Biden is likely to win in 2024. He also probably shouldn't run.
Democrats are coming into 2024 with many advantages. The President is one of only a few who could squander them.
Let me be clear starting off: this piece is not a prediction. Biden is going to run for re-election in 2024. Everybody knows this. Everyone is acting like it. He’s done his best to play coy about it, but is so clearly running for re-election that his attempts at doing so just come across as incoherent. Practically every day for the past few months, he has had an interaction with a reporter that goes like:
REPORTER: “Mr. President, are you planning on running in 2024?”
BIDEN: “Yes. I have always said I plan to run for re-election. Also my family is on board now.”
REPORTER: “So you’re running for re-election?”
BIDEN: “No. I have not made that decision yet.”
(This exchange has been translated from Joe Biden Standard English to American English for the sake of clarity)
At this point, we would all be better off just ending this charade, which has only served to help fill space in the few newspapers that still exist in this country. Recent reports say that he will do so next week, which I hope is the case. Even by the standards of today, it has been annoyingly repetitious news cycle.
What’s been especially unfortunate about this set of circumstances is that it has turned the discussion around an important question—Biden’s actual strength as a candidate and his standing in the current political environment—into an an interminable morass of hackery. Right wingers, seeking to make themselves feel better, dismiss Biden as an unelectable corpse. Those seeking to once again feel the thrill of rooting for Bernie in what they pathetically title as the “2016 posting wars” work desperately to cast Biden in the mold of their old primary opponents, while burdening us with their attempts to convince themselves that someone like Marianne Williamson is a viable challenger. And those whose sympathies align squarely with the Democratic Party have indignantly countered by constructing a fantasy of Biden as a perpetually underestimated expert operator, always a step ahead of his opponents and set to wipe the floor with Trump or DeSantis.
None of these perspectives come even close to the truth. The reality is far simpler.
Biden is a risk.
Going into 2024, Democrats have many decisive advantages over Republicans. They are advantages that, if pressed correctly, could massively change the political trajectory of this country. The President is not one of these advantages. He is a large liability, and has been so for quite a while. Ever since his popularity cratered in the fall of 2021, he has done nothing but hold his party back at the polls. While history indicates that his standing could improve, there are no actual guarantees that it will. And if it doesn’t, there will be no way to escape the consequences with him at the top of the ticket.
With that said, this is not a prediction that Biden is likely to lose. As I detailed in my 2024 ratings, the electoral college math is on the side of his party. It’s also not a call for any credible figure to outright challenge him if (when) he announces a bid, which will be certain to fail and only result in the destruction of that said figure’s career.
What it is is an assessment that, of the potential nominees for his party, Biden is one of the most liable to lose, one of the least capable of winning big, and is by no means worth the risk based on his record as President. Even if he is certain to run again, I think it is worth it to articulate why I believe the biggest decision the President and his party have made this election cycle is ill-considered, and that we’d all be better off if he simply went up to the stage on Tuesday and said, "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept.”
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