts of felonies. He also lost a civil lawsuit in New York and was impeached twice, but acquitted on all charges by the Senate.

Despite all of this, Trump still leads Biden in approval ratings post-debate, as a new poll reported by The New York Times shows 49% of registered voters would pick Trump versus the 41% who would pick Biden if the elections were to happen today.

In a poll, American adults were more likely (46%) to view Trump as someone with the ‘personality and leadership qualities a president should have’ compared with Biden’s 38%. Vox also provided a few possible explanations for why Trump’s approval ratings may be up, citing a more muted and toned-down campaign as a key reason. Another reason is that people have ‘economic nostalgia’. In other words, people dislike the current inflation and miss the pre-COVID-19 economy.

On a financial note, Biden also surprisingly raised more money than Trump during the debate, with $14mn raised on the day of until the morning after, as opposed to Trump’s $8mn. It could be a sign of Biden’s supporters rallying, as the hour after the presidential debate also saw the most money raised in an hour for the Democratic party since the beginning of the campaign in April of 2023. However, after being found guilty of falsifying business records in May, Trump was said to have raised over $141mn in that month alone, nearly double Biden’s $85mn.

There are still more questions that need to be answered. Among many Americans, the most important is that of Biden’s health.

CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr Sanjay Gupta, shared the opinion that Biden should undergo cognitive and movement disorder testing and the subsequent results published for the public. The Atlantic also reported that it is certainly possible Biden had a bad night for the debate and felt tired or sick, but there is still the possibility all these are just symptoms of old age.

As the elections rapidly approach November 5, the world awaits Biden’s plans to not only defend his position on the ballot against his party but also secure the presidency.

Written by:


Christian Yeung

Society editor

Hong Kong | United States

Born in 2006 in Hong Kong, Christian Yeung studies at the Taft School in Connecticut. His interests range from playing video games such as The Last of Us and Sekiro, listening to vinyls, and cooking anything from Tonkotsu ramen to crêpe suzette. He loves English and history as well as reading and writing intriguing stories.

He joined the Harbingers’ Editorial Board as a Society editor, encapsulating his many interests which he continues to find more of every day.

He speaks Cantonese, English and Mandarin.

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