President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are each offering a clear perspective on the political obligations that many Americans who wish they had other options in the 2024 election have.
Biden, 81, is angrily dismissing questions about his age and memory, struggling to assuage anxiety among voters that he would not be able to serve a full second term.
Trump, on the other hand, offered a display of extremism over the weekend, raising fresh questions about his ability to run the Oval Office.
Biden would be the most conventional choice because Trump is promising one of the most tumultuous second terms in U.S. history, according to CNN, but as the president's campaign ramps up, his problems are complicating his efforts to convince Americans that Trump will it would destroy American democracy and destroy the country's reputation.
Trump is giving every impression that his second term would be even more flawed than his first, as he vows to use presidential power to punish his enemies. However, he ranks close to Biden in the polls and has a real chance to win.
How Biden and Trump are showing their political weaknesses?
In Trump, voters can find a former president facing 91 criminal charges, who has been found liable for fraud, sexual assault and defamation in court. Trump, 77, has struggled to hang on to power after losing re-election in 2020. This weekend, Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over NATO allies and mocked the military service of Republican rival Nikki Haley's husband.
This week, the former president faces a series of deadlines and court hearings that will renew the focus on his seemingly endless threats to the rule of law.
In Biden, voters must decide whether to re-elect the oldest president ever, at 81, who is angrily rejecting claims of a declining memory after a dismal assessment by a special counsel.
The president, who warns that Trump is a danger to democracy, is visibly aging as he mumbles the names of foreign leaders and polls show overwhelming public skepticism about his re-election.
The main question voters will face is not whether Biden is fit to serve as leader now, but rather: Will he still be around by the end of a second term, when he would be 86?
Trump's "wild" weekend
Over the weekend, Trump showed how his unchecked flow of rhetoric and insults can often be politically counterproductive and play into core narratives of the Biden campaign.
In a statement at a rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump said he would encourage Russia to do "whatever it wants" to any NATO member country that fails to meet the alliance's defense spending guidelines.
Trump's comments reveal his view of NATO not as the main driver of peace in Europe for half a century, but as a defensive missile. His comments are also dangerous, since the alliance's credibility rests on Russia's belief that members would defend an ally that was attacked, in line with Article 5 commitments.
Biden struggles to cope with growing concerns about his age
The White House and Biden allies spent the weekend battling criticism after the incumbent confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico, following similar instances last week when he referred to long-dead European leaders he interacted with in the 1980s. and not to their most recent descendants.
The acute political problem facing Biden was underscored by a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday in which 86% of Americans said Biden was too old to serve another term. The figure includes 59% of Americans who think he and Trump are too old and 27% who think only Biden is too old.