Bracing for a Trump Rematch, Biden Confronts Four Thorny Challenges

As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address on Thursday, President Biden faces four intractable political problems that loom as hazards to his re-election campaign.

Worries about his age, unease with his stewardship of the economy, frustration over his alliance with Israel during its war in Gaza and an openness to third-party and independent candidates have emerged as central reasons that his Democratic coalition appears a little smaller and less enthusiastic than it did in 2020.

Mr. Biden still has the spring, summer and fall to turn things around — and Democrats have won a series of elections in recent years by focusing their campaigns on abortion rights.

But combined, these political hurdles threaten his ability to make the case his aides have placed at the heart of his campaign strategy: making 2024 a binary choice between the president and his predecessor, former President Donald J. Trump.

“It’s very clearly a vibes election, not a math election, isn’t it?” said Tory Gavito, the president of Way to Win, a liberal advocacy group. Her organization warned last week that the “uncommitted” vote against Mr. Biden in Michigan’s primary election, which protested his Gaza policy, was “not something that should be ignored, taken lightly or dismissed as isolated to Michigan.” Indeed, “uncommitted” captured 19 percent of the vote in Minnesota on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden’s campaign has argued for months that his political standing will improve once voters recognize that the 2024 election will be a choice between him and Mr. Trump.

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