Can Joe Biden Overcome Social Media in 2024?

Eric Medlin
3 min readJan 10, 2024

2024 is not 2020.

Early voting in 2020. Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Joe Biden presidency is clearly in a moment of crisis. His approval rating is at one of its lowest points. Voters routinely say they trust Donald Trump more on unemployment, foreign policy, and nearly every other aspect of the job. Liberal pundits have pushed Biden to step aside for a younger replacement for months now. Those same pundits are now seriously contemplating the horrors that may befall the country during a second Trump term in office.

These stories make it seem as though Biden is not just doomed but politically incompetent. They assume that he has no political skills and simply drifts from crisis to crisis with no plan to help out the country or its middle class. But these assumptions ignore Biden’s real political successes. In 2020, Biden became one of only ten people in American history to defeat an incumbent president. Such an accomplishment took skill combined with a great deal of luck that Joe Biden may not have again in 2024.

In 2019 and 2020, one of Joe Biden’s greatest assets as a candidate was his ability to avoid social media. He did not provide Twitter, TikTok, and other platforms with the features of a politician that they crave: maximalist positions, constant content creation, and a combative impulse. Biden’s rivals, such as Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, mainly imploded because of their wholesale embrace of social media candidacies. Biden was able to stay out of the gutter of algorithms and virality and chart a path forward among the millions of people who are not addicted to tweeting.

But 2020 also ended up being the first year of an unprecedented pandemic. COVID-19 took up the mental and social energy of the vast majority of Americans. They focused less on the up-and-downs of the election than they would have otherwise. Campaign volunteers mainly worked from home. Joe Biden had relatively few campaign stops or interviews. The pandemic presented horrific daily stories of death, viral spread, and governmental mismanagement that prevented stories about the inevitable disconnect between Biden and young activists from gaining traction.

There is a strong possibility that these distractions, combined with immediate hatred of Trump from his position as president, helped to blunt what would have…

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Eric Medlin

I’m a writer interested in the intersections of history, ideas, and politics. I publish every week. www.twitter.com/medlinwrites