Watch Nidhi Razdan: All eyes on US elections Video Credit: Gulf News

Its been a terrible week for US President Joe Biden. A new poll by ABC News/Ipsos shows that a huge majority of Americans, 86% of them, think Mr. Biden is too old at the age of 81 to serve another term in office. The same poll has found that 59% of Americans think both Biden and Donald Trump are too old for office. Trump is 77 but the issue of age and mental fitness has been dogging only Biden for time now.

What is telling is that concerns about Biden and Trump’s age has only increased in the last 4 months when an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 74% of Americans though Biden was too old for office and 49% said the same about Trump. Trump has had several public slip ups over the last few months, including mixing up Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi, but it is Biden’s gaffes which make headlines.

One reason is simply the physical difference between the two. Mr. Biden has appeared more frail off late, even stumbling and falling. These were the pictures that made front page headlines the next day. The latest poll showing concerns about his health and age comes days after Biden held a press conference which was hurriedly called over a Special Counsel’s report over his handling of classified documents.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

A worried Democratic party 

The report did not find the US President guilty of any criminal wrongdoing but it actually delivered a bigger blow — it questioned the fitness of his memory especially with regard to important events, including when his son died and when he was Vice President. Mr. Biden has been described in the report as “a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

It did not help that while facing the media on this controversial report, the US President confused the President of Egypt and the President of Mexico, only reinforcing the conclusions of the report. Days before that, he mixed up the current President of France with a former French President who died decades ago.

At another event, he appeared to have forgotten the name of Hamas. It is no secret that many in the Democratic party are worried.

The bigger worry is that Trump and his supporters are going to town with this, painting the President as senile. Key polls have shown Trump edging past Biden if the elections were held today. Some senior Democrats have made their concerns public.

Read more by Nidhi Razdan

A battle that Biden is not winning

Like Dean Philips who has tried to challenge Biden for the nomination. He had shared pictures and videos of Biden’s gaffes on social media and faced a backlash. But he says while he admires Biden, “shame of all of you for pretending everything is OK. You are leading us — and him — into a disaster, and you damn well know it.”

Reports in the US media suggest that Biden’s campaign managers are also divided on how to deal with this. Some believe he should do fewer public engagements, but others say that only feeds into the narrative that everything is not OK with him.

The issue of Biden’s age may seem to be a superficial one but it matters especially when it comes to a high office like that of the President of the United States. Personally, I think it pales in comparison to the very serious criminal charges that Donald Trump is facing.

But politics has a lot to do with perception and even if it is superficial, this is a battle that Biden is not winning. Ultimately American voters have to decide what issues matter most. Will Biden be judged on his handling of the economy, his foreign policy and the crucial issue of abortion or will he be judged for getting older.

America has to decide.