Official PhD-Grade Smart Person Explanation of the Biden Age Freak Out

US President Joe Biden speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC, April 29, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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Last night I wrote this bit of tough love for those of us who are perhaps understanding that Joe Biden definitely positively will be the Democratic nominee in 2024 and yet still want to agonize over his age and perseverate over the potential electoral consequences. Now I’d like to shift gear and discuss why it is exactly that there has been such a freak out about this now. After all Biden has been as old as he is … well, forever. Literally, forever. Think about it. Not long ago social media was filled with Dark Brandon memes. His campaign was actually making big money selling Dark Brandon merch. So what happened exactly? Why now rather than in the Spring or last winter?

The answer is pretty clearly coming down off the sugar high of the summer of Trump indictments, arrests, arraignments, mug shots and more. News organizations traditionally schedule major polls around Labor Day and the end of summer. We’ve now seen those polls from AP, CNN, Quinnipiac and others. They’ve told a common story of two candidates roughly tied. We’ve already discussed the various reasons why you can’t make much of polls more than a year before an election, the comparable polls of earlier two term presidents like Reagan, Clinton and Obama. (9/11 and the Iraq War makes George W. Bush an outlier.) But here we’re not talking about predicting the outcome of the 2024 election. We’re talking about communal psychology.

People look back at Trump’s bonkers and perilous four years in office. They remember his unprecedented failed coup trying to stay in office after his 2020 defeat. They see him facing an array of major felony indictments across the country. And yet, with all that, at least according to these polls about half the country seems to be saying: Yeah, let’s do that again.

This spurs a predictable and understandable reaction from a lot of people best described as What The Fuck Is Going On Here?

I get it. We all do. Who isn’t feeling that? How couldn’t you? People ask, what’s wrong here? We must be missing something because this is too crazy. And that thing is Biden’s age. That’s the explanation.

At the risk of repeating myself, obviously Biden is old. It’s a challenge for his campaign. But the question is why now. And I’m pretty sure that is the answer.

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