A Message to Biden: Tell Us What 2024 Will Look Like

Given the apparent threat of a third Donald Trump campaign in 2024, why are President Joe Biden and the Democrats not doing more to fend off this impending onslaught? This is a particularly pointed question considering that Biden’s margin of victory in 2o20 was way too close for comfort.

Biden enjoys broad support within the Democratic Party. In spite of this, he lacks the seemingly unbreakable base of allegiance and adoration that millions of Americans have formed for the Trump political brand. No one wears Biden hats or plants Biden flags. Many people voted for Biden because they were eager for a return to political normalcy, not because the Biden brand appealed to them. In short, it was the anti-Trump brand that attracted them.

Given what will be another heated presidential contest, Biden needs to make his intentions for 2024 crystal clear. To most effectively keep Trump out of office, Biden needs to disclose whether he plans to run for a second term. And he needs to do so very soon.

If Biden does decide to seek re-election, his elderly status will no doubt be an even bigger hurdle for him than it was in 2020. He must address this concern now and show us he has contingencies in place through 2028. Conversely, if he is one and done, then he should be telling us whether he will be endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris or another candidate.

Some might argue that if Biden prematurely announces he will not run again, he would make himself a lame duck president. Lame ducks are defined by their lack of political influence because they have limited time left in office. However, this terminology would not truly apply to Biden, who would still have two years left in his term, more than enough time to enact meaningful legislation.

Lame ducks are also defined by their freedom to make decisions that push the limits of their power without fear of consequence. This is another powerful reason for a Biden early-announcement strategy. He would forgo the limitations of worrying about another term, allowing him to govern as aggressively and honestly as he wants.

In terms of who Biden could endorse to replace him, it would appear that Harris would be his logical choice. However, she is facing increasing scrutiny over her lack of voice and influence in the Biden Administration. If Biden plans on passing the baton to her, he is setting her up for failure by giving her little opportunity to show voters what her leadership and decision-making looks like.

Perhaps Biden only chose Harris as his V.P. because he thought she would provide the biggest electoral boost. If this is the case, he has not done the Democratic Party any favors, which makes the need for him to designate a successor all the more urgent. Assuming he does not run and does not plan for Harris to take the reins, Biden needs to not only identify his replacement but bring them into a high-level position within his administration.

Many will rightly wonder how Biden can predict who will be the most winnable candidate in 2024. However, Biden and the Democrats have the ability to shape that climate themselves. They can put all their resources and support into one candidate, propping them up for the next two years and giving them the name recognition of an incumbent.

The bottom line is that Democrats cannot guarantee another victory in 2024 based on how terrible the Trumpian-alternative would be. They need to put someone forward now who the Democratic Party and voters can rally behind. This way, when the day comes that Trump announces he plans to run, there will have already been a compelling alternative backed by a powerful and unified party for years.

To Biden: The weight is on your shoulders. Stop leaving the country in limbo, and tell us what 2024 will look like. Prepare us for what comes next, and start the race now before Trump even puts his sneakers back on.