Will Joe Biden be the Democrat candidate in 2024? No. Absolutely not. Democrats may be wrong about nearly everything, but they are not given to political suicide.
The chattering class has engaged in an absurd back-and-forth about the prospects of a Biden 2024 run, even as the feeble president scores epically bad approval ratings and has lost the backing of his own party.
Just recently, the Washington Post published a list of Democrat 2024 political hopefuls and included Biden on the list.
In previous rankings, they had not included the president; they explained the earlier omission by writing “In the seemingly unlikely scenario he didn’t run again, the idea was, here’s who would be next in line.” Now, the Post says that “scenario seemed to be growing more likely,” so Biden is on the list. Confused?
The Post now admits Biden may not run in 2024, since his approval ratings are in the gutter and a recent New York Times/Siena poll shows even 64% of Democrats would prefer someone else. So, they put him top of the list. No wonder most normal Americans ignore political punditry.
Why would anyone take a Biden candidacy seriously? Because Biden himself is, suggests the Post. Apparently, his team is preparing for a run, emboldened, like the president himself, by that same poll that showed, in spite of everything, Biden would still top Trump 44-41.
The logic is that Donald Trump will be the 2024 GOP candidate and that Uncle Joe is the only Democrat who can beat him. Everything about this assertion is nonsensical.
Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in 2020 because voters were tired of The Donald’s abrasive and unpredictable personality and were convinced that Biden would provide “normalcy.” They believed Biden when he promised to bring the country together and many expected him to govern as a political moderate. Polling showed that millions voted against Donald Trump, not for Joe Biden.
Not only were Americans exhausted by the Trump melodrama, they also — importantly — were comfortable. By that I mean they had been lured into complacency by many years in which the economy had grown steadily, inflation was nonexistent and our country was at peace.
They had no idea how much damage Joe Biden could do.
Yes, we were enduring the scourge of Covid-19, and many blamed President Trump for the destruction wreaked by that devastating Chinese import. Democrats hammered him for his (mis)management of the virus, even though he oversaw the most important response of all — the development of a vaccine.
Criticism from Biden’s basement bunker and from his allies in the liberal media was ruthless even though the Trump White House and Congress moved swiftly to shore up businesses and people hurt by the pandemic shutdowns. While the economy had endured one of the sharpest downturns in our history, the recession was also the shortest on record.
By the time of the election, we were already recovering; real GDP rebounded in the quarter before the 2020 vote by more than 30%. Consumer sentiment was climbing quickly and businesses were optimistic as well. Employers created 672,000 jobs in September 2020, and 638,000 more in the month that followed.
Stock prices bottomed in late March 2020 and the S&P Index jumped almost 30% by the end of October.
Thanks to soaring stock markets and generous government handouts, consumers had piled up tens of trillions of dollars in additional net worth and trillions in excess savings. Americans were optimistic about their financial futures.
The result? The election did not turn on the merits of economic policy, or the jobs outlook, which usually determine voter choices. It turned on chasing out of office a president who had outworn his welcome. Though history has a way of repeating itself, it is highly unlikely that Biden would again beat Trump.
First, the public’s opinion of Biden’s character has deteriorated dramatically. YouGov tracking shows nearly half the country now thinks the president is not honest and trustworthy, compared to 38% that does.
Secondly, Biden’s main campaign pitches have proven hollow. Americans see Joe Biden unable to bring his own party together, much less the country. Progressives fault him for failing to push their agenda; moderates are wary of his extreme positions on racial equity, transgender rights, abortion and climate change.
Third, inflation and the Federal Reserve’s response means our economy is in real trouble for the first time in more than a decade. Recession looms, and job losses are beginning to mount.
Fourth, there is the age issue. The majority of Americans (64% in a recent poll) think Biden is too old to be president now, much less four years from now. The deterioration in the president’s mental acuity seems to be accelerating.
Fifth, Biden has lost the Bernie Bros — the followers of the Democratic Socialist Vermont Senator who didn’t show up in 2016, and who therefore elected Donald Trump. Progressives are furious that Biden has been unable to further their Draconian climate measures, that he has not rewritten our tax code to hobble the millionaires and billionaires that Sanders would like to eliminate, that the favoritism extended to minorities has been way too modest and that Biden has failed to rewrite our immigration laws.
Meanwhile, Biden might not beat Trump. Though the New York Times poll cited earlier says he holds the advantage, other recent soundings show Biden losing to Trump. People may not like Donald J. Trump, but they were better off when he was president.
How will Democrats stave off further disaster and keep Biden from running again? My guess: party leaders and his wife Jill will convince him to step aside. The real question is not whether they will intervene to stop this train wreck, but when.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.