AMAC Exclusive – By Herald Boas
It now appears almost inevitable that after the Biden-Harris current and first term in office, very many Democrats will be seeking a new ticket for their party in 2024. Of course, circumstances can change, but considering their extreme unfavourability ratings now, the crises they are currently facing and likely will face, and the fact that Joe Biden would be 82-years-old at the beginning of a second term, the prospects for Biden-Harris in 2024 are dim indeed.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been so unimpressive so far, and her poll numbers so low, that the likelihood of her being nominated in Biden’s place in 2024 is also very low.
So who, then, might be nominated, and how might the Democrats accomplish such a rare and politically acrobatic process? The last truly one full-term president not to be renominated for a second term either voluntarily or not was Rutherford Hayes in 1884. (Several vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency on the death of the president and then had a full team of their own before leaving office were Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson.) Not renominating a sitting first term president would thus be unprecedented for the past 140 years.
Mr. Biden could announce his decision not to run in late 2023 because of health reasons or because it will be obvious he could not be renominated. That is the most likely scenario. Until then, as he is doing now, he will likely continue to say he is running in 2024 to avoid being perceived as a “lame duck” too early.
Another possible scenario would be for Mr. Biden and his supporters to believe they can win in 2024, and run again — perhaps with a new vice president. Biden would then likely face an intraparty challenge — probably from his left (but it could also come from Joe Manchin to his right). Win or lose, Biden would enter the general election severely weakened, as did Gerald Ford in 1976 and Jimmy Carter in 1980.
If Biden loses renomination or chooses not to run, who might the Democrats run for president in 2024?
The commonplace belief today is that the Democratic Party has no “bench.” That’s not exactly fair. They do have some notable personalities, including several who surfaced in 2020, but most of them are at varying shades of the more radical left — which is unlikely to provide a winning ticket in 2024. The two leading moderates, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, would seem unacceptable to party’s progressives. A new figure might also emerge, especially if they have success in an otherwise likely GOP wave year in the 2022 mid-term elections.
Vice President Harris would likely run if Joe Biden elected not to, but like Henry Wallace and Dan Quayle in earlier cycles, she may not find much traction in her own party. As happened in 2020, the field of Democrats is likely to be very large if Biden does not run, perhaps more than 20 major figures.
In any event, the substantial advantage enjoyed by a president running for re-election will likely not be available to Democrats in 2024. Of course, Republicans have the challenge of determining their own ticket, which could be led again by Donald Trump, or by one from the deep GOP bench, which includes Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Tom Cotton, Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, and Tim Scott, among many others. This too may be a more heavily contested primary than many observers are expecting, given the vulnerability of the Democrat ticket.
The current level of decline in support for President Biden can be seen in a recent poll by a usually Democratic-leaning pollster in which Donald Trump now leads Joe Biden by double digits. That’s a poll of the popular vote. The former President himself released a poll by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio last week that showed Trump up dramatically over Biden in virtually every major swing state.
If Republicans do enjoy the dimensions of wave election victories in 2022, especially if they regain control of Congress, the dilemma for the Democrats to determine their presidential ticket next time would likely enhance GOP prospects in 2024. History would seem to be on their side as their opponents effect the dumping of their own president and vice president.
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