Interview with Joe Biden: Solid, but no breakthrough


Lerato Khumalo

Will this strategy get Biden through the storm? On the same day, he made a campaign appearance in the state of Wisconsin in front of a cheering crowd. There was a lot of speculation about this “little debate” last week, he joked there. And then he shouted from this stage: “I will run. And I will win again.” Biden is clearly still not lacking in self-confidence.

Before the president boarded his Air Force One plane in Wisconsin, he defiantly addressed the reporters present: “You have all been wrong so far,” he said, referring to negative media scenarios from 2020 and 2022. In fact, the Democrats under Biden performed much better in the midterm elections than had been predicted. The so-called “red wave” did not materialize in 2022. The Republicans were only able to achieve a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Like the interview, this campaign appearance in Wisconsin is unlikely to make the negative reporting about him disappear. But the president’s strategy is perhaps simpler than one might expect. It’s about consistently conveying normality. For example, the entire White House apparatus has long been geared up for the NATO summit in Washington next week, which has been planned for months to mark the 75th anniversary of the defense alliance.

Joe Biden has to complete numerous appointments in the public eye. These moments should also offer him domestic political opportunities to present himself as a strong, international leader of a superpower. But, as always with this candidate, they also entail risks. The whole world will be watching to see whether he stumbles again, stammers or can withstand the immense pressure. The fact that this is being noticed is a stigma that Biden will probably not be able to get rid of until the end of the election campaign.