Feel the Bern, Again? Sensing Weak Biden, Dems May Turn to Octogenarian Socialist for 2024

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden at a 2020 debate / Getty Images
April 20, 2022

Eighty-year-old socialist and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (I.), who is best known for sporting mittens and looking grumpy at President Joe Biden's inauguration, is considering a third run for president in 2024, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

"In the event of an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Sanders has not ruled out another run for president," top Sanders adviser and 2020 campaign manager Faiz Shakir wrote in the memo, which was leaked to the Post.

Shakir's mention of "an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary" implies that top Democratic brass have doubts that Biden, who will turn 82 in 2024, will run for a second term. While a majority of Americans think Biden is "too old" to do his job, the president told his former boss, Barack Obama, that he's running.

Sanders spokesman Mike Casca in a statement to the Post called the leak of the memo "frustrating" but did not deny the memo's contents.

While Casca said Sanders is "the most popular officeholder in the country," Democratic leadership sees the self-professed socialist, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union and supports massive tax increases, universal health care, and the Green New Deal, as a "polarizing figure" who could drag down other candidates, the Post noted.

Sanders is not a member of the Democratic Party but has twice run for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 2016 and 2020. He has gone out of his way to damage some Democrats, including Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), for being too moderate. In February, he endorsed Cuellar's primary opponent Jessica Cisneros.

While Sanders said in 2020 that the odds of him running again for president were "very, very slim," Biden's historically low poll numbers appear to have changed his mind. Only 33 percent of voters approve of Biden's performance, while 54 percent—including a majority of Hispanics and a quarter of blacks—disapprove.

Shakir's memo mentions a number of questions that reporters may ask Sanders allies, including "Will you support Sanders if he challenges Biden in 2024?"

Instead of answering the question, the memo recommends that the senator's allies bemoan "corporate Democrats" and say Sanders is "helping Joe Biden to have a successful presidency."