Given Democrats’ over-achieving performance in the midterms, many pundits are asking whether Biden can pull off a win in 2024. We’re two years out, but let’s consider Biden’s chances for reelection.
2024: What Joe Biden Needs to Do
The first thing Biden will need to do, to win reelection, is run for president.
Biden still hasn’t clarified his intentions for 2024. Will he run? Or will he not run?
The simple fact is that Biden is too old to be president.
If he seeks reelection and he wins, he’ll serve from the ages of 82 until 86, making him by far the oldest sitting president ever (he’s the oldest right now, actually).
Biden also has another hurdle to clear if he is going to run again: his lack of popularity.
Biden has been historically unpopular throughout his first term. At one point over the summer, Biden’s popularity was the lowest for any president in modern history; lower than Trump or Carter’s, who were both one-term presidents.
Then again, the idea that Biden, who has spent his professional life pursuing the presidency (five decades in Washington serving as a Senator and Vice President) would walk away now that he’s earned the top job, feels unlikely.
Biden’s prime is behind him, but not many careerists, with Biden’s level of ambition, are going to be content walking away and coasting into obscurity.
So, if Biden does choose to run again, which I expect he will, the question becomes: can he win?
Well, if Democrats were able to buck historical trends and contemporary polls and maintain their majority in the Senate during this year’s midterms, Democrats have a shot at maintaining the White House with their incumbent.
Biden won the popular vote (and the Electoral College, obviously) in 2020. He certainly has the capacity to do so again in 2024.
A large factor in the viability of Biden’s 2024 campaign will be the economy.
Will inflation ease?
Will gas prices ease?
Will interest rates lower?
Will we stave off another recession?
Obviously, the better the economy, the stronger Biden’s case for reelection. If the economy does not improve, however, Biden will have presided over a lousy economy for four-straight years, likely inspiring voters to consider other options.
Still, the economy wasn’t great for 2022, either. The midterms are generally regarded as a referendum against the party in power. And this year, with the Democrats in power, and the economy lagging, Democrats still posted a favorable showing. Abortion became a prominent issue, and for many voters, Democrats held a favorable abortion platform. Democracy itself became a prominent issue, and for many voters, Democrats held the favorable democracy/election platform.
The point being: who knows what will be super relevant or trending in 2024. The economy is always relevant. But other issues will pop up and help to frame the fight for the White House.
Biden vs. Trump or DeSantis?
Another factor, of course, in Biden’s reelection bid, will be his opponent.
DeSantis is the lesser known, but fresher, entity. And DeSantis is unlikely to taint his campaign with the MAGA-rhetoric that Trump has employed for six years. Although Democrats have been rooting against Trump, regardless of the collateral outcomes, DeSantis may be a more significant threat to Democrats’ hopes of maintaining the White House than Trump.
Either way, Biden will have a difficult campaign. Hopefully he’s physically up for it.
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.