With public approval mired in the low 40% range, with two thirds of Americans believing the nation is headed in the wrong direction and a majority of Democrats expressing a preference for a different candidate, President Biden’s intention to seek reelection has frozen the field of possible competitors and created a long term political headache for his party.

Even as some polls show him losing to former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup, the party has rallied behind Biden, pledging support and loyalty despite private concerns about his age and the stamina needed to endure the exhausting pace of a national campaign.

While Biden benefited from the national lockdown wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 that allowed him the freedom to campaign from the basement of his home, a full bore campaign against a younger Republican opponent — potentially as much as 30 years his junior — would subject him to at least six months of mental and physical strain that would test the endurance limits of the fittest of people.