Some pundits think so – and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Biden is the sitting president, and Democrats have a weak bench at the moment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Biden is a great option, or even a favorite to win the 2024 election.
Will Joe Biden Run?
Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain gave a tearful farewell speech from the White House earlier last week. In the speech, Klain indicated that Biden will in fact run for reelection; that Biden will run now appears certain. An announcement is expected imminently.
But whether Biden would run for reelection was not always certain. Biden’s poll numbers dipped into the low thirties last summer – the lowest ever for a sitting president, lower than either Trump or Carter (both of whom were ousted after one term). And of course, Biden is already the oldest president to ever serve. If Biden won reelection, his second term would take him past his 86th birthday. So, there were legitimate reasons to doubt whether Biden would run again. Well, he’s running again.
Were There Better Options?
Biden is not a perfect candidate – far from it. But who would have a better shot at defeating whoever the GOP puts forward as their champion?
The Democrats suffer from an unfortunately weak bench at the moment. Vice President Kamala Harris is deeply unpopular, allegedly treats her staff like garbage, and has already run one disastrous presidential campaign into the ground. Harris’s name is not discussed as a presidential option in the way vice presidents typically are.
Who else is there?
Pete Buttigieg wants to be president, and he will run again, but he’s the Transportation Secretary. Before running the DOT, Buttigieg was the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a small city with about 100,000 residents. Buttigieg doesn’t exactly have the experience to be president.
Then again, Buttigieg is a talented political operative who won the Iowa caucuses as the Mayor of South Bend. Not bad. Buttigieg also has powerful, establishment friends – including Joe Biden – so, we probably shouldn’t count Buttigieg out entirely. But he is probably not a better option than an incumbent president with fifty years of Washington experience, right?
Hillary Clinton is a non-starter.
Michelle Obama is supremely popular and could definitely inject herself into the top-tier of Democratic politics the very moment she chose to do so. But Obama has been emphatic that she has no interest in serving as an elected official.
Granted, people with burning ambitions to serve in public office often say that they have no desire to do so. But Obama seems authentic and hasn’t done much to suggest she feels otherwise. Michelle’s husband Barack has backed the story up, saying Michelle isn’t interested in public office. So, don’t count on Michelle stepping forward any time soon.
Bernie Sanders is pushing 80, unfortunately. Sanders would have certainly been a better populist option that Trump was in 2016; and Sanders was far more electable than the DNC gave him credit for, but the cantankerous and divisive Sanders hasn’t declared his intentions to run for a third straight time – and at this point, his age is a significant factor.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison 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. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.