While the White House continues to assure the country that President Joe Biden plans to run again in 2024, concerns over his age and how he’s handled multiple crises are sparking speculation over who else could make a ploy for office.
Biden has been plagued with a series of crises since taking office – a disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, record-high inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a baby formula shortage and more. How he’s handled each situation is reflected in his poll numbers, which recently slipped for the fourth straight week, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll published Wednesday.
What’s more, concern is growing over Biden’s age. Currently 79 years old, the president will be 81 if he runs again in 2024. Entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential primary candidate Andrew Yang told The Hill on Wednesday that Biden’s “age will be a legitimate issue for many voters,” pointing out that he’s “already the oldest president we’ve had even before his potential second term.” (RELATED: ‘He’s F*cking Old’: Democrat Strategist Worries Biden’s Too Old To Be President Again)
“We need a new generation of leadership … The whole system of government is being run by a geriatric oligarchy,” Joe Cunningham, a Democratic candidate for South Carolina governor, told CNN on Thursday while arguing why Biden shouldn’t run for reelection.
— New Day (@NewDay) June 23, 2022
And so, although the administration continues to say the president is all in for a 2024 run – White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said as recently as June 13 that “yes,” Biden has repeatedly said “he’s running for reelection” – Democrats and those in Washington are quietly drumming up ideas for alternatives to lead the party in the next election.
The list of potential Democratic 2024 presidential contenders is long, with Governors Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Jared Polis of Colorado, Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan being named in a piece published by the Intelligencer in May.
Previous presidential hopefuls are also reportedly eyeing a 2024 run should Biden opt out. The Washington Post reported back in April on a leaked memo written by Faiz Shakir, Bernie Sander’s former campaign manager, in which he noted that Sanders “has not ruled out another run for president” should there be “an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary.”
Should Biden balk at a second term, another potential for Democrats is Vice President Kamala Harris, though she too has suffered from a number of issues since taking office. Still, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has already voiced support for her if Biden doesn’t run, telling The Wall Street Journal in June that she’d be his “second” pick after the president. (RELATED: A Slew Of Democrats Are Quietly Hoping Biden Won’t Run In 2024)
To be clear, as the President has said repeatedly, he plans to run in 2024.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) June 13, 2022
Amid the speculation, some potential 2024 hopefuls appear to be trying to bolster their chances, as detailed in an article published Thursday by Politico. Pritzker spoke at an abortion rights event in New Hampshire earlier in June, Harris was featured at a South Carolina Democrats’ fundraising event this year and Murphy’s allies started two political fundraising groups back in February.
“If Biden isn’t going to run, but he doesn’t make that decision until very late, as is his habit, there’s not a lot of time to introduce yourself to the country. So that favors the candidates who have already run and it may favor candidates who already have resources, like Pritzker and Murphy,” David Axelrod, Democratic strategist and previous adviser to former President Barack Obama, said according to Politico.
“I think there is at least some fair conjecture that [Biden’s age] will ultimately cause him not to run, so it’s natural that politicians are thinking about the ‘what if,'” Alexrod added regarding speculation over Biden alternatives come 2024.