President Joseph Biden was widely thought to announce his intentions to compete for re-election immediately following his State of the Union speech on February 7. More than two weeks later, no such declaration has been made, and a story on Wednesday suggested Biden may not run for president in 2024 after all.
According to four individuals “familiar with the president’s thinking,” preparations to begin his campaign in February have been abandoned.
According to the sources, a final decision has been postponed due to real-world circumstances. Now, they are converging around April.
Politico reported that while nearly everyone in Biden’s orbit believes he will ultimately give the green light, the party has been in a deep freeze due to his indecision. At the same time, some presidential aspirants and scores of major donors strategize and even develop a Plan B while remaining respectful of the 80-year-old president and publicly supporting him.
Biden does not appear to have decided on a re-election bid, which was previously assumed to be a certain conclusion. Politico says people close to the president described his slow-moving way of thinking as “Hamlet on Delaware’s Christina River,” mulling over last campaign details nervously.
“Inertia has set in,” remarked a Biden confidant. It is not the case that he will not run, and it is assumed that he will. But nothing is settled. And nothing will be determined until it is.
If he chooses not to seek re-election in 2024, the president’s uncertainty makes it exceedingly tough for other Democrats to enter the primary battle. That puts significant contributors in doubt as well.
Time is on the Democrats’ side, according to Politico, because they surpassed expectations in the November midterm elections and perceive “no genuine primary competition.”
The source also suggested that Biden’s team may postpone the decision to avoid having to declare a less-than-robust fundraising total for a nearly-completed first quarter.
Yet, Biden’s aides have started assembling a campaign team and have partnered with Future Forward, which has already broadcast several TV ads promoting the president’s plan. Three people who know the matter told Politico that the president has sparingly discussed a hypothetical campaign and spends little time addressing the race.
Speculation exists that the ongoing investigations against his son, Hunter Biden, and the special counsel inquiry into his mishandling of secret data may be giving him pause. Biden’s decision not to run again would constitute a political earthquake among Democrats not seen in over half a century. In 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson announced his resignation, citing deepening ‘divisions in the American house now.’ Democrats experienced a similar tremor then.
It would also elevate Kamala Harris to prominence. According to the publication, the vice president’s uneven performances have prompted misgivings among fellow Democrats over her capacity to win — either the primary, the general election, or both.
Democratic strategist Mark Longabaugh told Politico, “Clearly if he waits and waits and waits, it creates concerns and issues. Longabaugh believes the president will ultimately decide to run for a second term.
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