Briefing

Will Joe Biden run again in 2024?

Everyone's wondering!

The 2024 presidential election is not as far away as people think. There is already robust speculation over who might throw their hats into the ring against former President Donald Trump, with Republican contenders potentially including Gov. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

There are a few contenders waiting in the wings on the Democratic side, as well — though their potential bids will likely all depend on if Joe Biden, who'd be 82 at the end of a second term, plans to run for re-election.

What is the septuagenarian president planning? Here's everything you need to know:

What has Biden said about running for re-election?

Biden has said that he intends to run again in 2024 but has not yet formally decided, CNN reports.

On numerous occasions, the president has expressed his intention of running for re-election, including in a conversation with MSNBC host Al Sharpton in the White House in early October and with MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart in an interview in late October, as well.

However, he has not yet made an official decision on whether or not to run. When asked why he hadn't formally made up his mind, Biden responded, "once I make that judgment, a whole series of regulations kick in and I have to be — I treat myself as a candidate from that moment on."

Following the Democrats' successful midterm elections, Biden said, "Our intention is to run again," adding "that's been our intention regardless of what the outcome of this election was." In some ways, Biden is already acting like a candidate: When Trump announced his bid for re-election on Nov. 15, the Biden team put out counterprogramming showcasing the Democrat as the better candidate on social media.

Biden is currently 79 years old, making him the oldest president in U.S. history and if he were to win again, he would be well into his 80s. His approval rating in October 2022 sat at approximately 43 percent, an increase from 37 percent back in July. 

When will Biden announce his bid for re-election?

Following the midterms, Biden held a press conference at the White House where he reiterated his intention to run again "regardless of what the outcome of this election was."

"My guess is it'll be early next year that we make that judgment," he said intending to discuss the decision with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, over the holidays, Time reports. "I think the American public wants us to move on and get things done for them."

Do Democrats want Biden to run again?

The view on whether Biden should run has been mixed. Many Democratic representatives have not given clear answers as to whether they want him to run. When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked in September whether she believes Biden should run again, she responded by saying that she's "not having that conversation," Time reports.

It appears that Democrats are leaving the president space to make his own decision. For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference in September that she's "not going into politics about whether the president should run or not."

Many have said that they would support the president if he were to run again. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said "if he runs, I'll support him," and California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was "pro-Biden," Time continues. Vice President Kamala Harris, the subject of speculation herself about a potential 2024 campaign, has said that if Biden decides to run, she would "[run] with him proudly," reports Insider.

Post-midterms, Democrats appear to be warming up to Biden. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told The New York Times that Biden "has the wind behind his back, he's gotten a lift from doing better than expected, while Trump is obviously part of a Republican Party meltdown. When you look at it in that frame, Biden has emerged in a stronger position."

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) also agreed with the sentiment, saying Biden "had the best midterms of any Democratic president since JFK," adding, "It'd be hard not to look at that and say, 'OK, there's still a role, there's still a path, there's still important things to do.'"

Do voters want Biden to run again?

The public is more hesitant about Biden as a nominee, with a poll showing that 56 percent of Democrat-leaning respondents would prefer "someone other than Biden" on the ticket, reports The Washington Post. That number is actually quite an improvement from July, when 75 percent of Democratic voters did not want Biden to run again. Biden's approval rating sits at about 41.5 percent, which is lower than the last 13 presidents were at this time.

"My hunch is that we need new leadership across the board — Democrats, Republicans, I think it's time for a generational move," Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has remarked.

Did the midterms change anything?

The midterm elections appeared to some to reinforce the opinion that Democrats should lean on Biden, particularly in a rematch against Trump. Though the elections were predicted to be a "red wave," Democrats had a better showing than expected on Nov. 8. "This was not a repudiation," Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, told USA Today.

Democrats successfully held on to the Senate and will likely only trail by a few seats in the House. Many Trump-backed candidates had rough outings, like Mehmet Oz (R) losing to John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race, Blake Masters (R) losing to Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in the Arizona Senate Race, Adam Laxalt (R) losing to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the Nevada Senate race, and Kari Lake (R) losing to Katie Hobbs (D) in the Arizona gubernatorial race. The Georgia Senate race has gone to a runoff election on Dec. 6 where Democrats can gain an even bigger Senate majority. The Times called it "one of the weakest performances in decades" by an opposition party during a midterm election.

White House aides were reportedly excited on Tuesday night by their unexpected overperformance, and experts posited that more people will rally around Biden given the relative success of the midterm elections. "To see it all play out was just a huge relief to the White House," Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod told Politico. "And, again, validation that President Biden's policies, which are popular, actually turned into votes to keep more Democrats in office."

Despite this, some are unsure whether Biden was really the cause of the victory. "Democrats won in spite of [Biden], not because of him," argued Inside Elections' Nathan Gonzales on Twitter, while others credited the momentum generated by the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Additionally, even losing one chamber of Congress will make it difficult for Biden to pass any legislation between Jan. 2023 and Jan. 2025. Also, Republicans are likely to run investigations into Biden's COVID response, his withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as his son, Hunter Biden. It is difficult to say at this point whether this will work in the Democrats' favor or push Biden out of the Oval Office.

Has Biden done anything to prepare for a campaign?

While there haven't been any overt plans, Biden aides have reportedly begun to piece together a campaign behind the scenes, NBC News reports. They intend to have a small campaign staff and heavily rely on the resources of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). "He's running and we're building an infrastructure for him to run and win," said Cedric Richmond, a key Biden adviser who's currently in the DNC.

Despite all of this, many Democrats are not confident the president will actually run because of his wishy-washy answers and his age, CNN reports. And in the meantime, other candidates have started stirring. Newsom and Harris have been engaging with donors preparing for a potential campaign should Biden not run, according to CNBC. Harris has reportedly been in touch with allies who helped on her campaigns for district attorney in California and both Newsom and Harris have made contact with a Wall Street executive. 

However, as of now, Biden has clearly expressed interest in running. As Ashley Etienne, former communications director for Harris, said, "A lot of folks were unsure about how we were going to finish, but Biden always finishes strong."

Update Nov. 16: This piece has been updated throughout to reflect the latest speculation about a potential Biden run.

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