Democrats question whether Biden will actually run in 2024

Several Democrats privately wonder if President BidenJoe Biden Florida Republicans Vote To Limit Vaccine Mandates Bill Honoring 13 Service Members Killed In Afghanistan Heads To Biden’s Desk Overnight Defense And Homeland Security – Presented By Boeing – Pentagon Promises More Transparency In air strikes MORE He will run for re-election amid anemic approval ratings and mounting concerns about next year’s midterm elections.

Biden insists he will seek another term, and some see him as the best bet to defeat the former President TrumpDonald Trump On The Money – Biden Warns Oil Industry Memo: Gosar Censored, But Toxic Culture Rises Cleveland MLB Team Officially Renames Guardians Friday MORE if he runs again and becomes the Republican candidate.

“Eligibility was the number one issue in the last election, which is why Joe Biden won the primaries. There will be a contingent that thinks, ‘Oh, this time it’s Trump again, we have to have Biden again,’ “said a Democratic aide who worked on a presidential campaign in the last cycle.

“But if Biden’s approval rating stays where it is, if we have a rough interim cycle, if he can’t meet his entire schedule, is he still considered the most eligible candidate?” said the aide, who like other Democrats who spoke to The Hill for this article, did not want to officially speak on the sensitive issue.

Biden ran in 2020 as a party statesman who argued that he would return a sense of normalcy and stability to Washington after the tumultuous Trump years.

Partly because of the rationale for his candidacy, there have always been questions about whether he would serve more than one term.

His age is another factor, and another reason why Democrats don’t like to talk officially about Biden’s political future. Biden will turn 81 in January 2024 and is already the oldest person to hold the presidency.

Many see Biden as someone who could defeat Trump again in three years, and there are deep fears that the president’s likely heir apparent, Vice President Harris, could lose.

Yet despite Biden’s insistence that he will run, speculation that he will not is slowly growing in Democratic circles as the White House struggles to recover from a difficult political summer and fall.

While the White House had no comment for this story, other Democrats close to Biden’s officials say the president is taking the prospect of mounting another bid in 2024 very seriously and that it’s not just about talking to avoid being a jerk. lame.

“He has told people privately that he plans to run. We will be ready for that. And his disregard for the talkative class is well known, ”said someone who worked on the Biden campaign and is well informed about his thinking in 2024.

Some also say that Biden and the party could be poised for a rebound as the House moves toward passing the $ 1.75 trillion social and climate spending bill. Biden signed a separate $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday.

A prominent donor said there are Democrats who would compete for the nomination if Biden decides not to, but they are frozen for now.

“He’s running again, at least that’s what he’s told people, and he’s stopped everyone else,” the donor said. “You don’t hear from anyone when it comes to the 2024 race. Everyone is locked in and waiting to see what Biden does.”

A good number of Democrats say that the talk within the party is often too negative.

“Bedwetting is what does my side,” said Steve Schale, who led the pro-Biden Unite the Country PAC in 2020.

“The vast majority of observers were absolutely wrong about Joe Biden in 2019 and 2020,” he said. “I remember people saying, ‘Joe Biden’s best day will be the first day he’s in the race.’ … The story of telling Joe Biden is littered with a fairly significant group of people who live on Twitter. “

Biden’s official travel schedule appears to be geared toward a future offering, as the president has sought to sell his national agenda in places that reflect a campaign itinerary.

On Monday, he was in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary, to promote the approval of his long-awaited infrastructure plan.

He flew to Michigan on Wednesday, one of five trips he’s made to swing critical that narrowly won last year. He has also landed in Pennsylvania several times and has visited Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio.

It is mainly the poll numbers and a disappointing result in the November off-year elections that is fueling the discussion.

More than half of registered voters, 53 percent, disapprove of the work Biden is doing in office, according to poll aggregates, and only 42 percent say they favor.

61% of respondents in a new Hill-HarrisX poll said they want Biden to step aside to allow another candidate to run for the White House. Only 24 percent said they should definitely run for reelection, and 15 percent weren’t sure what Biden should do in the next presidential cycle.

“There are a lot of people who would work for potential Democratic candidates who are keeping a close eye on these things,” said the former campaign staff member.

Biden won the 2020 nomination in large part thanks to the support of black voters, who are a critical part of his power base. Some Democrats are now starting to factor that into the equation for a future offer.

“I can’t imagine many if any of the 2024 Democratic hopefuls will want to go out on skis,” said Joel Payne, a Democratic operative. “The politics of the Democratic Party, running through the heart of black America, would not be kind to someone who is perceived as cutting the line before the president or vice president.”

In addition to Harris, several Democrats who spoke to The Hill mentioned the Secretary of Transportation Pete buttigiegPete Buttigieg Biden, Senior Officials Separated to Promote Infrastructure Package White House Rejects Talks on Harris-Biden Rift Meet the Governor of the Red State Democrats should nominate in 2024 instead of Biden or Harris MORE as another possible successor to Biden.

When asked about Biden’s candidacy, a second former member of a presidential candidate’s campaign staff said, “I shouldn’t, Pete should.”

“I’m not a Pete person,” added the source. “But Pete[’s] the only possibility is 2024. “

Others mentioned that Buttigieg, who has seen his own profile raised in recent weeks during discussions on infrastructure, has enjoyed a positive perception after suspending his own presidential campaign and helping Biden from within the administration.

“He’s the only one who started the 2020 race and finished higher than the day he started,” said another Democratic strategist, who wanted to speak frankly without attribution about the previous list of contenders. “He did it in the race and he’s doing it now. He is the only Democrat who has an elevator.ed your stature “.

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