Will Joe Biden run for reelection in 2024? For several reasons, I believe the answer is no. First and foremost, Biden is simply too old. “Let me put it bluntly,” Mark Leibovich wrote in The Atlantic, “Joe Biden should not run for reelection in 2024. He’s too old.”
Biden is Already the Oldest Person to Serve as President
Biden is 79 years old now. Right now, today, Biden is the oldest person ever to serve as president. Previously, Ronald Reagan was the oldest person to serve as president. But Reagan took office in his late sixties and left at age 77. If Biden were reelected, he would enter his second term at age 82. By the end of Biden’s hypothetical second term, in 2028, he would be 86 years old. That’s irresponsible. At the risk of sounding crude and insensitive, it bears mentioning that for Biden to simply live through a second term, he would need to exceed the American male life expectancy by eight years. But simply living through a second term isn’t quite sufficient is it; America deserves a president with a full complement of mental faculties – and octogenarians commonly suffer from cognitive decline.
Biden is already in cognitive decline. I say that confidently, despite having never personally examined the president, on account of having cross-referenced footage of Biden now, versus footage of Biden throughout his previous five decades of public service. Check out the 2012 Vice Presidential debates between Biden and Paul Ryan. Biden is engaged, articulate, and coherent. Then, consult Biden’s more recent footage. He’s softer, a little murkier in the eyes, less sure of his words. He’s old. Imagine what another six years of comparable decline will look like. That’s not a responsible choice for the President of the United States.
Biden’s Approval Ratings Are Tanking
Second, as if Biden’s upcoming eightieth birthday was not dissuading enough, there’s the question of his electability. Biden’s approval ratings are uniquely atrocious. “Joe Biden approval ratings have sunk to an all-time low in the most recent Gallup Poll,” Ewan Palmer reported for Newsweek, “with just 38 percent of people happy with the job the president is doing.” The Gallup Poll also found that “45 percent of Americans “strongly” disapprove of Biden’s performance” whereas just 13 percent strongly approve. Biden’s approval rating is “the lowest of any president in modern history dating back to Dwight Eisenhower.” The previous record holders, for the lowest approval ratings, were Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter, each tied at 42 percent. Biden’s popularity plummet is especially noteworthy in that he began his presidency with a 57 percent approval rating, suggesting that one-fifth of the country is inclined to like Biden – but still cannot approve of his performance.
Biden’s low approval numbers are inspiring Democrats to look beyond their incumbent for the 2024 election. “A new poll has revealed that a whopping 64 percent of Democratic voters don’t want Joe Biden to run again in 2024,” Greg Norman reported for Fox News. “Just 26 percent of Democrat voters said in the poll that the party should renominate Biden in 2024.” For voters under the age of 30, “an overwhelming 94 percent” polled said, “they want someone else to be the nominee in the 2024 presidential election.”
Can Biden’s Popularity Rebound?
Still, Biden could rebound. Much of Biden’s unpopularity is owed to inflation – especially with respect to gas prices – and the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision on abortion. If the economy were able to avoid a recession in wake of the Fed’s interest level hikes, Biden could see his approval numbers improve. Gas prices are already trending downwards – slowly, but in the right direction – which bodes well for Biden, too. And this week, Biden got a boost on the abortion front; Kansas voted to protect abortion rights in the state constitution. “Kansas was viewed as a bellwether of how Americans feel in the aftermath of the high court’s decision,” Shirin Ali reported in The Hill, “and despite being a historical conservative stronghold, Kansas voters rejected eliminating abortion access.” Now, four other states – California, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont – will hold similar referendums on abortion. The Kansas vote to preserve abortion rights gives Democrats hope that state-to-state voters will salvage abortion access, hence allowing national politicians to sidestep any blame for failing to codify – or in Biden’s case, issue executive actions – that protect abortion.
In the event that Biden stays in the race, his unpopularity amongst his own constituents could inspire a primary challenge. An incumbent president hasn’t faced a primary challenge since Senator Ted Kennedy vyed to replace President Jimmy Carter on the 1980 ticket. Carter outlasted Kennedy’s challenge but limped into the general election wounded. In the general election, Ronald Reagan defeated Carter handily. The Kennedy-Carter example may inspire pause amongst potential DNC challengers – but that 94 percent of Democrats under 30 who want an alternative to Biden may just inspire a challenger. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, however. Hopefully, Biden just steps aside.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.