US elections 2024: president Joe Biden seeks time to ‘finish the job’ as he announces re-election bid

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Biden said when he ran against Trump in 2019 the US was in a battle for the soul of America, "and we still are"

US President Joe Biden has formally announced his run for re-election in 2024, asking voters to give him more time to “finish the job” he began when he was sworn in to office.

Biden faces a smooth path to winning his party’s nomination with no serious Democratic rivals, the Associated Press reports. But he still faces an intense battle to retain the presidency, in an increasingly divided nation.

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The announcement, in a three-minute video, came on the four-year anniversary of when Biden declared his run for the White House in 2019, promising to heal the “soul of the nation” during the turbulent presidency of Donald Trump - a goal that has remained elusive.

“I said we are in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are,” the president said. “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”

Biden could potentially run against Trump again in 2024, with the former president announcing his plans to run again last November. Trump has reaffirmed his intention to seek a second term, even though he is now in the midst of a number of high-profile legal challenges - some relating to past campaigns and his time as president - including a fight against 34 criminal charges of falsifying business records in a Manhattan court.

US President Joe Biden has formally announced his bid for re-election in 2024 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)US President Joe Biden has formally announced his bid for re-election in 2024 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden has formally announced his bid for re-election in 2024 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

While running for a second term is usually a given, the Associated Press reports a notable swathe of Democratic voters have indicated they would prefer Biden not run, in part because of his age. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term. The president has called their concerns “totally legitimate”, but did not address them head-on in the launch video.

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But few things have historically unified Democratic voters like the prospect of Trump returning to power. Biden’s political standing within his party stabilised after Democrats notched a stronger-than-expected performance in last year’s midterm elections, as the president set out to run again on the same themes that buoyed his party last autumn, particularly on preserving access to abortion.

“Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There’s nothing more important. Nothing more sacred,” Biden said in the launch video, which painted the Republican Party as extremists trying to roll back access to abortion, cut Social Security, limit voting rights and ban books they disagree with.

“Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take those bedrock freedoms away," he continued. "This is not a time to be complacent... That’s why I’m running for re-election.”

Biden looks set to campaign on his record. He spent his first two years as president combating the Covid-19 pandemic and pushing through major Bills, such as the bipartisan infrastructure package, legislation to promote high-tech manufacturing, and climate measures.

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With Republicans now in control of the House, Biden has shifted his focus to implementing those massive laws and making sure voters credit him for the improvements, while sharpening the contrast with the Republican Party ahead of an expected showdown over raising the nation’s borrowing limit that could have debilitating consequences for the country’s economy.

But the president also has multiple policy goals and unmet promises from his first campaign that he is asking voters to give him another chance to fulfil.

“Let’s finish this job. I know we can,” Biden said in the video, repeating a mantra he said a dozen times during his State of the Union address in February, listing everything from passing a ban on assault-style weapons and lowering the cost of prescription drugs to codifying a national right to abortion after the Supreme Court’s ruling last year overturning Roe v. Wade.

Biden, speaking over brief video clips and photos of key moments in his presidency, snapshots of diverse Americans and flashes of his most outspoken Republican foes, including Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, urged supporters that “this is our moment” to “defend democracy, stand up for our personal freedoms, stand up for the right to vote and our civil rights”.

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