Despite his statement at his first White House press conference on March 25 that he has every intention of running for re-election, the chances of an 81-year-old Joe Biden hitting the campaign trail again in 2024 remain awfully remote. Or do they?
Keep in mind that a 77-year-old Biden never truly “hit the campaign trail” as the Democratic nominee last year, hiding himself from voters in a way that had not been seen in modern American history. Also note that Biden was not really wanted by his own party during its long, drawn-out presidential primary process in the first place. He was written off repeatedly as a sagging dinosaur, yet a late-emerging party panic over the prospects of self-professed “democratic socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) capturing the nomination combined with behind-the-scenes string-pulling by a Democratic establishment that Biden had in his pocket (or vice versa) inexplicably propelled him to become the blue pick.
And here he resides, controversially or not, in the White House this very day. The question uncomfortable Democrats are going to have to ask themselves if Biden continues to insist on a 2024 bid is this: If we didn’t want him last time and he couldn’t even campaign effectively yet somehow grabbed the brass ring anyway, what arguments can we use to dissuade him from another unpopular, bumbling, low-energy run three years from now?
Bridge to Nowhere?
This was most definitely not the plan. Biden himself professed to be a temporary fix in March 2020 before the next wave of young Democrats took over. “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden declared. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.” With many Democrats (and Americans of all political stripes) openly speculating that Vice President Kamala Harris may take over well before 2024 arrives, the idea of that Biden Bridge spanning a re-election campaign must horrify all but the most ossified Swamp figures within the party’s ranks.
Another interesting argument in Biden’s favor is the vice president. Two full months into the Biden administration, Harris has managed to develop the rather curious perception of being an underwhelming character in a position that is inherently designed to fly under the radar. This owes a great deal, of course, to the assumption going in that Harris would be a powerful factor in an Oval Office run by a laid-back Biden. Tabbed to lead the administration’s response to the crisis on our southern border, she appears to be sleepwalking on the issue. Harris drew the wrath of Republicans on March 22 for laughing and exclaiming “not today,” when asked if she planned on visiting the border. Higher profile, lighter weight. Where have we seen that before?
Secret Job Security Weapon
Harris is displaying the same trait as VP that she has repeatedly exuded throughout her political career. Adept at elbowing her way into an always-bigger spotlight, she then promptly wilts after maneuvering into “her moment.” We saw this with her disastrous interrogation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. We witnessed it with her beyond subdued, deer-in-the-headlights persona at subsequent Democratic primary debates in 2019 after she had accrued “top-tier” status for her “I do not believe you are a racist … but” slam of Biden at the first gathering in Miami in June. She underperformed at the nomination hearing for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and during the VP debate with Mike Pence last October.
Harris will be given a higher platform than most vice presidents due to Biden’s limitations. And if she continues her unbroken pattern of failing to live up to the elevated profile after obtaining it, this will be another monkey wrench in Democrat hopes to supplant a fading president. Once again, Biden’s weakness will strengthen his 2024 chances.
Democrats chose Biden because no one better emerged. His current vice president was one of those failures to launch. Insulated a second time by the mediocrity of the “up and comers” in his party and bolstered by the bearing of an incumbent presidency that would make any outsider blue challenge exceedingly delicate, the 2024 chances for Joe Biden are much better than one would expect. Democrats may be stuck with their wobbly bridge for far, far longer than they anticipated.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.