Ranking the 2024 Democratic field
Which does leave the door slightly ajar for him to not run again. And The Atlantic’s Mark Leibovich argued that is the course he should take in a piece this week.
“Biden will turn 80 on November 20. He will be 82 if and when he begins a second term. The numbers just keep getting more ridiculous from there. ‘It’s not the 82 that’s the problem. It’s the 86,’ one swing voter said in a recent focus group, referring to the hypothetical age Biden would be at the end of that (very) hypothetical second term.”
“As the challenges facing the nation mount and fatigued base voters show low enthusiasm, Democrats in union meetings, the back rooms of Capitol Hill and party gatherings from coast to coast are quietly worrying about Mr. Biden’s leadership, his age and his capability to take the fight to former President Donald J. Trump a second time.”
Given that growing chatter about Biden’s future, I thought it would be a worthy exercise to look at who else could wind up as the Democratic nominee for president in two years’ time. One thing to note: If Biden runs, it is very unlikely he faces a significant primary challenge. Most of the names on this list would only run if Biden decided not to.
8. Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator’s 2020 presidential campaign never really got out of the starting blocks. But many of the things that made Booker appealing on paper in 2020 remain true: He is a charismatic politician with a healthy dose of star power. Plus, having run and lost once for the Democratic nomination, he is likely to be wiser about a bid the second time around. Of course, the fact that Booker’s last effort was unsuccessful raises the question of “why,? which Booker would have to answer in order to gain traction in a subsequent race.
4. Pete Buttigieg: When Buttigieg, the breakout star of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, took the job as secretary of Transportation in the Biden administration, many observers wondered why. After all, it isn’t the sort of lofty perch that positions like Attorney General or Secretary of State are. But Buttigieg has proven his doubters wrong, emerging as the face of the decidedly popular infrastructure bill. It turns out that doling out federal dollars for local projects is a very good way to build goodwill. Buttigieg is among the most natural politicians in the Democratic Party and, at age 40, can afford to wait if the 2024 or even 2028 field doesn’t look promising for him.
1. Joe Biden: There’s zero question that Biden is in bad political shape at the moment — approval ratings in the high 30s, gas at $5 a gallon, inflation the highest it has been in 40 years. There’s also zero question that if Biden decides he wants to run for a second term, he will almost certainly be the party’s nominee — and probably won’t have to fight all that hard for it. It’s an open question as to whether that is the best thing for Democrats nationally.