Biden’s re-election bid elicits skeptical reactions from student voters

A generation of students that supported Bernie Sanders now seek younger candidates for better representation.

President Joe Biden exits Air Force One from the middle of the three doors with his iPhone in hand.

President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign slogan, “Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead,” signaled hopefulness. Today, with Biden officially announcing his bid for re-election, students are skeptical that the 80-year-old’s best days are still ahead.

According to a poll from NBC News, close to 70% of Americans oppose Biden’s decision to run for the 2024 presidency, with almost half of the respondents citing his age as a major factor.

For sophomore Isabelle Lim, Biden’s age wasn’t her greatest concern, but she said she would much rather vote for a younger candidate who she could better identify with.

“There’s a lot of buzz that like, oh, like Biden’s senile,” Lim said, though she doesn’t necessarily subscribe to it.

Benkei Golden, a junior studying cinema media studies, said he felt a “generational alienation with [Biden],” making him seek out younger candidates.

Much of Gen Z identifies with Bernie Sanders, despite being a year older than Biden, for example, student Jamie Mazur name-dropped Sanders when asked for his “ideal candidate.”

In an unscientific online poll sent out by Annenberg Media, students gave their opinions on upcoming candidates. Many shared similar sentiments in support of Biden such as “no better option and I would rather get him in office than another Republican” and “least bad option; it’s a shitshow no matter what.”

When approaching other students for their perspectives, many either claimed they lacked the specific knowledge to speak on the topic or stated the issue was “too political.” Those who shared their responses were generally ambivalent.

Andrew Ngo, a business administration student, said a quality he seeks in a candidate is someone who can better understand bipartisan issues.

“I think the last few administrations have been a little bit rough on that end, and I think it’s hurt overall progress,” Ngo said.

USC students who were interviewed said there was a lack of better, and often younger, options. David Deiser, a film and television production major, said voting for other candidates, like Republican candidate Donald Trump, could lead America into “dangerous territory.”

“I think neo-liberal mediocrity is always going to be better than what can sort of lead up to fascism,” Deiser said. “I think it’s fine that Biden is running again. I hope he wins based on the fact that people are probably going to vote for him because he’s a moderate, but I would rather obviously, there be more far-left candidates.”

In an interview with CNN, Biden expressed his hopefulness to continue to work on abortion rights and environmental issues.

“The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer” Biden said. “I know what I want the answer to be and I think you do too. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.”

In a three-minute video announcing his campaign, Biden took a jab at his opponent, Donald Trump, stating “MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms,” while displaying photos of the 2021 capitol riots.

Entering the 2020 presidential election with a high profile image, as Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president previously (2009-2017), the race was tight as many Americans supported the then-current president, Donald Trump. Yet Biden received 81 million votes, the most any president has in U.S. history.

The 2024 election provides another intense matchup as both Biden and Trump are the projected candidates for their parties.