Biden presidency is a dumpster fire. How many warning signs do you need?

Perhaps nothing illustrates Joe Biden’s presidency better than a photo his team posted to celebrate his 81st birthday on Monday.

Biden is shown gripping the sides of the table, while a mass of candles (presumably 81 of them) rages on the cake in front of him.

It’s symbolic of how he’s clinging to the hope of winning a second term, regardless of the dumpster fire of his low approval ratings and the dissatisfaction among the American people with his job performance.

And no matter how much Biden and his administration dismiss concerns about his age (or joke about it), voters are worried.

Truly who is the communications genius who thought putting 81 candles on Biden’s cake was a good idea? It looks like world after Biden’s first term – completely engulfed in flames.

— Marc Thiessen 🇺🇸❤️🇺🇦🇹🇼🇮🇱 (@marcthiessen) November 21, 2023

On Biden’s birthday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that “we have to judge him by what he’s done, not by his numbers.”

“I would put the president’s stamina, the president’s wisdom, ability to get this done on behalf of the American people, against anyone,” Jean-Pierre said. “Anyone, on any day of the week.”

Biden staffers can play make-believe all they want, but voters are smarter than that.

Is Biden too old? President is acting old and Americans are concerned. The good news? We’re talking about it.

The numbers don’t lie

Poll after poll has shown voters – even the majority of Democrats – are worried about Biden’s age and continued ability to carry out the country’s most important job. In September, a Wall Street Journal poll showed that 73% of voters said Biden is too old to run for reelection.

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The front-runners in the presidential race, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, would be well into their 80s before one or the other left office in January 2029.

It’s not Biden’s age alone – it’s how he acts. For example, at 77, former President Donald Trump is just a few years younger, but only 47% of voters said Trump’s age was an impediment to running again.

In general, voters aren’t happy with the quality of their lives under Biden. A new NBC News survey showed that the president’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest point – only 40% approve of his performance.

Other warning signs include a drop-off of support among Black voters, a generally loyal Democratic bloc. Several polls have shown that at least 20% of Black voters say they’d support Trump, who is the current GOP front-runner, if the election were held now. That’s a significant increase from the 12% who voted for Trump in 2020.

Similarly, young voters who overwhelmingly backed Biden in 2020 are showing less enthusiasm this time around now that they’ve seen him in action. Biden has continually tried to woo this group with taxpayer-funded “freebies” like student loan forgiveness, but even that pandering might not earn their vote.

C’mon man! SCOTUS put kibosh on Biden’s loan forgiveness. That’s not deterred him one bit.

If it’s Trump vs. Biden, odds are looking bad for Joe

Democrats started out feeling pretty smug about their odds in a Biden-Trump rematch, but that confidence is waning. Or it should be. Even with all the baggage and criminal indictments, Trump remains a force – at least when compared with Biden.

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When it comes down to it, voters will make their decisions based on what’s best for them and their families. And a growing number say they trust Trump more on the economy, foreign policy and immigration.

Out of 12 national polls in November, 10 of them have Trump leading Biden in a hypothetical matchup.

Poll after poll has shown voters – even the majority of Democrats – are worried about Biden’s age and continued ability to carry out the country’s most important job.

This is mirrored in battleground states that will be key to winning the White House in 2024.

A recent Michigan poll conducted by EPIC-MRA found that Trump leads Biden by 46% to 41% in the key Midwestern state. Biden’s support is eroding quickly. In August, the same polling firm showed Biden with a 46% to 45% lead over Trump.

America needs real leaders: Surely Republicans can do better than Trump. Right?

And a New York Times/Siena College poll released this month had Biden losing to Trump in five of six battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania) by 4 to 10 points.

So what are Democrats supposed to do? There’s no clear alternative. Biden shows no signs of bowing out voluntarily. And the other obvious choice – his Vice President Kamala Harris – is disliked even more than he is.

Other Democrats are interested, however, in leading the party and the nation. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is clearly running a shadow campaign. For instance, Newsom will debate Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis later this month.

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In the months ahead, Biden faces a grueling campaign schedule, not to mention the stresses of his day job. While he was able to do much of the 2020 campaign from his Delaware home due to COVID-19, the president won’t be able to get away with that this time.

The country doesn’t want a Biden-Trump rematch. But if it gets one, expect a very different outcome.

Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at [email protected] or on X, formerly Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Can Trump win in 2024? Biden is doing his best to make it happen

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