Joe to Barack: Hey, I'm running for President again

Did he tell Barack Obama, or did Joe Biden ask the Easter Bunny for permission? Neither would be a surprise, since Biden has insisted for the last fifteen months that he’s running for a second term, unless “fate” intervenes. “Fate” in this case should be family members or Democratic Party leaders, but thus far no one’s stepping up to either challenge or stop him:

President Biden has told former President Obama that he is planning to run for reelection in 2024, two sources tell The Hill.

The admission to Obama is the latest indication that Biden is likely to run for a second term, something the president has spoken about publicly. …

“[Biden] wants to run and he’s clearly letting everyone know,” said one of the two sources familiar with the conversations between Obama and Biden.

Biden, of course, thinks he’s doing great, a delusion that a midterm disaster probably won’t penetrate. He apparently also suffers from a delusion that only he can beat Donald Trump if his predecessor runs again, when in fact he might be the only Democrat that would lose to him at this point:

The source also said that Biden, despite his faltering approval ratings, remains the most likely Democratic candidate to defeat Trump. This was a key part of Biden’s salesmanship to voters as he sought support for this 2020 bid — and a big reason primary voters rallied to him in South Carolina and “Super Tuesday” states where he sealed his status as the Democratic frontrunner.

“I believe he thinks he’s the only one who can beat Trump. I don’t think he thinks there’s anyone in the Democratic party who can beat Trump and that’s the biggest factor,” the source familiar with the Obama-Biden talks said.

If Democrats fielded a younger, healthier, and more cognitively competent nominee against Trump, they might still win in 2024 with an electorate looking for real change. Or at least a candidate who wasn’t born before rock & roll was invented. That’s something that both parties should consider during their nomination process for the 2024 presidential campaign, but not the only problem with a rematch for either party. Neither the status quo nor the status quo ante will work for voters any longer. After all this corrosive inflation, chaos at home and abroad, and two successive presidencies fouled up by unpopular pandemic policies, voters won’t want a return of either 45 or 46. They will be looking for a fresh start and will reward the party that provides it, especially if the other does not.

If Biden insists and Trump prevails, however, Democrats could end up in a nightmare scenario, Ross Douthat argues, although it’s not his main point. Ross is discussing the oft-floated complaints about the Senate not being representative (which is cover for Democrats’ failing to attract voters outside of their urban/coastal cores), but the stars are aligning in a particular way in 2024:

Republican structural advantages, while real, did not then prevent Democrats from reclaiming the House of Representatives in 2018 and the presidency in 2020 and Senate in 2021. These victories extended the pattern of 21st century American politics, which has featured significant swings every few cycles, not the entrenchment of either party’s power.

The political landscape after 2024, however, might look more like liberalism’s depictions of its Trump-era plight. According to calculations by liberalism’s Cassandra, David Shor, the convergence of an unfavorable Senate map for Democrats with their pre-existing Electoral College and Senate disadvantages could easily produce a scenario where the party wins 50 percent of the congressional popular vote, 51 percent of the presidential vote — and ends up losing the White House and staring down a nearly filibuster-proof Republican advantage in the Senate.

That’s a scenario for liberal horror, but it’s not one that conservatives should welcome either.

That’s a scenario that a Biden run would catalyze, at least from his performance so far. If Donald Trump did end up with the GOP nomination, he’d benefit from Biden’s apparent determination to be the worst president since Jimmy Carter and maybe even since Franklin Pierce, or at least the Gilded Age. That would put Trump atop a Congress that would be nearly unstoppable for two years. And contra Shor, who in fairness is talking about one potential outcome, a Biden run with his current numbers might actually produce popular-vote majorities for Republicans all the way down, even for Trump, wiping out even the legitimacy argument.

Biden will already kill Democrats’ ambitions for 2023 and 2024. Obama and his family had better talk him out of re-election if they want Democrats to have a chance for a rebound after the midterms, and they’d also better start looking past Kamala Harris for a cognitively competent replacement.

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