Why Joe Biden might decide not to run: Midterm season is officially underway – and the political world is focused on congressional races. But in the back of everyone’s mind is the 2024 presidential election. With prominent economic and social issues at play, with everyone talking about the very nature of American democracy, the 2024 race is beginning to feel more and more significant.
Currently, the 2024 race is clouded with uncertainty. Typically, an incumbent president with a term of eligibility remaining is guaranteed to run for reelection; Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1968, was the last president to forego a run at reelection. But President Joe Biden has not declared his candidacy for 2024 yet; he may well bow out of the 2024 campaign.
Here are three reasons why Biden should not run for president again.
Right now, today, Joe Biden is the oldest person ever to serve as President of the United States. He turns 80 this fall. Were Biden to win a second term, that term would span between his 82nd and 86th birthdays. That’s right. A second-term-Biden would be in office until he was 86 years old. The problems with having such an old president are obvious. One, the likelihood that Biden dies in office is significant. The American life expectancy is about 76 years old. Biden would need to tack ten years onto the U.S. life expectancy just to live through his second term.
Two, people tend to lose cognitive function in their eighties. Shouldn’t the U.S. president be sharp-minded? And frankly, Biden already appears to be in decline. If you cross-reference examples of a younger Senator or Vice President Biden speaking against examples of an older President Biden speaking, the contrast is distinct: the older version of Biden is a step behind – a little foggier in the eyes, a little bit less articulate. Realistically, Biden will never be sharper than he is today; six years from now – all due respect – he may well be too frail – mentally and physically – to handle the rigors of office.
Biden is not an especially popular president. Last summer, Joe Biden’s popularity sank to historic lows – lower even than Jimmy Carter or Donald Trump, each of whom were one-term presidents. Biden’s popularity has rebounded – to its highest level in nearly a year – but he’s still not a candidate that constituents are enthusiastic about, he doesn’t inspire the masses like Barack Obama circa 2008, nor does Biden have a cult-like core of fervent followers like Donald Trump circa 2016. Biden was seen as a safe, practical choice in 2020.
Having had a pretty bland two years in office, Biden would likely seek to portray himself similarly – as safe and practical – in 2024. But electoral trends may not favor a bland, safe incumbent after a bland, safe tenure. Biden held an appeal in 2020 – as Americans were looking for balance and calm after the tumult of Trump’s presidency. Now, after a few years of Joe Biden, Americans may be looking for some sparkle; Biden may have a tough time getting reelected.
Biden has been in public office for fifty years – as a senator, vice president, and now president. During Joe Biden’s five-decade tenure, the United States has changed markedly. Most notably, the middle class has essentially dissolved. Income inequality is rampant; forgiving corporate tax rates and toothless antitrust laws have allowed a small plutocrat-class to become dominant over American society – as an ever-increasing bulk of Americans sink further into economic despair; more and more Americans are living under debt, without healthcare or homes or education, in fear of gun violence, incarceration, eviction. The average American is worse off than when Biden entered politics five decades ago.
Obviously, Biden isn’t the lone culprit here. One person couldn’t orchestrate the structural changes that have degraded the quality of life in the U.S. But Biden was a complicit cog in the technocratic wheel that spewed out bad policy after bad policy. Biden himself was the architect of the 1994 Crime Bill that can be credited with America’s mass incarceration problem – and the heinous economic and familial corollaries that come from over-incarceration. Biden also helped mold his home state, Delaware, into a corporate haven – a process that was somewhat mirrored in the United States at large.
In sum, Biden – and his entire generation of politicians – have not had a positive effect. It’s time to switch it up, to get some young blood into the office.
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.