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Let’s Get Real About Joe Biden and 2024

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Despite Biden’s assurances that he plans to run for reelection in 2024, his advanced age, diminished mental acuity, and tanking approval have given us more than enough reasons to doubt that he will.

Longtime Biden confidant Chris Dodd, the former senator from Connecticut, contributed to those doubts when he suggested to the New York Times that Biden’s reelection plans weren’t a sure thing, and the Kamala Harris was a likely successor.

“I’m hoping the president runs for reelection,” Dodd said. “But for whatever reason that might not be the case, it’s hard to believe there would be a shortlist without Kamala’s name on it. She’s the vice president of the United States.”

But, even as Joe Biden’s 2024 intentions were suddenly in doubt, reports of friction between him and Kamala Harris added to the speculation.

“Many in the vice president’s circle fume that she’s not being adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined,” CNN reported last week. “The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she’s able to do politically. And those around her remain wary of even hinting at future political ambitions, with Biden’s team highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president.”

Kamala has personally denied being unhappy, of course, but such denials are expected. However, the most telling thing that happened was when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the rumors of Harris being unhappy and appeared to cast doubt on Biden’s plans to run for reelection when she didn’t contradict a hypothetical question about Biden not running in 2024.

“There are a few reports from over the weekend that the Vice President is unhappy,” a reporter asked. “Can she expect the President’s automatic endorsement if she decides to run herself in either 2024 or 2028?”

Psaki insisted that Harris has the faith and confidence of Joe Biden, but then said, “I don’t have any predictions of whether she will run, when she will run; I will leave that to her. But I can tell you that there’s been a lot of reports out there, and they don’t reflect his view or our experience with the Vice President.”

I thought it was a stunning omission to not reassert Biden’s intentions to seek reelection, and Democrats appear to be panicking. Biden and his inner circle are now scrambling to make it clear to their allies that he still plans to run for reelection in 2024.

Related: Low and Slow Joe

“The only thing I’ve heard him say is he’s planning on running again,” Chris Dodd told the Washington Post, apparently backtracking his previous comments to the New York Times. “And I’m glad he is.”

Biden’s victory in the Democratic primaries in 2020 was based on his perceived electability. Despite his utter incompetence and poor approval ratings, many in the party likely still him as their best chance to hold onto the White House, especially if Donald Trump runs in 2024 — which it appears he will.

But, not everyone is convinced Biden will run.

“Some Democrats take a skeptical view of any public and private signals Biden and his team send about reelection, reasoning that there is an incentive for them to project interest in a second term, regardless of his true intent, to avoid weakening his standing,” the Washington Post explains.

One Democrat involved in his campaign told the Post that they couldn’t think of anyone they had spoken to recently who believes Biden will actually run for reelection. Another Democrat involved in several presidential campaigns said that there’s a lot of doubt about whether Biden will seek reelection. “No one ever asked that question about Barack Obama. No one ever asked that question about Donald Trump.”

Biden and his people are right to say that he has every intention of running, but that doesn’t change the reality that the writing is on the wall, and Biden is most likely not running for reelection.