No, Barack Obama is not going to be vice president: Despite several rumors floating the idea that President Biden could put Barack Obama on the ticket in 2024, there’s absolutely no reason to think that would ever happen.
Barack Obama Is Back?
President Biden is running for re-election, and Kamala Harris is not going to be dropped from the ticket.
The Biden announcement in April had Harris’ name all over it, and the possibilities of anyone other than the current vice president running with Biden in 2014 are extremely remote.
Yet for some reason, the notion is occasionally floated in the media that Biden could drop Harris and name a different running mate. And this week, the name that’s been floated repeatedly is… former President Barack Obama.
An op-ed in The Messenger this week, by Philip Allen Lacovara, a Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, suggested that Biden “needs to engage in some out-of-the-box creativity” to save his re-election bid: By ditching Harris and putting Obama on the ticket. It would be a reversal of the ticket that won big victories in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. He also cited “talk” – in the form of a 2015 Washington Post piece — of Biden running for president in 2016 with Obama as his running mate.
“Obama is the only person who could practically guarantee Biden’s reelection, whose qualifications cannot be disputed, and who could replace Harris without alienating a major constituency,” the op-ed said.
Leave aside that Obama is constitutionally prohibited from serving as president again, or that Obama seems happily retired from politics while enjoying a life of speeches and Netflix shows.
Someone who has been president before is not going to agree to serve as vice president. Plus,
the 80-year-old president is not going to put someone on the ticket who is not allowed to be president, which is the sort of thing that could risk a constitutional crisis.
It’s just not going to happen.
This also came up, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton joked about Bill Clinton serving as her vice president. But the idea was a nonstarter then, too.
Also this week, The Palm Beach Post’s Civics Project asked about whether Obama could go on the Biden ticket as vice president. A letter writer asked whether Biden could select Obama as vice president. The answer? No.
“The idea that Barack Obama could return to the presidency is a fantasy. Barack Obama has served two terms as president,” Kevin Wagner wrote. “Under the U.S. Constitution, he is ineligible to run for that office again. The 22nd Amendment reads in part, ‘No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice.’ The theory being passed around is that by replacing Harris with Obama, Biden could circumvent this restriction and allow Obama to run for vice president and then assume the presidency again by Biden resigning during his second term.”
The Messenger op-ed tries to parse the language of the 12th and 22nd Amendments, stating that it doesn’t prevent Obama from running for vice president. But that’s very questionable reasoning. And in the unlikely event that Biden and Obama tried such a thing, it would likely be challenged in the courts by Republicans. Plus, it would appear to validate conspiracy theories in some corners that the Biden presidency is being puppeted by Obama.
This calls to mind the never-ending speculation that Michelle Obama could one day run for president- even though the former first lady has been adamant throughout her entire public career that she has no interest in running again for public office. This has been floated both by Democrats seeking a new face for the party, and by Republicans, seeking to fearmonger the idea of Michelle running.
Nevertheless, there’s next to no chance that either of the Obamas will appear on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2024, or ever again.
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.