Will Joe Biden Run in 2024? The ramifications of today’s midterm election will be far-reaching.
The direct effects are obvious: the composition of congress will be adjusted; governorships will change hands; the composition of local governments will be adjusted. And with the two parties trending further and further away from each other, any sort of vote between the two takes on added significance. Beyond hyper-partisanship, the circumstances of the moment also lend to the significance of today’s election: inflation is at a 40-year high; rising interest rates have inspired fears of a pending recession; Russia wages war in Europe, making the likelihood of a nuclear weapon deployment higher than it has ever been since the Cold War ended.
The less direct effects of today’s midterm may be less obvious but may be equally significant. Perhaps the most significant of the midterm’s less direct ramifications will be the impact on the 2024 presidential election – especially what it means for incumbent President Joe Biden.
For two years – the first two years of Biden’s presidency – Biden has worked through a split Senate, with the benefit of a Democrat majority in the House. The 50-50 split in the Senate has, at times, presented a challenging environment for the Biden agenda, in which every vote counts.
Regardless, Biden has been able to post a series of legislative wins. The American Rescue Plan Act. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Inflation Reduction Act. The CHIPS and Science Act. The PACT Act. While the legislative pathway has not always been friction-free, Biden has operated under circumstances that allow for optimism and productivity. That could end today.
If Republicans win the House – which is the expected outcome – the newly appointed Republican majority would likely issue a slew of subpoenas upon the Biden administration. The subpoenas would mostly be petulant, partisan, and resource-sucking – but the actions would be reciprocal to the Democratic treatment of the last Republican president. Another consequence of a GOP controlled-House would be that “routine spending bills” would turn into “high-stakes standoffs.”
If Republicans win the Senate – which remains a possibility – Biden will be in a position where simply appointing judges, ambassadors and Cabinet officials could become a miserable process.
So, under worst-case circumstances for Biden and the democrats, if the Republicans win either the House or the Senate (or both), the question becomes: will Biden run for reelection?
Joe Biden remains – at least publicly – undecided concerning a 2024 bid. I’ve written previously about why he may not run for reelection.
In short, he’s really old and he’s really unpopular.
So, whereas most incumbent presidents with a term of eligibility remaining are without question, nearly without variation, running for reelection, Biden may opt-out. And that’s regardless of who controls the Senate. If Biden has the rug pulled from under him today, and he’s faced with two solid years of knife-fighting with a Republican-controlled Senate, it will make him less likely to seek reelection.
Of course, Democrats losing majority in the House does not preclude Biden from running again (he indeed hasn’t indicated a correlation between the midterm results and his decision to run), but it does make a reelection campaign less likely.
Joe Biden is an octogenarian. He has already exceeded the life expectancy for a U.S. male. He is at the twilight of his career and his life. Operating in a high-friction environment, in which Biden’s agenda is mostly stalled, may not be how he wants to spend his time. Then again, Biden has been mucking through Washington politics for fifty years. He may not know anything else.
Regardless, the results of today’s election will have direct and indirect effects – all of which will be significant.
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.
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