Speculation has reportedly increased that President Joe Biden, who will be 82 at the conclusion of the current presidential election cycle, will decide at some point in the near future not to run for reelection.
The title of a recent opinion piece in The Hill by Douglas MacKinnon, who wrote speeches for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, asks, “When is the optimal time for Biden to drop out of the race?”
Joseph Curl of The Daily Wire adds: “Biden’s 80 years old. His proclivity for gaffes (and falling down — or sometimes up, like when he stumbled ascending the stairs of Air Force One) is legendary. The list grows almost daily (on Monday he looked wobbly when meeting King Charles at Buckingham Palace, grabbing his arm for support). Biden rarely holds press conferences, and when he does, it appears as if he has the questions from the press in advance.”
MacKinnon continued by stating that he has heard from “a number of Democrats” who are “nervous” and “uncomfortable” with Biden’s reelection bid, including ardent supporters of the president.
“As stated in this space in the past, I don’t believe Biden will be the Democratic nominee in 2024. Now, while the president, his White House and his allies may predictably denounce such speculation as ridiculous or wishful thinking, what if I and others turn out to be correct?” MacKinnon wrote, adding in his own timeline for when Biden should drop out: “Immediately.”
Lyndon Johnson was the last incumbent president to opt not to compete for reelection. On March 31, 1968, less than six months before Election Day, he decided to withdraw from the presidential race. Robert F. Kennedy, the sibling of former president John F. Kennedy, entered the Democratic primary contest just two weeks prior to his announcement.
Johnson’s approval rating was barely above 38% when he withdrew; Biden’s approval rating is currently hovering around 41% on average.
MacKinnon continued by emphasizing the similarities between LBJ and Biden’s situations.
“One reason for” Johnson dropping out “was a lack of confidence in then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey to retain the White House should he become the Democratic nominee. That concern was of course realized when Humphrey became the nominee and got crushed in the general election by Republican Richard Nixon,” he wrote.
Some Democrats, according to Curl, are concerned that Vice President Kamala Harris will run for president and win. At 39.2 percent, she has a lower approval rating than Biden.
In addition, he claimed that there have been murmurs that Biden has expressed doubts about Harris’ capacity for political conflict. In March, Democratic sources told Reuters News Agency that the president is unhappy with Harris’ performance and is concerned about her ability to defeat a Republican opponent in the forthcoming election.
And there’s another interesting thing going on in the campaign — which is, of course, already well underway. Biden, who literally ran his last campaign from his basement as he hid from COVID-19 (and voters), is barely trying.
Biden’s campaign has so far hired just 20 aides and there’s no official headquarters. The liberal Politico, founded by two former Washington Post reporters, doesn’t think that’s a good sign.
“Biden’s approach, while designed to save money, carries the risk of keeping his approval ratings at the low level where they are today. It also could limit his ability to better define the contours of the campaign at a time when the Republican field is bludgeoning each other in their own primary,” the outlet noted.
Curl believes that Biden will withdraw from the election and that California Governor Gavin Newsom will enter.
“And the reason Biden is running a ‘bargain-basement’ campaign is because he’s not really running. He’s not even shuffling,” Curl wrote.