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Joe Biden: Will Democrats Actually Replace Him?

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a town hall hosted by the Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 in Des Moines, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.

President Biden’s intention to seek reelection is being met with skepticism and malaise. The lack of enthusiasm surrounding Biden’s 2024 campaign is discernible, drawing deliberation from the mainstream media and general public alike. Should Democrats run Biden for a second term?

We Need to Talk About Joe Biden

The New York Times hosted a podcast episode today titled ‘We Need to Talk About Joe Biden,’ which sums up how a lot of the Trump-opposed feel. We need to have a conversation here. We can’t just proceed, business as usual, into the 2024 election. I have gotten in the habit of comparing the Democrats and Biden to Weekend at Bernie’s, in which two underlings use their deceased boss as a puppet to enjoy a weekend in the Hamptons.

The film neglects the realities of death, like rigor mortis or decay, and allows for a premise in which the underlings successfully convince everyone that Bernie is still alive. The comparison is crude, I admit, but feels appropriate, nonetheless. It feels like Democrats are neglecting the realities of President Joe Biden, like the fact that he is clearly sundowning, clearly past his expiration date. Instead of facing the obvious, the Democrats are elbowing ahead, wheeling Biden into the 2024 election even though it doesn’t quite feel right. It’s like auto-pilot with a vessel that was formerly a coherent and assertive politician but is now a husk of his former self. And instead of encouraging a healthy primary, the Democrats seem inclined to stifle competition, presumably in an effort to keep Biden “intact” for the general election, rather than have some ambitious senators and governors taking potshots at the incumbent for six months.    

But the public, and The New York Times, are starting to ask questions about the wisdom of marching Biden so casually into 2024. A string of recent polls has Biden and the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump, neck and neck. One ABC poll even listed Trump with a five-point lead over Biden. Polls taken over a year before an election should always be taken with a grain of salt, but the takeaway seems clear: Biden’s victory of Trump is not assured. And nothing concerns Democrats like the specter of a second Trump term.

The Nature of the Concern

A huge part of the problem with Biden is his age. He’s already the oldest president ever. And he was only supposed to be a “transitional” president. He was supposed to win back the presidency from Trump and then hand off the torch. However, with Biden gearing up for a reelection campaign, it looks like the transitional talk was just hot air.

But Democrats, and independents, are concerned with who Biden might hand the torch off to. Vice President Kamala Harris is the most obvious choice – but she is deeply unpopular, leading some Democrats to question whether she should be replaced on the ticket for fear that she could sink the entire effort.

Beyond Biden, no clear replacement has emerged. California Governor Gavin Newsom may be the best bet, but so far, he has been deferential to a fault, saying he is not interested in the presidency. Other options are flawed for one reason or another. Bernie Sanders is too old. Hillary Clinton has struggled against Trump in the past. Michelle Obama doesn’t want the job. So, getting beyond Joe Biden is just the first layer of the problem; selecting a replacement is another issue entirely.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer 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 listens to Dokken.

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Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense 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 has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.