President Biden plans to use some time over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to decide whether to run for re-election, surrounding himself with family as he assesses his political future while giving himself a TUSEN early next year to officially announce.
Biden, who just turned 80, remains in the minds of many Democrats the party’s best shot at keeping the White House in 2024. Still, he is considering his next steps at a time when several of the party’s contemporaries have stepped down from top positions to make way for a new generation of leaders.
For Biden, a stronger-than-expected interim result for the Democrats will certainly play a big part in the decision, along with the potential for a rematch against former President Trump. And while the White House has been pushing for months for Biden to run again, the president has left the door open for a final decision to be made after consulting with family over the holidays.
‘He intends to flee. He himself said … that he will have a private conversation with his family,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.
“I’m certainly not going to spell out what that conversation might look like or be like,” she added. “Obviously it’s the president’s prerogative to have that conversation with his family, to make that decision.”
An announcement from Biden in early 2023 would align with new and younger faces taking positions in Democratic leadership. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 82, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 83, said this month they would not run for leadership positions again, paving the way for younger Democrats to the party’s efforts. in a new minority in the House.
Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, said stepping aside from Pelosi and Hoyer as the House passed this month won’t stop Biden from running for another term.
“They are no longer in charge of the House. This was the perfect time for them to step aside. I don’t think there is any correlation between Hoyer’s and Pelosi’s resignations in making decisions for Biden,” he said. “Presidents have almost always sought re-election, regardless of their age.”
For the Democrats, Lichtman said, “The last thing you’d want is for Biden to step down and have a vacant seat.”
There have been eight open seats in presidential elections since 1920, and only once has the party that controls the White House won — in 1988, when then-Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected to replace President Reagan after Reagan’s second term.
“Democrats don’t want an open seat and don’t want a partisan battle for the nomination,” said Lichtman.
The favorite in the race to become the next House Democratic leader is Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. At 52, the New York legislature is significantly younger than the current leadership, though political observers don’t think it would be a problem for the president to work with him.
Jeffries was a prominent campaign surrogate for Biden in the 2020 election, and Biden typically takes on a mentoring role with younger Democrats and works well with them, such as with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, some noted.
Still, Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton, said younger Democratic leaders will amplify conversations about Biden’s age.
“It means his age will get bigger, the contrast with younger Democrats will be greater, all of which will spark conversations about what to do in 2024,” Zelizer said. “That said, he can use the moment to position himself as a voice of experience, wisdom and reason — someone with the best chops to tackle re-election and the challenges of a second term.”
While critics say Biden’s age is increasingly important, the president’s supporters view attacks on him based on his age as unfair.
Democrats are largely in favor of Biden returning to office and see no viable alternative for him, even given his age. And that sentiment was bolstered by the Democrats’ performance in the midterm elections.
Biden also has plenty of prominent contemporaries in politics.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who remains in office, is the same age as Biden at 80. And Trump, who made another bid for the White House this month, is 76.
While many say Trump’s campaign will not play a major role in Biden’s decision to run again, Timothy Naftali, a presidential historian at New York University, argued that part of the reason Biden wants to run is for a second term, is to run against Trump again. .
“Does the country still need him to prevent another Trump presidency? I think that’s why Joe Biden ran, to stop Trump, and I guess if you ask President Biden, besides [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, what are the great concerns he has for our republic, it will be the return of Donald Trump,” he said.
Without Trump running, Biden could be forced to step aside, he added. And he noted that Biden has made significant achievements in just one term, especially through his work to unite global allies during the war in Ukraine.
“If Trump is no longer a major political player in 2024 and Europe is still united in defense of Ukrainian surveillance — and maybe even when the war is over in 2024 — Joe Biden will have accomplished great things,” Naftali said.
However, Lichtman of American University argued that Biden’s performance, on top of the Democrats retaining control of the Senate, makes Biden even more attractive to run for another term.
“Certainly, the appeal of the Joe Biden announcement is bolstered by the better-than-expected performance from the Democrats,” he said. “Joe Biden has come nowhere near taking credit for his administration.”
Amie Parnes contributed to this report.