President Joe Biden’s debate fumble has implications that extend beyond borders

US President Joe Biden fumbled the ball and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he can weather the storm of public opinion and the naysayers in his party who are scrambling to find an alternative. Pictured: US President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X. 

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. If you need physical proof, look no further than south of the border to the United States. With pressure ramping up by the day for him to renounce his bid to seek a second term, President Joe Biden finds himself in for the fight of his life.

Biden’s career has been defined by a near lifelong commitment to public service that has seen him transcend the ranks from scrappy Senator to Vice President and then on to become President. On its face, his legacy hinges on what comes next, but his decision has impacts for other world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

After last week’s presidential debate, there’s no two ways about it. Biden fumbled the ball and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he can weather the storm of public opinion and the naysayers in his party who are scrambling to find an alternative. To save the furniture at this critical juncture will require nothing short of a flawless performance by Biden in the lead up to the Democratic National Convention in August. 

That means six weeks of getting through speeches with no significant stumbles. There can be no mixing up names of heads of state. And least of all, absolutely no gaffes of the type Biden has fallen victim to over the last several months like wandering off stage or freezing while the cameras are on him.

For anyone who has seen life behind the curtain on a political campaign, you know that mistakes happen (sometimes frequently). Unfortunately for Biden, the clock has run out on goodwill to be offered by Americans who overwhelmingly believe that he is too old for the job.

Worse still is the fact that whether Biden stays or goes, his performance during those 90-minutes distracted from the very real challenges that are engulfing the US. Sure, the two candidates on stage talked loosely about immigration, the economy and geopolitical threats but you’d be hard pressed to hear of solutions that voters could take to the bank to improve their lives. We did get some insight into who can golf better though. 

So, what comes next? We are in the homestretch of the pre-election period with conventions kicking off next month. The window for Biden to change his mind, or have it changed for him, is rapidly shrinking. 

Biden frequently talks about the stakes, and the options before the American public. This too is a sentiment woven into the public speeches and answers Trudeau references when talking about his opponents.

The difference in the US context, however, is that the election is still winnable for the Democrats. Even if Biden stays on, he is not staring down the barrel of a 20-point gap in polling. Pulling a win out of the hat is still a possibility especially given many won’t start turning their attention to who they will vote for until September.

A few days can serve as a lifetime in politics. Where once Trudeau and his team wanted to paint their opponent as the Trump of Canada, now they will wait with bated breath to see how the situation unfolds for Biden. 

If Biden does decide that the odds are stacked against him, this could be the final nail in the coffin of Trudeau. His hold on his caucus loosens by the day, and many are just waiting for a reason to make their grievances public. 

A shakeup in the US is the last thing Trudeau needs right now and it is a safe bet that he is holding his breath in the lead up to next month’s convention.


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