Metro Weekly

Joe Biden Announces Re-Election Bid, With Nod to LGBTQ Rights

The President's new ad seeks to cast Republican lawmakers and the far right as infringing on Americans' individual freedoms.

Biden re-election video – Photo: Joe Biden for President.

President Joe Biden announced his 2024 re-election campaign on Tuesday, releasing a three-minute video entitled “Let’s Finish the Job.”

The video shows images of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent the results of the 2020 election from being certified.

The ad flashes through images of several Republican politicians associated with the far right, including U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

One of those images links a possible general election opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, to another potential opponent, former President Donald Trump, showing the latter patting the other on the shoulder. 

“Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans,” Biden says in a voiceover, before an archived video clip rolls of him talking about personal freedoms. “There’s nothing more important, nothing more sacred. That’s been the work of my first term. To fight for our democracy. To protect our rights, to make sure everybody in this country is treated equally, and that everyone is given a fair shot at making it.”

Biden continues with a litany of issues on which he disagrees with the Republican Party — at least under this new Trump-influenced iteration — in an effort to rally parts of the Democratic base behind his re-election campaign.

“But you know around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms. Cutting Social Security that you’ve paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy. Dictating what healthcare decisions women can make. Banning books and telling people who they can love,” he says, making a veiled reference to recent fights over library content, anti-LGBTQ legislation being passed in various states, and the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its own 2015 decision legalizing marriage equality nationwide.

“All while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote,” adds Biden, referencing another cause on which LGBTQ organizations have partnered with civil rights organizations and advocacy groups for Black people and other communities of color.

“When I ran for president four years ago, I said we were in a battle for the soul of America,” Biden continues. “And we still are. The question we’re facing is whether, in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer. I know what I want the answer to be, and I think you do, too. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for re-election.”

According to The Associated Press, Biden’s re-election announcement comes at a time when many in his party have expressed reservations about his age, despite his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, declaring the president to be “healthy, vigorous” and “fit” enough to handle his duties as president.

A recent poll by the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows fewer than half of all Democrats want Biden to seek a second term. However, that percentage has increased by 10 points since February, when only 37% backed a Biden re-election bid. 

To prove the naysayers wrong, Biden has jumped completely into the political fray, embracing the messaging that propelled him to victory three years ago and helped Democrats stave off what would have been a devastating “red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections — namely, opposition to extremism, election deniers, and conspiracy theories, which led many voters to second-guess backing Republican candidates.

Biden is expected to embrace the issue of preserving access to abortion — which has much more salience following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — as well as seeking credit for his efforts to help the economy rebound following the COVID-19 pandemic, including the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure package, and legislation to promote high-tech manufacturing.

The president, while not directly stating so, is also implicitly asking Democrats — particularly those on the Left angered at the failure to pass more progressive measures, in part due to obstruction from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — to back him for a second term in order to achieve the rest of the promises he made when he first ran.

He is expected to use the Republican-led Congress — led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who owes his political standing to the most conservative members of the GOP caucus — as a foil, painting them as obstructionists more interested in scoring political points or “trolling” the Left than governing the country in a serious manner.

“Let’s finish this job. I know we can,” he implores in the video.

Unsurprisingly, some of the Republicans featured in the video did not enjoy being used as bogeymen.

Greene, the Georgia congresswoman, accused the president of lying in the ad, retorting on Twitter that “Republicans have ZERO plans to cut Social Security,” even though former president George W. Bush and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, both Republicans, embraced cuts to entitlement programs, including Social Security, as far back as 19 years ago.

More recently, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, proposed sunsetting programs like Social Security and Medicare every five years in order to be renegotiated — which, given Congress’s dysfunction over the past few decades, would effectively ensure the end of the program when a compromise between the parties inevitably cannot be reached.

“Abortion is not women’s healthcare, it kills a baby no matter how Democrats wordsmith it,” Greene continued.

“We aren’t telling people who to love, we want to protect kids from the Democrat-approved child genital mutilation medical industry,” Greene continued, despite having been recorded excitedly bragged to conservative audiences about the possibility of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court overturning its ruling on same-sex marriage.

Additionally, the GOP’s official national platform, and a number of state party platforms, refuse to recognize same-sex marriages — or in some cases, LGBTQ identity — as valid, further undermining Greene’s assertions.

“Shame on Joe Biden for lying and selfishly deciding to run for re-election just as we are exposing how the Biden’s have gotten rich by influence peddling,” Greene tweeted. “Joe himself has already proven he’s the worst president in history, now we have to prove how corrupt Joe Biden really is.”

The LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD warned that the 2024 election will feature several candidates for various offices seeking to attack the LGBTQ community and roll back existing rights.

“LGBTQ Americans’ safety is under attack in statehouses across the country, as extremists on the U.S. Supreme Court, federal judiciary and gerrymandered states continue to strip human rights vital to everyone’s future,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the organization’s CEO and president, said in a statement.

“Essential health care, book bans, and access to society as our authentic selves should never be up for debate but they are once again on the ballot in 2024,” Ellis added. “GLAAD will once again be tracking the records and rhetoric of candidates in order to educate LGBTQ people and our allies as they head to the polls.”

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!