Never before in the history of the United States has there been a case when, just a year after the election of the president, everyone around began to ask whether he would run for this post again. However, now everyone is asking exactly this question regarding Joe Biden. The mixed results of his rule and the drop in his personal rating leave Americans wondering if he will be able to run for election in 2024.
At the end of last week, this topic was again raised by journalists at a briefing in the White House. Deputy presidential spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said that Biden still plans to run for a second term in tandem with Vice President Kamala Harris and in this sense “nothing has changed.” Biden himself previously spoke of his “plans” and “intentions” in the same terms about his “plans” and “intentions” to participate in the elections – in March at the first press conference in the White House and most recently, in November, at a virtual meeting with donors to the Democratic Party.
However, such assurances do not mean anything yet. Intentions can be quite definite, but circumstances can develop in such a way that everything will turn out exactly the opposite. At the same time, there should be no complaints against Biden.
It is no coincidence that at the same press conference in the White House, he made a reservation that “he cannot plan anything with certainty in advance for four or three and a half years in advance.”
Therefore, the question of whether Biden will go for a second term will remain open for at least another year and a half, or even two.
Newspaper The Washington Post interviewed 28 political consultants and functionaries of the Democratic Party, and they all confirmed that there is no clarity on this matter yet. And at the recent convention of the Association of Democratic Governors in New Orleans, according to The New York Times, on the sidelines and at cocktail tables, they were already discussing with might and main who could replace Biden as a candidate in the next election.
Return the country to “normalcy”
In the 245 years of the existence of the United States, it has happened more than once that presidents from the very beginning warned about their decision to remain in the White House for only one term. This was done, in particular, by James Knox Polk (1845-1849), James Buchanan (1857-1861), Rutherford Hayes (1877-1881). The last who did not re-fight for the presidency was Lyndon Johnson: in 1968, his popularity fell to a disastrously low level due to the Vietnam War. It also happened that the party refused to trust the incumbent president and nominated another candidate in the elections.
After Biden’s victory last year, rumors leaked from his entourage that he allegedly considered himself a “transitional president” and saw his main mission in returning the country to “normalcy” after Donald Trump’s chaotic rule, and then passing the baton to new leaders. In this regard, it was expected that he will stay in the White House for one term, and Harris will become the Democratic candidate in the elections in 2024. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the vice president admitted that they had not yet talked about it. And Biden’s recent statements only confused all the cards even more.
In my opinion, whatever the true intentions of the current president, he is now forced to demonstrate interest in a second term in office, so as not to weaken his positions and not turn into a “lame duck” ahead of time. According to the political science portal Real Clear Politics, only 44.1% of voters approve of Biden’s work in office, while 50.3% consider it unsatisfactory.
Time is not on his side
Biden has received the worst marks for the economy – rising prices and supply disruptions seriously worry Americans and undermine the credibility of the current administration. In addition to inflation, among the most important challenges remains the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the emergence of the omicron strain. Plus the lack of much-needed immigration and police reforms. But even if we add to this the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which, apparently, the current American leader will be remembered until the end of his days, the picture will still be incomplete.
Biden’s main enemy is time. It is uncontrollable and dictates its own rules of the game. This is another public confession of the politician at the March press conference: “I humbly accept what is destined for fate.”
Biden recently turned 79 and will be almost 82 by the next presidential election. If he can stay in the White House for a second term, he should be 86 by the end. was not yet 78, but it was said about him that “he is already too old.”
In November, Biden underwent a routine check-up at the Walter Reed Hospital of the United States Navy in the metropolitan suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. According to his attending physician Kevin O’Connor, the President is healthy, active and able to successfully fulfill his duties. At the same time, his cough became more frequent and his gait became more constrained, and therefore he was recommended to undergo additional examination.
During the physical examination, Biden underwent a colonoscopy and removed a three-millimeter polyp found in one of the intestinal sections. For the period of the operation, while the president was under anesthesia, his powers were transferred to Kamala Harris in accordance with the 25th amendment to the constitution. For 1 hour and 25 minutes, the first African-American woman to become US Vice President last year acted as head of state.
On the bench
Earlier, the 25th Amendment, concerning the transfer of presidential powers, adopted in 1967 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, was used only twice. In 2002 and 2007, George W. Bush did it in a similar situation to that of Biden.
At the same time, Harris is not the first woman in American history to take on presidential duties. In 1919, when the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, suffered a severe stroke and was temporarily incapacitated, Vice President Thomas Marshall refused to take the reins into his own hands, and First Lady Edith Wilson had to do it. During her husband’s illness, she ruled the White House, and then became the personal secretary and closest adviser to the president, although she did not make any important political decisions on her own.
According to The New York Times, there is no consensus in the Democratic Party leadership on who could be an alternative to Biden if he does not run for a second term.
The lists of potential candidates that have already been drawn up by American newspapers and television companies include many familiar faces, including those who fought the current president during the 2020 primaries.
Among them are Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Senators Elizabeth Warren (from Massachusetts) and Amy Klobuchar (from Minnesota).
There are only a dozen names, to which others are likely to be added, so the Democratic camp can be crowded in the primary elections. Senator Richard Blumenthal (from Connecticut) thinks there is a chance to see “the fight without rules like in the good old days” again.
In the first place in all these lists, by definition, is the name of Kamala Harris. However, if Biden refuses to fight for an extension of her mandate for another four years, she is not at all guaranteed to be nominated as a candidate from the Democratic Party in the 2024 elections.
Over the past year, she has failed to impress her as a strong leader, her personal rating is even lower than that of the president, and in the past couple of months there has been talk that the White House does not trust her and does not want to entrust serious matters. If this continues, then the time allotted to her for performing the duties of the head of state may forever remain the same – 1 hour 25 minutes.
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