President Biden Cannot Escape 'Age' Concerns, As Dems Ponder 2024 Election President Joe Biden. (Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 22 June 2022 02:33 PM
Will 79-year-old Joe Biden — already the oldest sitting president in United States history — run for the nation's highest office again in two short years?
That's the million-dollar question for a number of Democratic Party leaders, as they weigh consequences of Biden pursuing a second presidential term in 2024, despite his age, 40-year-inflation highs, sagging job-approval numbers, and the specter of the Republicans controlling the House and/or Senate chambers after the midterm elections in November.
"I think that Joe will run again, and his age will be a legitimate issue for many voters," says entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who competed against Biden in the 2020 race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. "Joe is already the oldest president we've had, even before his potential second term."
David Pepper, the former Ohio Democratic Party chairman, says: "Joe Biden's only a couple of years older than when he won [in 2020]. It's not as if this is breaking news that two years after he won he's two years older than he was."
Pepper added: "This is the man who won the [2020 DNC] primary; he won it decisively, he won the White House decisively, and he's dealing with problems that are enormous, mainly that he inherited. The chatter about his age is not at all helpful when we've got major problems to deal with."
Pepper's tongue-in-cheek comments aside, "age" could be a major factor among voters, moving forward.
A Harvard-Harris survey for June revealed that 62% of respondents believe President Biden is "showing he is too old to be president."
A YouGov and Yahoo poll from earlier this week revealed that 64% of respondents simply don't want Biden making another run for the presidency.
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal's traditionally conservative editorial board followed up with this commentary: "The truth is that the President demonstrated he had lost a verbal, and maybe mental, step in the first Democratic candidate debate in 2019. He hasn't improved."
And, The Atlantic's Mark Leibovich recently launched a piece with a not-so-subtle opener: "Let me put this bluntly: Joe Biden should not run for reelection in 2024. He is too old."
One unnamed Democratic strategist echoed Leibovich's sentiment, by acknowledging to The Hill, "Look, it's a problem. He's f—— old and everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it for fear of offending him or anyone around him."
For one Biden ally, who wasn't identified by The Hill, "It all comes back to endurance and can he handle the job? I still think that the answer is yes. But ask me how I feel a couple of years from now."
Democratic strategist Brad Bannon reasons that "age" should be irrelevant in a discussion on Biden's presidency.
"Presidents should be evaluated on performance, not on age," said Bannon. "He deserves more time to fix the country before he makes a decision on running in 2024. If the situation isn't any better a year from now, then he should seriously consider his plans to run for reelection. Any decision now would be way too premature.”
It remains to be seen if a prominent Democrat would challenge President Biden in the 2024 DNC primary, given the taboo history of such a move — at least in the modern era.
Covering the last 50 years of American politics, only one incumbent U.S. president has faced a serious challenger from inside his own party — 1980, when Ted Kennedy pushed President Jimmy Carter throughout that summer; and yet, Carter still prevailed by more than 2.7 million votes.
Hillary Clinton, the DNC presidential nominee for 2016 (lost to Donald Trump in the general election), has already rejected the notion of running for president in 2024, if Biden opts to pursue it again.
And Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reportedly hasn't ruled out making one more run for the presidency in 2024. At the same time, he'll turn 83 during the 2024 election cycle.