Another election year: Biden’s 2024 decision looms

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Another election year: Biden’s 2024 decision looms

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President Joe Biden has a pair of decisions to make: first whether to run for reelection in 2024 and then when to announce his choice, especially if the answer is yes.

The president has long said he “intends” to run for another term as long as he remains healthy. But at 80, he may not have as long as he would like to make that determination and has occasionally appeared to equivocate. He told 60 Minutes earlier this year that he had made no “firm decision” about 2024 and it “remains to be seen” whether he will throw his hat into the ring again.

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More recently, Biden waved off chants of “four more years” at the White House Tribal Nations Summit. “I don’t know about that,” he replied. “Thanks — thanks very much.” The White House wouldn’t confirm whether a family discussion of another campaign would take place over Thanksgiving dinner.

“What I will say is just reiterate what the president said, basically what you just said, that he intends to run in 2024, that he plans to run in 2024, like he said, just reiterating what you just said to me, he’s going to have a conversation with his family,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “But not going to get into when that’s going to happen or what this is going to look like.”

Nevertheless, it looks like all systems are go. Biden was buoyed by the midterm election results, during which Democrats retained the Senate and kept their House losses well below expected levels. Democrats appear to be clearing the 2024 field for him. “I’ve told everyone in the White House, from the chief of staff to the first lady,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), the biggest Democratic official who appeared to be preparing for a campaign, told Politico about his decision not to run.

“I think if you look at the last several times an incumbent president was challenged in a primary, it didn’t work out very well for the party in power,” said Democratic strategist Tom Cochran. “I think Newsom and others interested in the top job are astutely aware and willing to wait their turn.”

First lady Jill Biden has been involved in talks that have reportedly been going on as far back as September about a potential reelection campaign. The president has also privately told associates, including civil rights activist Al Sharpton, that he is planning on running. He has publicly said that he would be even more likely to do so if former President Donald Trump, who announced in November, runs again too.

Now that Trump has gotten in, when will Biden follow suit? He has given little indication beyond sometime next year.

“Short answer is early in 2023 would be ideal either way,” said Democratic strategist Stefan Hankin. “If he decides to run, just end the speculation. If he decides not to run, then enough time for the Hunger Games to begin.”

After Trump announced his third straight presidential bid, Republican consultant Brad Todd told the Washington Examiner that it was “too early” with the midterm elections barely over. “The voters want a break after the 2022 race, and I think most presidential aspirants are willing to give them that,” he said.

With the benefits of incumbency, a generational change in leadership that is already taking place in the House under outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Democrats exceeding expectations in the midterm elections, the urgency for Biden might not be there.

“I also think there is no rush to announce for a sitting president and especially not to counter any announcement from Trump,” Cochran said.

The two things that complicate matters are Biden’s age — he would be 86 once his second term ends — and poll results indicating that even many rank-and-file Democratic voters don’t want him to run again. This included 94% of Democrats under 30 in a New York Times / Siena College poll over the summer and two-thirds of all voters in this year’s exit polls.

Otherwise, Biden is the Democrat best prepared to wage another national campaign and could easily be ready to go by spring. “My intention is that I run again,” the president said at a press conference the day after the congressional elections. ”But I’m a great respecter of fate.”

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“In a non-reality world, would love to be able to see who the GOP ends up picking as their nominee,” Hankin said. “If it’s Trump, then Biden feels like the best matchup. If it is anyone but Trump, then probably better off with a different candidate.”

Biden is likely to make his intentions clear long before the first Republican or Democratic primaries.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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