President Joe Biden is entering 2023 on a relatively solid political footing, riding the high of a better-than-expected midterm result highlighting his ability to beat former President Donald Trump in a 2024 rematch.
But that solid political standing could be jeopardized by questions about Biden’s age and his capacity to beat political rivals who may not be as tainted as Trump — namely Florida Governor DeSantis.
Although DeSantis hasn’t announced a 2024 bid and has indicated that he’ll be focusing on his role as Florida’s Governor, he is likely to be pressured by the GOP to enter the race as a viable alternative to Trump among moderate and MAGA base.
Trump’s image was damaged by the GOP’s midterm results, but DeSantis’ results — beating his opponent by 20 points in Florida, typically a swing state — elevated his political influence.
If the midterms were good for Biden, they were great for DeSantis, proving that he had the chops to defeat the President in a 2024 race, should he beat Trump in a GOP primary.
Democratic strategist, Cristina Antelo, noted that Biden’s age was still a contentious topic in the Democrat party and raised concerns for Democrat voters, even after his legislative accomplishments and Democrats’ midterm performances.
Biden, who turned 80 in November, would face a different challenge from a 44-year-old opponent in DeSantis than a 76-year-old opponent in Trump.
Antelo expressed her disbelief at Biden’s low polling, “even among Dems,” but noted that it could be because Democrats are “worried that ‘an old white guy’ at the top of the ticket just isn’t going to cut it” against a more formidable threat that doesn’t have the baggage Trump does.