Youth activist groups jointly endorse Biden. They say his achievements matter more than his age

President Joe Biden, left, departs St. Joesph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, March 10, 2024, after attending Mass. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

President Joe Biden, left, departs St. Joesph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, March 10, 2024, after attending Mass. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jack Lobel is a college sophomore who will be voting in his first presidential election this fall, casting a ballot for Joe Biden.

At 19, he’s six-plus decades Biden’s junior, which isn’t lost on him. But Lobel is spokesperson for Voters of Tomorrow, one of 15 youth organizations that announced Monday that they are jointly endorsing the reelection of the oldest president in U.S. history — defying polls consistently showing voter concerns about the 81-year-old Biden’s age.

“If age were really a concern we would not see this much energy around these groups,” said Lobel, an urban studies major in New York. As he worked on hammering out the joint endorsement this week he was also writing a paper for his American urban politics class and taking a midterm in his voting and political behavior class.

“President Biden comes before midterms and exams and papers,” Lobel said, only half-joking.

The joint endorsement is meant as a show of political strength for Biden, who would be 86 by the end of the second term he’s seeking — after Super Tuesday all but cemented a November rematch of the 2020 election between him and former President Donald Trump.

The groups’ affinity for the president is little surprise given that young people tend to be more left-leaning than many other voting blocs. Still, it may soften the blow of many voters’ concerns about Biden’s age. A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey found that 63% of Americans believe Biden lacks mental capability to serve effectively as president, though 57% felt similar about Trump, who is 77.

In the first ad of a $30-million, post-Super-Tuesday, swing-state advertising blitz, Biden makes no excuses for his age, but says he’s been more effective as president than Trump was.

“Young voters are critical to President Biden’s winning coalition and together, we will defeat Donald Trump and continue to build a future that works for every single American,” said Biden’s reelection campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, in a statement first shared with The Associated Press.

Joining Voters of Tomorrow formally supporting Biden is NextGen PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Blue Future, Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, Path to Progress, Students Demand Action, Team ENOUGH, Voices of Gen-Z and Dream for America. They are doing so with more traditional, party-aligned youth organizations, the Young Democrats of America, College Democrats of America, Democratic Youth Coalition, Grassroots Dems HQ and High School Democrats of America.

Monday’s announcement follows similar joint endorsements the Biden campaign received last year from labor unions, environmental activists, abortion rights advocates and gun safety proponents — and some of the endorsing youth organizations are affiliated with groups that already backed the president in previously.

The president’s campaign said that the earlier endorsements were the first of their kind to be made jointly and so early in the cycle. Monday’s announcement is coming later, but still gives young supporters eight months to mobilize behind Biden now that it’s clear he’ll face Trump in November.

Trump and top Republicans have blasted Biden as being too old to handle a second term. A Super PAC backing the former president released an ad bluntly declaring, “If Biden wins, can he even survive till 2029?” That’s despite Trump making gaffes himself lately, including suggesting he’s running against Barack Obama.

But Aalayah Eastmond, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida and co-founder of Team ENOUGH, said Biden’s age wasn’t a consideration in the endorsement given that “our only concern is whether we go forward or backward on one of the most pressing issues of our time.”

“What’s most important to America’s youth is having a president who listens to our concerns and knows how to deliver on solutions that improve our lives,” Eastmound said.

The activist groups plan to pool resources to hire hundreds of young organizers, mobilize affiliates and chapters on 1,000-plus campuses and at state and local levels, and make more than 155 million direct voter contacts via phone calls, texts or in person, Lobel said.

He said that job creation and the economy were top concerns, noting that “young voters are still voters.” Still, Lobel also said that especially important to his age group are Biden administration efforts to cancel student debt for millions of Americans, protect abortion rights and promote green energy and public works projects around the country.

“As GenZers, these are the numbers we care about,” Lobel said. “We’re voting based on what he’s delivering for us.”

AP Politics

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