Biden’s Running. Really.

The President will be the 2024 Democratic nominee. Get used to it.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Cinco De Mayo reception Thursday, May 5, 2022, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)
Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

WSJ (“Biden Advisers Craft Re-Election Plans as President Weighs Final Decision“):

President Biden’s advisers are moving forward with planning for the president’s likely 2024 re-election campaign, with discussions focused less on whether Mr. Biden will seek a second term and more on how a campaign would operate alongside the White House next year.

Mr. Biden’s team has begun to hold preliminary discussions about the structure of the campaign and who could fill key roles, though there is no timeline for hiring, as well as where headquarters would be located. Possibilities include Philadelphia, where the 2020 campaign was based before the Covid-19 pandemic, and the president’s hometown of Wilmington, Del., people close to the discussions said.

The president has previewed a possible re-election message during recent trips to battleground states such as Arizona and Michigan, where he focused on his legislative victories of the past two years, efforts to boost domestic manufacturing, and economic improvement in the wake of the pandemic.

Biden advisers, who declined to discuss details of a potential campaign, said it would be unwise not to have planning under way as Mr. Biden thinks about seeking another term.

Mr. Biden has said that he intends to run but that he hasn’t made a final decision and will consult with family members during the holidays. Democrats’ surprising strength in November’s midterm elections, in which they held off predicted Republican gains in Congress, has helped him consolidate support within the party and silence chatter about potential primary challengers. Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit that he expected Mr. Biden to run again.

Mr. Biden, who turned 80 last month, has struggled with low approval ratings and skepticism from some voters over whether he should run again. The latest Wall Street Journal poll showed that 43% of registered voters had a favorable view of Mr. Biden and 54% had an unfavorable view. His advisers think the midterms showed that the president’s policies—including the recent energy, healthcare and tax bill—and his support for abortion rights as well as speeches arguing that democracy is under threat are popular with voters.

The president has made clear that he is eager for a rematch against former President Donald Trump, who has declared his plans to run again after losing to Mr. Biden in 2020. The WSJ poll showed Mr. Biden with a slight advantage over Mr. Trump, leading 45% to 43% in a hypothetical matchup. Mr. Trump’s early campaign has been rocky, marked by controversies and legal issues.

NBC News (“White House hosts closed-door meetings of Biden political allies“):

The White House held a series of closed-door meetings Thursday, from which Democratic strategists and activists came out with an emphatic message: Go out and sell the president’s record.

In the latest sign that President Joe Biden is preparing to mount a re-election campaign, a battery of senior White House officials delivered presentations on Biden’s tenure and gave briefings on the economy, climate change and the way forward.

Handouts given to the participants at one meeting and reviewed by NBC News included talking points to use when discussing Biden’s time in office and lists of various legislative victories.

“One thing that they did was give a really actionable list of accomplishments and talking points that everyone can go out and really evangelize about what this administration has done over the last two years,” said one person who attended a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s Indian Treaty Room and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private gathering.

There was no explicit mention of Biden’s re-election plans, though he has said he intends to run again and first lady Jill Biden has signaled to supporters that she wants him to do just that.

WaPo (“Biden team planning a dramatically expanded digital strategy for 2024“):

President Biden’s political advisers are preparing a strategy for his likely 2024 reelection campaign that would dramatically expand efforts to organize content-sharing between supporters and their friends on digital platforms, including TikTok and WhatsApp, where political advertising is not allowed, according to people involved in the effort.

The new plans, which build upon lessons from the 2020 campaign, are just one part of an expansive research effort funded by the Democratic National Committee to prepare for Biden’s expected campaign launch next year. Top advisers have been testing ways to reactivate volunteers and donors, and they completed a review this summer of the shifts in how voters consumed political information over the last two years.

The review found phone-based apps and streaming television have grabbed an increasing share of attention from voters, which offer fewer opportunities for direct advertising, according to multiple people involved in the effort, including some who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. Local television news continues to be popular, as does the use of search engines to ferret out political information.

But much of the focus of party strategists has been on groups of voters who are increasingly spending time consuming information in private digital environments, mostly through their phones, or on public platforms where paid political advertising is not available, including chat threads and other smaller communities built around nonpolitical interests, like fitness. Democratic strategists have concluded that in many cases, volunteers can have more impact by creating or distributing content to their digital communities than by spending their time on more traditional canvassing operations.

“The idea is not just to meet people where they are, but it’s to meet people everywhere they are,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, a senior Biden adviser, speaking about the shifting media environment. “And that’s complicated and hard.”

