What’s Left: Will Biden Run in 2024? Should He? Hopefully, and Yes.

Ilyas Talwar, Contributing Writer

Ever since Joe Biden announced his candidacy in April 2019, much has been made of his age. Although a lot of what’s been said consists of attacks from the GOP, there’s a genuine question hanging over the heads of nearly all Democrats since Biden took office: Will he run again? Should he even bother?

The former question is hard to answer, the latter is totally a matter of opinion. I will provide some direction for the first and make the affirmative case for the second. 

Given everything we know now, there is no reason to doubt Biden will run again. However, that does not mean he’s going to; the White House has been dodging the question since day one. Rather, he has never indicated that he would want to be a one-term president.

There are three main things that would prevent Biden from running again. First and most likely among them is if he or those around him felt his age or related health problems were inhibiting his abilities as both a candidate and a president, but at least right now, that does not seem to be an issue. The President seems just as, if not more, focused and sharp in his speeches and interviews as he did during his candidacy.

The second would be if his approval rating was so terrible that running again would be a political disaster. Biden’s approval rating has recovered in recent months and now sits somewhere in the low-to-mid 40s, but on the other hand, it’s impossible to predict where his approval rating will go in the future. The last thing that could stop Biden is if he felt the party was not sufficiently rallied around him. This is what happened to Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as the Democratic party fractured along several fault lines, making his path to the Democratic nomination uncertain and damaging to everyone involved. Moreover, the Texan was plagued by health problems and was convinced, probably correctly as it turns out, that he would not have survived a second term.

Currently, the Democratic party is not revolting against Biden and shows no sign of doing so. Although California Governor Gavin Newsom is clearly angling for national prominence, running ads in other states and publicly challenging rising-GOP star Ron DeSantis, nothing he said indicates that he would challenge Biden, and it does not seem likely that he would win that fight anyway. Instead, the Californian is likely setting the groundwork for a presidential run should Biden decide to bow out. 

On the question of whether Joe Biden should run again, I personally believe he should for two main reasons, regardless of the fact that I agree with his policies. First, there is no clear successor to Biden for Democrats to rally around, meaning that an extended and bruising primary is a real possibility. Although Kamala Harris is the Vice-President and has a good chance of emerging victorious from said-primary fight, she is not a popular figure nationally. Although these polls are less common than those about President Biden, her net approval rating is negative 11.2 percent, according to fivethirtyeight.com, and she has consistently, albeit not significantly, trailed both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in 2024 polls.

This leads me to my second reason: Biden is a winning candidate. He’s won once before, and he can do it again. His approval rating is rebounding, and the same 2024 polls that have Harris losing show Biden winning. This is a case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There really is no reason to get a different candidate. He’s sufficiently amenable to swing voters and die-hard Democrats alike. He has made significant efforts to show all wings of the party that he takes them and their concerns seriously.

Moreover, Biden has actually delivered. He does not have to run just on promises and plans; he’s delivered on infrastructure, climate change, student loans, combatting China and strengthening alliances. Trump, DeSantis and other GOP hopefuls are firebrands. It’s part of their nature and appeal. The antidote to firebrands who talk a lot and do very little are those who do a lot and talk when they must, and Biden fits this solution. While the GOP nominee will run, as they always do, on culture war issues and scaring voters, Biden will run on what he’s done and what more he can do. His major policies are by and large popular with Americans across the political spectrum.

Biden is a politician who understands how to run and how to govern, and that is something valuable. Unless something unforeseen arises before the 2024 campaign season starts, Biden should run again.