U.S. President Joe Biden, despite a majority of Americans polled not supporting his run for a second term, announced via video on Tuesday that he will seek the White House again in 2024.
Biden, 80, a Democrat, is gearing up for a possible showdown with his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, 76, who announced on Nov 15 that he plans to seek another term.
In declaring his formal entry into the 2024 campaign, Biden said he decided to run again because the "battle for the soul of America" is continuing, and he also referenced "MAGA extremists" in a jab at Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden told voters that his presidency would be a bridge to the next generation, a comment that some interpreted as a signal that he would serve only one term, but he has decided to forge ahead.
There also had been speculation as to whether Vice-President Kamala Harris would remain on the ticket. But she appeared frequently in the three-minute campaign video, which concluded with a "Biden-Harris" logo.
"Joe and I look forward to finishing the job, winning this battle for the soul of the nation, and serving the American people for four more years in the White House," Harris said in her own statement.
Trump released his own video Monday ahead of Biden's announcement, whom he said has done more "damage" than the "five worst presidents in American history" combined. Trump went after Biden on issues ranging from the strength of the dollar, inflation, border security and the deadly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in August 2022.
"Banks are failing. Our currency is crashing, and the dollar will soon no longer be the world standard, which will be our greatest defeat in over 200 years," Trump said.
Analysts and pollsters said that U.S. voters are ambivalent about both likely candidates, as there has been somewhat of a national fatigue over a potential Trump-Biden rematch in 2024.
Polls found that the majority of Americans, to whom Biden has appealed for support to finish the job, show no enthusiasm about his possible second term.
Biden also will face a primary challenge from Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who announced last week that he will seek the Democratic nomination.
Trump also will face a primary opponent in Nikki Haley, who previously was governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and likely former vice-president Mike Pence and U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. But Trump's biggest potential challenger could be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce whether he will run.
"The American public is ambivalent about both President Biden and former president Trump, but they are the likely nominees of their parties. Once those nominations are confirmed in the summer national party conventions, partisans on both sides will line up behind their candidates," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist and historian at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
"Biden's suggestion in 2020 that he might serve only one term as president, because many were concerned about his age at that time, was overcome by his sense that there was more he wanted to accomplish and that his conduct in office had shown that age had not slowed him down," Jillson told China Daily.
"No one wants the rematch — the Trump fans because they don't like Biden but fear that Trump will lose to him again, and the Biden fans because they have done this once already," William C. Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law in New York, said in an email.
Both the current and former president could face resistance from the public as a whole in a general election, according to The Associated Press, whose poll released on Friday found only 26 percent of Americans overall want to see Biden run again, and only about half of his own party members think he should do so.
The poll also found 65 percent of U.S. adults said they would probably or definitely not support Trump in a general election, compared with 56 percent who said the same about Biden.
Ahead of Biden's announcement, a national NBC News poll found that just 28 percent of registered voters surveyed wanted Biden to run again, with 35 percent of respondents saying they believe Trump should run for president again.
According to the survey, 70 percent of all Americans — including 51 percent of Democrats — believe Biden should not run for a second term.
The same poll found 60 percent of Americans, including a third of Republicans, do not think the former president should run in 2024.
The survey also found that nearly half of those who don't want Biden to run say the president's age is a "major" reason. As the oldest president to be inaugurated, in 2021, Biden would be 86 at the end of a full second term.
The voters' responses reflect their judgment on Biden's performance, and Biden's re-election wish reflects his, noted Stanley Renshon, a political scientist at City University of New York.
"Trump is viewed as someone who loses, then whines about it. He may also face other criminal indictments that would weaken his campaign. His only advantages are a core of strong support, and that Biden is not popular," Renshon said.
Biden's overall approval rating has remained at 42.1 percent as of Tuesday, according to an aggregation of polls by the political website FiveThirtyEight.