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Opinion | Reader Advice for Biden’s Re-election Campaign


The results of the latest New York Times/Siena College polls showing Donald Trump leading President Biden in five crucial battleground states were bad news to many Democrats. There’s still time for Mr. Biden to win back some swing voters, but a lot of his supporters are wondering the same thing: How?

“People wanted things to get back to normal after the pandemic, and now they want perhaps a different kind of change,” writes Katherine Miller, a politics writer and editor in Opinion. “The ‘more’ people seem to want can sometimes be articulated clearly in economic or foreign policy decisions, and at other times it sounds more like a vibe that would be hard to measure.”

We asked readers what that vibe might sound like: Is it a slogan, a speech, a push for new legislation? Or something more personal that only the president (and not his campaign or aides) can deliver? Not all readers support Mr. Biden, of course, but the polling prompted our curiosity about strategies to run for re-election.

A selection of their responses, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.


His public relations problem is that his plan is “eat better and exercise” — there’s no fast solution pill. He should focus on ways to create generations of success in the United States: long-term investments and improvements that fix past mistakes. — Anne van Leynseele, Seattle

He has to lay out his economic agenda for the next four years. What are his solutions for housing and child care? Women don’t only care about abortion. We want to know how you’re going to help us choose to have a child. — Hannah Weinstock, Queens, N.Y.

When people are adequately fed, clothed and housed, with meaningful, fairly compensated work, supported by a fair tax code that doesn’t let the super wealthy off the hook, it gives individuals, especially women, free and compassionate agency. Then we will have a more prosperous, peaceful and powerful nation. — Cali Letts, Salt Lake City

He needs to draw a clearer line between what he will do about Gaza and what Trump will do. He cannot win on immigration at this point, but he might be able to show that he is not in favor of genocide and that the cost of losing big donors is worth it. — Alison Doucette, Stow, Mass.

Biden needs to take decisive action on immigration and food prices. These are major concerns and people need to feel that he has the power to impact their lives. People think Trump can do this because inflation was lower during his term. — Eve Brady, Denver

This election should be no contest against the dumpster fire Trump, yet here we are! Biden needs to immediately fix the corrosion and weak spots in our entire electoral system so that we are not continually in this same scenario. This should have been a task force on day one of his presidency, yet we are still plodding along with his opponent loose and threatening future havoc. And it has nothing to do with his age. — Susan Ross, Bellingham, Wash.

He needs to paint Trump as the destroyer that he is. It’s easy and quick to tear things down. Building takes longer. He is a smart man and approaches complicated situations with the nuance necessary to actually get things done. But strong campaigns are built on short, declarative sentences. Say it briefly and boldly. — Steve Kantor, Maplewood, N.J.

Slogans are irrelevant. He needs to be bold about progress on renewables and the dangers of climate change. Young voters need to hear that message. But don’t muzzle the news that the U.S. is now leading the world in oil production. In the medium term the two aren’t incompatible. And stop laying on the tariffs! They project weakness, not strength. — Larry Geri, Olympia, Wash.

Hands-on visits with normal people, Jimmy Carter-style, are needed. Realness in front of real people. And he needs the look of a leader in front of our military. — Sterling Scroggins, Washington, D.C.

Biden should go with this: “Yes, I’m old. Like Mick Jagger is old. As president, I lead a band of rock-star cabinet members, some of whom are among the youngest and most talented in history.” — Jonathan Fink, Lake Oswego, Ore.

It’s all about the delivery. The president needs to be “Joe” again. Get on the road and start talking to the people. It’s a gift he has — connecting. Do that for a few months and don’t listen to handlers. A gaffe now and then is actually good; it reminds us of who he really is. — William Travers, Atlanta

Support women. Ensure everyone knows that Trump and Republicans were responsible for appointing the Supreme Court judges who overturned Roe. And bring Kamala Harris’s achievements and wisdom to the forefront so everyone knows she would be a great president! It’s time for a competent woman to take over the White House. — Alice M. Hoffman, Chicago

Mental health awareness, with a subtle focus on suicide prevention and grief-driven depression and anxiety, crosses party and regional lines in every community. It is an issue Mr. Biden himself faced following the deaths of his wife and daughter. If characterized well, it will specifically resonate with the massive 50-plus voting bloc, many of whom have recent experience with losing a parent. We need more shots of Mr. Biden speaking with people close to his age. — Ned Dagenhard, Atlanta

Show us that you care about the women of this country: as workers, mothers, caregivers, partners and individuals. And show that your administration’s policies (on reproductive and economic justice, family leave, child care, safe schools and high-quality affordable heath care) prove it. — Paige Hall Smith, Chapel Hill, N.C.

He needs to emphasize that freedom and democracy are the cornerstones of the U.S. government. Empathy is the soul of democracy. We are one nation that is committed to helping all, not just a few. — Ray Lee, Manhattan, N.Y.

Unless the Biden team understands and finds a way to counter the forces behind the rise of Trump and authoritarianism all over the world, he will not win. He must also show that he is strong, competent and has an empathic connection to the American people, that he can bring them new life. — Wright Williams, Houston

Rachel L. Harris and Lisa Tarchak are staff editors in Times Opinion.

Source photograph by Yuri Gripas for The New York Times

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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