2024 If Not Biden, then Who to Beat Trump? Will Age Loom Large? 

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Biden 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, how realistic is Joe Biden as a candidate? The discourse around Biden’s re-election tends to muddle together five distinct subjects. Separately weighing these questions provides us with some pathway of the sort. He may not be an inspiring orator or a compelling public figure, but his composure and determination have been consistently demonstrated.

Biden 2024
Former U.S. President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. [Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Is Biden turning a corner?

Several classified documents, dating back to President Biden’s time as a senator and vice president, were reportedly seized by justice department investigators on Friday from his residence in Wilmington, Delaware, sending shockwaves through Washington and causing some Democrats to fret about Biden’s chances of running in 2024.

Concerns about whether the 80-year-old president should run again have been rekindled by the impending departure of Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain.

However, the discussion around Biden’s re-election mixes up at least five questions. First, they need help getting a straight answer from journalists, pollsters, or pundits. For a clear picture, it’s best to tackle these five subjects one at a time.

But if not Biden, then who? This a sneaky question since other qualified Democrats are unlikely to come forwards as long as Biden contends to be the Democratic nominee. If Biden resigned, they would still have time to run for president.

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were almost unknown in the two years leading up to their presidential election. The Democratic Party will have a tough time gaining traction in 2024 unless Joe Biden declares that he will not run again within the next six months.

Has Biden been effective thus far? Has he done an excellent job? The overall consensus is sure. Democrats had a razor-thin majority against a more fanatical Republican party. Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema put up further barriers, so Obama could not achieve nearly everything he intended while Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

Biden 2024
US president Lyndon B Johnson (1908 – 1973) introduces his pet dog Yuki at a Country Fair on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, DC, September 1967. [Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images]

Despite his missteps in withdrawing from Afghanistan and erroneously holding some classified documents, Biden has made tremendous strides in the economy, climate, infrastructure, and defense of democracy.

He may not be an inspiring orator or a compelling public figure, but his poise and resolve have been consistently demonstrated. He has also crafted competent and committed personnel to run the government.

Should he run for office again; if he wants to? Nearly likely. An incumbent president always has the right to run for a second term unless they commit such awful atrocities during the first term that their party can’t reasonably support their re-election.

No one can say for sure that they will be given the nomination without opposition (see Senators Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy’s attacks on Lyndon B. Johnson and Teddy Kennedy’s bid against Jimmy Carter). But, on the other hand, it’s hard to foresee a credible challenger from the Democratic Party. Instead, it should be an obvious shot for Biden.

US Presidential 2024 election

Given his advanced years, is Biden the best bet to defeat Trump or whoever the Republicans pick as their nominee? This is a very awkward dilemma. According to a New York Times and Siena College poll last year, age was the top reason Democrats didn’t want Biden to run again. So there was an even more emphatic consensus among the younger generation that Biden is too elderly for the job.

Indeed, he has already triumphed over Trump once, which gives hope that he may do so again. And there are several benefits for an incumbent president that do not apply to a challenger.

Nonetheless, Trump will likely frame the election the same way he views everything else: as a contest between strong and weak candidates, and he will use Biden’s age as an advantage (even though Trump is only four years younger). The age factor will become more of a problem if the Republicans nominate a younger candidate.

Biden 2024
Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. [Al Bello/Getty Images]

Can he effectively lead the United States in his mid-80s? Having the benefit of the history of at least four presidents, We can attest that the office of the American president is taxing on the mind and body, even for those in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

By his second term ends, if he is re-elected, Biden will be 86 years old. This is very troubling when contextualizing the age-related degeneration of the human brain and body. This isn’t some “ageist” bias against individuals who have attained such great heights; instead, it’s an embrace of the inevitable decline that comes with reaching one’s mid-80s.

In the coming months, these five subjects will undoubtedly be hotly debated.

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