The Times Are a-Changin: Why Joe Biden Shouldn’t Run in 2024


Times have changed since 2020. Trump is no longer in the White House, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a serious threat to the Democratic Party and Joe Biden is the sole octogenarian to occupy the White House. And yet, Joe won’t go.

Having run on a platform that promised a steady hand from an elder statesman, one would think that Biden could see the writing on the wall and hand power over to a younger generation. However, if there is one thing my politics degree at Bates College has taught me, it is that once a politician has power, they rarely go quietly. 

And from a cursory political perspective, why should Biden step aside? The midterm results were a great success for Democrats, and Biden has passed unprecedented legislation on climate, infrastructure and healthcare

This is based on the assumption that Biden will face Trump again in 2024. In a recent YouGov poll, likely voters had DeSantis and Biden in a virtual tie. Further polling by YouGov has shown that Republican primary voters think DeSantis has a better chance of beating Biden. Polling of Republican party voters has been awry for quite some time now, but this doesn’t change the fact that DeSantis’s platform of anti-critical race theory, pro-family values and laissez-faire economic policy has catapulted similar candidates into office in purple states, such as Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. 

If the threat of new blood in the Republican party isn’t enough, then think about the conditions of the last presidential election. Held during the Covid-19 lockdown and lacking debates, this upcoming debate would be the polar opposite. If there is a chance at all that Biden would have to face fast-talking, highly-educated DeSantis in a debate, it would not end well. 

In many ways the big question isn’t whether or not Biden should run, but how the party would go about finding his replacement. Some say a primary would prove destabilizing, but it would force the party, which according to YouGov is incredibly unsure regarding Biden in 2024, to make a clear and definitive choice. With an abundance of new centrist candidates—Raphael Warnock, Mark Kelly, Gretchen Witmer—this could prove beneficial for a party that has been playing the game of reactive politics since 2016. 

Someone like Warnock, who managed to win purple Georgia on a platform dissimilar to Biden, could lead that charge. Republican candidates have been especially reliant on cultural attacks. As a pastor, and a moderate, Warnock has proven that he is impervious to such threats. Additionally, he isn’t old, and he is well spoken. A primary would elevate these newfound voices

But as Russian writer Anton Chekhov said, “Knowledge is of no power unless it is put into practice.” Democrats know they must start planning for life after Biden. If they don’t start now, they will find the Republican party dictating their path forward. And then, the times really will change.