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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Does Biden Know He Shouldn’t Run in ’24?

Image: Wikimedia

I’m gratified that my Post Alley colleague David Brewster picked up on my Folio program, “Democracy in Peril” (recordings available at folioseattle.org). And I agree with Gen. Barry McCaffrey’s point on the program, saying that all the septuagenarians at the top of Democratic Party are too old and should make way for younger candidates. And further, that Joe Biden, especially, is too old and should not run in 2024. 

My hope is that Biden knows this and is waiting till after this year’s off-year elections to make an announcement. He does not want to let maneuvering for 2024 presidential race to dominate the political scene — with attendant media hoopla — just yet, especially while there’s still a chance he can get passed elements of his agenda, such as a trimmed-down Build Back Better bill. I further guess and hope that, with Biden turning 80 this November 20, he knows full well that he’s not up to running (and working, if elected, until he’s 84).

If I’m right in these hopes, right after the mid-terms Biden will announce he’s not running after all. The shellacking Democrats are likely to suffer, which will be blamed on him, partly fairly, mostly not, would provide the incentive to move on, rather like European leaders whose parties are voted out of power.  But Biden certainly should not resign his post as the European leaders do, elevating Kamala Harris to the presidency and giving her a leg up for 2024.

Biden’s body language suggests he doesn’t think much of Harris’s skills anyway. And he’s perfectly capable of performing as a lame duck whose major function (other than putting out an agenda DOA in a GOP-led Congress) will be to veto the horrendous legislation Republicans may pass (such as defunding most social programs). They won’t have the votes to pass a national abortion ban (not that they won’t try), which will give Dems one of the rallying cries they need to mobilize their voters.

After he announces he’s not running (and doesn’t endorse Harris in the interest of fairness to everyone else), the sweepstakes will begin. Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman may run if he gets elected Senator, but do we really need a a freshman Senator with zero national experience, learning on the job? I was for Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2020, and she remains my favorite. Klobuchar has raised her profile considerably since 2020 as chair of the Senate Rules Committee and a major player on the Judiciary Committee, and also a frequent guest on various TV shows, where she’s always clear, idea-rich, feisty and cheerful. 

The Minnesota Senator is a powerhouse vote-getter in her home state and enjoys huge approval ratings, suggesting even Republicans like her. In her three terms as Senator, she’s regularly passed more legislation than most. And she’s a moderate progressive—just what the party needs to win. I have no doubt she’ll run on a platform that attracts votes. (True, she could do with a  charisma infusion.)  Whatever happens with Biden’s timing, there’ll be a donnybrook of a fight for the ‘20 nomination, with left-Progressives battling Moderates. Wisely, Biden hasn’t opened the door to that just yet.

Mort Kondracke
Mort Kondracke
Morton Kondracke is a retired Washington, DC, journalist (Chicago Sun-Times, The New Republic, McLaughlin Group, FoxNews Special Report, Roll Call, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal) now living on Bainbridge Island. He continues to write regularly for (besides PostAlley) RealClearpolitics.com, mainly to advance the cause of political reform.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. If I had to bet, I would put my money on Biden running for a second term. More likely than a post-November announcement that he’s not running again, I would expect to see a major administration reset (bye bye, Ron Klain) and a more consistent pivot back towards the center to try to tee up a ’24 political comeback.

    Whether a run for a second terms would be wise of not is a separate question. But if Uncle Joe doesn’t run, the bench right now (I should note it’s very, very early) feels surprisingly weak. Kamala Harris is a big disappointment (and relations between Team Biden and Team Harris are indeed quite strained). She’s too weak politically to clear the field, which is good, because she’s proven repeatedly now that she’d be a crappy nominee. As for the other usual suspects, Klobuchar is too boring, Buttigieg is too much of a cherubic teacher’s pet type, and Bernie and Liz are too ideologically polarized to have broad appeal.

    I am currently intrigued by Eric Adams, the mayor of NYC. If he can show progress on crime – a big if, to be sure – he’s potentially a much stronger candidate of color than Harris. If not Adams, then one of the governors could potentially run strong as a D.C. outsider with executive experience. But as I said above, my guess is Biden is going to run again.

  2. How about Michael Bennet from Colorado as a candidate in 2024 for the Democrats? Helpful if the candidate is not “coastal” and sustains Biden’s appeal to consensus politics, and if, like Bennet, there is genuine urban experience (Bennet was supt. of Denver schools and close to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, now the other Senator from Colorado).

  3. Yes, Democrat’s bench is very thin.
    Senator Kobachar would be a strong Presidential candidate – and agree she is currently the the a favorite if President Biden does not run.
    But so much is unknown. News cycles make or break anyone.
    Speculation is rampant but better to focus on the economy, and goodbye to Ron Klain sooner rather than later.

  4. I was for Klobuchar in 2020 and remain a big fan. I think Kamala has shown that charisma is an unnecessary quality in a candidate. I’ll take smart, articulate, feisty and electable any day.

  5. Joe’s got to run again or it’s Trump in a landslide (that might happen anyway).

    I believe Amy Klobuchar or Bennet would be fine candidates. But if Biden steps down, the Left wingers will see this as their opportunity and destroy what little is left of the Democratic Party by pushing though a candidate who middle America won’t ever support. Easy win for Team Trump.

  6. NEW BLOOD please…………

    Jon Ossoff would be my candidate, especially if the Senate loses Democratic control this year. We need new young faces, eloquent and smart. He reminds me of Obama in that regard.

  7. It’s got to be Klobuchar. No one else has ever exhibited such skill at eating salad with a comb.

    Hands down, she is the winner.

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