Democrats are already starting to panic about the 2024 presidential election, New York magazine reports.
As well they should be. President Joe Biden's approval rating is in the tank, and his party appears to be on the verge of a crushing defeat in November, when Biden will celebrate his 80th birthday. Democratic leaders and activists are struggling to reconcile the fact that A) Biden is way too old and decrepit to run for president again, and B) He's probably the best candidate they have.
Vice President Kamala Harris is even less popular than Biden and has consistently embarrassed herself in public, raising serious questions about her ability to run a competent campaign at the national level. Nevertheless, she is widely viewed as the frontrunner to win the party's nomination if Biden doesn't seek reelection—a prospect that has some Democrats terrified, and understandably so.
"Biden has to run again, because he desperately has to keep Trump out of the White House and defend our democracy," one Democrat told New York. "And I have no doubts Kamala Harris can't win." If Biden doesn't run, however, the party's obsessive devotion to identity politics would likely preclude most other candidates from challenging a black woman for the nomination.
The president has been relatively clear that he intends to seek reelection. One longtime adviser said of Biden that running for president is "how he stays alive." But he hasn't been entirely clear when it comes to his future plans, suggesting he might not run again if "fate intervenes"—a distinct possibility considering the fact that Biden would be 82 by the time he is sworn in for a second term. He has described himself as "a bridge" to the new generation of Democratic leaders, and a majority of Americans don't expect him to run again, according to a Wall Street Journal poll released in March.
Alas, the next generation of Democratic leaders does not exactly inspire confidence. Pete Buttigieg will never be president. Same goes for Elizabeth Warren, obviously. Harris will never be elected president but would automatically get promoted if Biden croaks. Bernie Sanders will turn 81 in September. Democrats have been floating a number of dubious presidential contenders such as Gov. Phil Murphy (D., N.J.), the former Goldman Sachs executive who barely won reelection in his deep blue state, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D., Ill.), the billionaire hotel-chain scion who is even fatter than Chris Christie.
Democrats, it would appear, are in disarray. Good luck!