Before yesterday’s weak showing by the Republican Party, the knives were out for President Joe Biden. CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post all fact-checked Biden for the first time in months. Saturday Night Live’s cold open made fun of Biden’s age and mental abilities. Politico ran a story on Election Day describing rising doubts about Biden’s ability to win in 2024.
Now, all that talk is gone.
Biden fared far better this November than either former Presidents Barack Obama or Bill Clinton did in their first terms. Among first-term presidents this century, only former President George W. Bush did better in 2002.
“Joe Biden is on the verge of being the most successful Democratic president in a midterm election that we have seen in quite some time,” MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell said last night.
How can Democrats possibly get rid of the “most successful Democratic president” in some time?
None of this changes the fact that Biden will be 81 years old on Election Day in 2024 or that 56% of those who voted Tuesday don’t have a favorable opinion of him or that 74% of those same voters are “dissatisfied” or “angry” about “the way things are going in the United States.”
Now, former-President Donald Trump is more unpopular than Biden, with 58% of voters saying they have an unfavorable view of him. So Biden still has a decent chance of beating Trump.
But what if Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination? What if a much younger governor of Florida who won the state by 20 points, while Trump could only manage a pitiful 3-point victory, became the Republican nominee?
Is Biden ready to compare his record to that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis? Are Democrats ready to compare the state they completely control, California, with the state where Republicans now occupy every statewide office, Florida?
Republicans look like they are on the verge of a nasty primary that Democrats might find highly entertaining. But at the end of it, Democratic voters may be jealous that their Republican counterparts were given the opportunity to choose a new candidate.