WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Joe Biden has been running his reelection bid in plain view for years.
Biden's 2024 campaign, which he will launch in a video this week, will be a continuation of his recent messaging and policy decisions: Highlight his accomplishments during his first two-year tenure, contrast his views with those of Republicans, and dismiss concerns about his age.
Biden's aides claim that Biden has been campaigning ever since Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives last year. He is focused on showing Americans the massive changes his administration has made to infrastructure, technology, and climate legislation, as well as portraying Republicans in the grips of the extreme right, just when Washington is about to have a critical debate over raising the country's borrowing limits.
Although advisers claim that Biden's message and activities in the coming months will be similar to what he has been doing in the past six months, voters will increasingly pay attention to the political dynamics of 2024.
Scott Mulhauser, former Biden spokesperson and Democratic consultant, said that President Biden was making a strong case for his reelection both before and during any formal announcement. Instead of throwing darts at the calendar, let's concentrate on the President's job well done, including an investment in America tour, a booming economy, and unemployment at historical lows.
He said: "These victories on the economic and political fronts are what success looks and feels like. They show how incumbents can win, and they matter much more than just a campaign launch event."
The timing of the release is still uncertain, but aides plan to release Biden's video launch on Tuesday, four years after his first successful election campaign. The president was at Camp David for the weekend and it was unclear if he had recorded the video. According to two people who were familiar with the discussions, he was expected to choose Julie Rodriguez, an experienced White House advisor, to run his reelection.
Biden's delay in announcing his reelection bid is not because he has wavered, according to a dozen aides, but rather because there were few incentives to do so sooner.
The incumbents tend to delay announcing their intentions as long as they can, with the exception Donald Trump who announced his reelection bid on Inauguration day. The majority of respondents believed it was easier to appeal to the wider public when they weren't viewed through the lens of election politics.
Aides said that leaks and private assurances about Biden's intentions to run last year were intended to reinforce the message to the political elite that the president is committed to a second term, and to discourage any serious contenders for the nomination. This effort was largely successful, with only Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and self-help writer Marianne Williamson mounting symbolic challenges against Biden.
Biden's general election prospects are more uncertain, even though Democrats have given him a clear path to nomination. He could face a rematch against GOP frontrunner Trump or one of a handful of Republicans who campaigned in part about ushering in new leadership. Republicans in Congress continue to attack Biden over government spending and inflation to try to weaken him ahead of the election.
Biden's desire to begin fundraising is the main reason he decided to launch his campaign now. His previous campaign raised over $1 billion and he will need to raise even more money this time.
The president is expected to kick-start this effort on Friday with a meeting of top donors in Washington. He also has to start building the digital and the field organizing operations for what his aides anticipate will be a tight general election due to the polarization of the country, regardless of who is the GOP's standard-bearer.
Biden's path to 2024 will be markedly different from the experience he had four years ago. He was written off by the majority of the political establishment, but he gained support after he established himself as the candidate most likely to defeat Trump. The campaign was also hampered by the coronavirus epidemic, which severely limited travel and face-to-face politicking.
Biden must now juggle both the challenges of running for office and the demands of leading the country. Allies and aides claim that these priorities are the same.
Eric Schultz is a Democratic activist and former president Barack Obama's spokesperson. He said that the best thing Joe Biden could do to ensure his reelection was to continue as President of United States. "That's what he has been doing."
The timing of Biden's announcement during his busy presidency week is not a coincidence. It is intended to emphasize his focus on governance rather than campaigning.
Biden's week-long schedule includes a meeting on Monday with Tennessee legislators who were punished after protesting gun control laws. A speech is scheduled for Tuesday to a union. The South Korean president Yoon Suk Yaol will be visiting the country on Wednesday. And Biden will appear at the White House correspondents' association dinner this weekend. He will also continue to debate with Republican members of Congress about how to increase the country's borrowing power.
At 80, the president is the oldest president ever elected. He also knows that voters will be concerned about his suitability for the position. He has so far dismissed these concerns by telling voters repeatedly to 'watch me.
His aides say that he will run a vigorous campaign at the right time. Biden is expected to increase fundraising for Democrats and himself in the coming weeks. As for holding bigger campaign events, Biden's aides say he will follow Obama's example. Obama launched his reelection bid in April 2011, but held his first official campaign rally 13 months later in May 2012.
Even members of Biden's own party are skeptical. Biden is only considered by about half of Democrats to be a good candidate for re-election in 2024. However, most Democrats would likely support him if he were the Democratic nominee.
Recent polling by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicates that 26% of Americans want to see Biden again run. This is a slight improvement from 22% in January. 47 percent of Democrats want him to run. This is a slight increase from the 37% in January.
Biden's aides admit that despite all the talk about staying the course, it is not enough to just focus on the things he has accomplished. He has begun to hold events that highlight the popular elements of his agenda which were left out during the Democrats' legislative frenzy over the past two years.
Biden, for example, held a Rose Garden event last week to highlight his efforts to improve the affordability and quality child and long-term childcare.
He also uses his bully pulpit as a platform to call for stronger gun control laws in the wake of recent high-profile incidents and to pass a law that would grant 'national right to abortion. His aides think that both proposals have wide support among Americans. However, they will not pass unless Democrats win significant majorities in Congress and re-elect Biden.