New York Times pushes back against Biden's 2024 candidacy—says it could lead to a Trump win

The column echoes one posted by the Washington Post.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a column by Ross Douthat suggesting that Biden’s "decline" could see Trump win the 2024 election.

"I do not think Biden’s decline is overstated by the media; by some Republicans, maybe, but the mainstream press is, if anything, treading gingerly around the evident reality," Douthat wrote. 

"But I do think Biden’s defenders are correct that the effect of his age on his presidency has been, at most, only mildly negative," he added. 

Douthat used a baseball saying, "The ball will always find you" to analyze the "increasing anxiety" around Biden’s "lousy poll numbers."

The phrase means that "if you place a player where he shouldn’t be, or try to disguise a player’s incapacity by shifting him away from the likely action, or give a player you love a chance to stay on the field too long for sentimental reasons, the risk you take will eventually catch up to you, probably at the worst possible moment."

In response to plummeting poll numbers, Douthat wrote that Biden’s supporters’ "argument is that the president’s decline is overstated, that his administration is going well and he deserves more credit than he’s getting."

Douthat suggested running Biden as the Democrat nominee poses the risk of Trump winning the election.

"In running Biden for re-election, Democrats are making a fateful bet that this successful management can simply continue through two sets of risks: the high stakes of the next election, in which a health crisis or just more slippage might be the thing that puts Trump back in the White House, and the different but also substantial stakes of another four-year term."

"Where I have criticisms of Bidenism," Douthat added, "they’re mostly the normal ones a conservative would have of any liberal president, not special ones associated with chaos or incompetence created by cognitive decline."

Douthat noted that there was the possibility Biden could "limp to another victory, that his second term will yield no worse consequences than, say, Ronald Reagan’s did, that having managed things thus far, his aides, spouse and cabinet can see the next five years through."

The column echoes one posted by the Washington Post on Tuesday, with writer David Ignatius writing, "I don't think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection. It's painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished. But if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement—which was stopping Trump."

A recent poll found that just 36 percent of registered voters say Biden is "mentally up for the job" of being president, compared to 46 percent who said the same for 2024 GOP frontrunner and former president Donald Trump, who is three years younger than the 80-year-old president.

73 percent of voters said that they felt Biden was too old to seek a second term. If elected, Biden would be 81 years old, and would end his second term at 86 years of age. Biden was already the oldest elected president in 2020, at 77 years old.

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