Biden Faces Domestic and International Challenges in Reelection Bid

President Joe Biden finds himself in the midst of a stormy political climate that challenges his bid for a second term.

by Faruk Imamovic
Biden Faces Domestic and International Challenges in Reelection Bid
© Getty Images/Andrew Harnik

As the United States gears up for another presidential election, President Joe Biden finds himself in the midst of a stormy political climate that challenges his bid for a second term. With wars unfolding in the Middle East and Ukraine, Biden must navigate the tricky waters of global politics while also addressing domestic unrest and economic dissatisfaction.

During a pivotal interview with CNN in Wisconsin—a state that may prove crucial in the upcoming election—Biden discussed the various pressures facing his administration. Notably, Wisconsin was a narrow win for him in 2020, and its electoral significance is underscored once again. Biden's challenges are manifold: international conflicts that threaten to escalate, domestic turmoil over foreign policy decisions, and an electorate that seems skeptical of his optimistic economic outlook.

Despite a record of substantial legislative achievements, Biden contends with the highest inflation rates in decades and soaring interest rates that have burdened consumers, particularly affecting their ability to afford homes and cars. These economic headwinds mask his successes and fuel voter discontent, complicating his campaign narrative.

A Troubled Opponent and the Electoral Dynamics

However, Biden's primary opponent, Donald Trump, faces vulnerabilities that may tilt the balance. Trump's legal troubles, including a high-profile case involving alleged hush money payments, and his divisive rhetoric may alienate crucial suburban voters. Furthermore, his stance on abortion has painted him into a corner, especially after his appointments to the Supreme Court led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This decision has provided Democrats with a rallying point, especially as states and courts impose strict anti-abortion measures.

Moreover, Trump's reluctance to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses echoes his previous attempts to undermine election results, posing a stark reminder of the threat he could pose to democratic norms.

Despite these issues, Biden faces his own uphill battle to connect with voters on economic issues. In a recent CNN poll, his approval ratings on handling the economy and inflation are notably low, with many voters prioritizing these issues over others. The memory of high inflation in the early 1980s still lingers with older voters, making economic stability a key election issue.

In his interview, Biden emphasized the strength of the U.S. economy under his administration and disputed the polling methods that show his low approval ratings. He defended his economic record by pointing to job creation and growth during his term, attempting to contrast his vision with Trump's nostalgia for the pre-pandemic economy.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden© Getty Images/Andrew Harnik

The International Arena and Voter Sentiments

The global stage presents another set of challenges for Biden, particularly his interactions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His threats to withhold military aid in response to Israeli actions in Gaza have provoked criticism from both Republicans and progressives, the latter frustrated with his support for Israel despite civilian casualties.

This delicate balancing act continues to test Biden's leadership, as he must navigate between supporting Israel, appeasing domestic voters, and managing international relations—a task complicated by the ongoing conflict and its ramifications on U.S. politics.

Biden's reelection campaign is further complicated by these factors, as well as his historical distinction as the oldest president seeking a second term. With the election potentially hinging on a small number of pivotal states, every issue—from foreign policy to economic concerns—becomes magnified, making the 2024 election a critical juncture for both Biden and the nation.

Electoral Strategies and Voter Engagement

Biden’s Appeal to the Middle-Class Voter

As President Joe Biden campaigns for reelection, he is acutely aware of the need to resonate with middle-class Americans, whose support could be pivotal. Throughout his presidency, Biden has attempted to draw contrasts between his own modest beginnings and Trump's affluent lifestyle, arguing that he is more in tune with the needs of ordinary Americans. In recent speeches, he has emphasized this difference, highlighting his policies aimed at boosting the middle class and protecting health care rights under the Affordable Care Act, which he claims Trump would dismantle if reelected.

Biden's efforts to connect with voters on a personal level were evident during his interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, where he emphasized the administration's success in managing the economy despite widespread skepticism. He stated, “We have created more jobs. We’re in a situation where people have access to good-paying jobs,” aiming to reinforce his administration's achievements in the face of adverse polling data.

The Suburban Voter Dilemma

Suburban voters, often seen as key swing voters, are particularly important in this election. Trump’s past behavior and rhetoric have sometimes alienated this group, which could benefit Biden if he successfully positions himself as a stable and less divisive alternative. Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election and his involvement in legal controversies are likely to revive concerns about his suitability for office among these critical voters.

However, the challenge for Biden remains substantial. His ability to sway undecided suburbanites depends on overcoming their reservations about his economic policies and addressing their immediate financial concerns, which include inflation and the cost of living. Engaging these voters with a message that balances reassurance with realistic assessments of economic challenges is crucial for Biden’s campaign strategy.

Joe Biden