February 1, 2023

Do not write off President Biden yet. His candidacy was once declared dead and buried then came South Carolina

President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and their children Ashley Biden and Hunter Biden, takes the oath of office as President of the United States Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
P20210120Ck-0659: President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Jill Biden and their children Ashley Biden and Hunter Biden, takes the oath of office as President of the United States Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The headlines are currently very bad for President Joseph R. Biden Jr. barely a year after he was sworn in to office on January 20, 2021: Build Back Better is Dead. Voting Rights is Dead. Champ Biden, his beloved German shepherd is Dead. COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing. Hospitalizations are ballooning. Tests are not widely available. His approval rating is abysmal. Inflation is raging. His messaging is confusing. He keeps calling Vice President Kamala Harris President. Stacey Abrams is snubbing him. America is more divided under his leadership. Russia is amassing troops along the Ukraine border. North Korea is launching more missiles and Ethiopia is burning.

Joe Biden’s win was helped by an endorsement from influential congressman U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, whom Biden repeatedly credited in his speech. Scott Olson/Getty Images

It all seems like doom and gloom with no bloom in sight whether at home or abroad. For many people reading the above headlines, Mr. Biden appears to be down, out and buried, with virtually no chance of rising again or retaking control of the deteriorating situation.

Many have already declared the situation so hopeless and his presidency so over that they are already looking for his replacement with some columnists calling on Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate, to get ready for 2024.

President Biden’s friends and foes are all critical of his presidency right now. His own allies in Congress are humiliating him and making the situation openly worse, and are helping to reinforce the narrative that the American leader is a lonely 79-year man in free fall.

Inside the White House, the mood is somber. Only 14 journalists are allowed to attend the White House daily press briefing by White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki because of the Omicron variant. That press briefing is hardly live on television, undermining the president’s message.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Thursday, September 23, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

Mr. Biden has recorded some major successes, but those successes are not even making the headlines now. For instance, he has ended a devastating and costly 20-year war in Afghanistan. Unemployment levels have crashed while the economy is booming with many employers hiring. He signed into law an infrastructure bill that will reverberate across the nation many decades from now. He has also brought calm and decency to the White House in just one year. In addition, most Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19. But all those successes do not seem to count now. It all seems very difficult, dark and lonely.

But do not write off President Biden yet. Do not declare his presidency over yet. Many other presidents have struggled in their first year in office, and some who did well in their first year like Jimmy Carter even lost re-election.

Mr. Biden has been on this road before. Back in early 2020, many declared his candidacy dead after three primary elections that he lost. He came fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and second in Nevada.

Back then, many were already asking him to throw in the towel. It all appeared as if Mr. Biden, who had run for president three times, would never win a primary or a caucus.

Then came South Carolina in late February following a key endorsement by U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, an African American and the state’s longest serving congressman.

Mr. Biden won the state and declared himself “very much alive.” He went on to win his party’s nomination and beat Donald J. Trump in the general election.

“Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared his candidacy dead. Now, thanks to all of you – the heart of the Democratic Party – we just won and we’ve won big because of you, and we are very much alive,” he told a crowd of supporters in Columbia, South Carolina, following his first primary win.

Mr. Biden added, “For those that have been knocked down, counted out, left behind – this is your campaign.”

Back then, like now, his presidential campaign operation seemed to be disorganized and even lacked resources. There were not enough campaign signs in crucial areas and polling data were showing that he was losing. It all appeared that the plane was about to crash-land when his presidential ambitions were revived in South Carolina.

Right now, Mr. Biden seems to be passing through Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. He would need a big moment, he would need to find his South Carolina again to revive his presidency.

Simon Ateba is a White House Correspondent for Today News Africa in Washington DC. His opinion does not represent that of Today News Africa.


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