Joe Biden wants everyone to know that he’s running for re-election in 2024 and that he’s the only Democrat in the country who could beat Donald Trump.
Several news sources are reporting that the president told Barack Obama during his visit to the White House this month that he was definitely running and looked forward to a rematch with Trump.
No doubt Biden has heard the footsteps of several Democrats coming up behind him, especially those of Vice President Kamala Harris. Several of her supporters are openly rooting for Biden to step aside and allow Harris to either take the presidency or convince Biden to declare himself a non-candidate in 2024.
That won’t happen now. But there very well could be some kind of insurgency led by AOC and other Squad members to yank Biden to the far left or even displace him with someone like Elizabeth Warren. That would be as good as Bernie Sanders being chosen to run by the Democrats.
“I believe he thinks he’s the only one who can beat Trump. I don’t think he thinks there’s anyone in the Democratic party who can beat Trump and that’s the biggest factor,” the source said.
But Biden’s prospects for victory in 2024 have been in doubt in recent months, with the president seeing worsening approval ratings since August of last year. The latest Quinnipiac University put Biden’s approval at a dismal 33%, the lowest mark of his presidency thus far.
History has shown us that a sitting president is virtually impossible to beat in the primaries, no matter how unpopular he is. Jimmy Carter’s approval was in the low 40s in 1979 when national Democrats begged Teddy Kennedy to run. Kennedy entered the race formally on Nov. 7 — just a few days after the Iran hostage crisis began. The rest of Kennedy’s inept, stumbling campaign destroyed the Kennedy “mystique” forever.
But Kennedy hung on long enough to disastrously divide the Democratic Party, and Carter was never able to repair the schism.
Biden wanted to head off any challenge far in advance of the primaries, which are now less than two years away. He has to, according to the latest opinion polls.
Beyond the rough political winds and poor approval ratings, it is Biden’s age that has fueled questions about his future.
Biden, 79, was the oldest president to take office at 78 and would be 82 at the start of his second term, should he successfully seek one.
A CNBC survey released last week found that only 38 percent of Americans approve of the job that Biden is doing as president, while 53 percent disapprove. On the economy specifically, Biden gets lower marks, with 35 percent approving of his job handling the economy and 60 percent disapproving.
Biden isn’t getting credit for anything. His poll numbers didn’t budge when the jobs report came out showing a gain of 431,000 jobs. Biden hasn’t moved the needle as a result of his management of the Ukraine crisis, for which he’s generally getting high marks.
The jobs numbers are largely irrelevant considering that the pandemic cost the U.S. 11 million jobs and that, despite the jobs gains, we’re still at 3.5 million fewer jobs than were employed in 2019. And Biden’s Ukraine response is making few Americans happy.
There’s still time for the Democrats to look past Biden’s argument that he’s the only Democrat who can beat Trump and work to nominate someone younger and less radical. But at this point, it hardly seems relevant. Any Democrat who runs will have to campaign on Biden’s record.
An unenviable task indeed.