As a result, the Biden team has been reviewing an ongoing series of experiments quietly run by the national party and Democratic senate campaigns involving once-obscure organizing strategies, which became more common in the 2022 midterms. The options include paying social media influencers to produce and share supportive content and encouraging volunteers or paid organizers to directly push messages to targeted voters in their phone contacts. There are also technologies that the party has been reviewing that make it easier for volunteers to share campaign content on their networks.

While he was coy about maybe just serving one term when he ran in 2020, he really hasn’t given us any reason to think he won’t run for re-election. He knows damn well how old he is. But he also thinks he’s uniquely qualified to be President at this perilous juncture in our history.

Would I prefer someone in his mid-50s, which I’ve long thought the sweet spot between youthful energy and sufficient experience and maturity for the job? Absolutely. But sitting Presidents don’t give up the Oval Office if they think they have even a decent chance at a second term.

Further, he thinks Donald Trump is the likely 2024 Republican nominee and he thinks he’s the best chance at defeating him again. WaPo’s Dan Balz thinks he’s right.

President Biden and former president Donald Trump are on a path that could lead to a rematch in 2024 of their 2020 election contest. Some past polls have suggested that such a face-off could be close.

In 2022, however, the competition between the two politicians was anything but close. It was Biden over Trump decisively.


Trump spent the year clinging to the lie that the 2020 election had been stolen and demanding that others in the Republican Party embrace those conspiracy theories. From his outpost at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida, he sought to show that he was the party’s kingmaker, offering endorsements to like-minded politicians. That saddled the Republicans with candidates not ready for general elections. Were it not for that, arguably, Republicans would now have a majority in the Senate rather than a net loss of one seat.

In the spring and summer, Biden made decisions that ultimately paid off. They included the steady pursuit of legislative victories that eventually resulted in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (with only Democratic votes); bipartisan passage of a bill to invigorate domestic semiconductor manufacturing; a measure to care for veterans suffering from the effects of toxic burn pits; and a modest gun safety bill, the first such measure in a decade.

Biden also pursued a messaging strategy designed to brand much of the Republican Party in Trump’s image: the MAGA (Make American Great Again) Republicans, as he called them. With an assist from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Biden sought to make concerns about the state of U.S. democracy part of the midterm dialogue.

Some Democrats wondered whether that tactic was misplaced, given polls showing Americans most worried about inflation and the economy. Biden stuck to it. He said democracy was on the ballot in November, and many voters agreed, to the detriment of the former president and his party.

Trump unwittingly aided the president’s strategy, first by refusing to let go of 2020, and second by becoming the focus of two investigations by the Department of Justice. Both are ongoing.

There’s more but you get the gist.

Again, I’d prefer a younger, more vibrant candidate. Preferably a centrist governor. From both of the major parties. We are, alas, unlikely to get one from the GOP and will almost surely get Biden again from the Dems absent tragedy.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kylopod says:

    At this point, I think the risk of a sudden decline in his health on the campaign trail (which can happen to a candidate of any age) is smaller than the risk of running a non-incumbent. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve hoped he’d run again, despite his not being my ideal candidate.

    Fun fact: Since 1928, only one non-incumbent from the president’s party has won a presidential election–Bush in 1988.

  2. CSK says:

    Dan Balz is right. The best chance of re-election Biden has is running against Trump.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    In my view Biden has conducted a master class in how to turn disadvantages into pluses. Would it be nice if he was twenty years younger? Sure. And I wish everyone would love each other and unicorns would fart rainbows. I’ll take a proven winner with a potential flaw over an unknown.

  4. JKB says:

    We are, alas, unlikely to get one from the GOP and will almost surely get Biden again from the Dems absent tragedy.

    So not putting much hope in the Party functionaries in the DOJ taking out Trump via investigations? What happens the legal crescendo does push Trump out of the race in say January 2024 clearing the field for DeSantis. How might Biden fair in such a match up.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @JKB: Personally I don’t DeSantis will fare well in a general. He’s got a kind of regionally popular personality that doesn’t play well outside the area. He’s kind of like a Christie in that way, albeit for different reasons

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    If inflation is 3 or 4% and employment remains high it will be very hard to beat Biden. If we’re still looking at 9 or 10% inflation, he’ll lose. If anyone can predict the state of the economy say, 18 months from now, let us all know.

    It’s been fun watching you people reduced to desperately hoping we’ll put Trump in jail so you can drop the loser. But there’s no getting the Trump stink off you, if he’s in legal trouble the entire GOP campaign will come down to a ‘free Trump’ obsession. We’ll be talking the economy and you’ll be whining about Trump.

    You sold your shriveled souls to the devil and now you think you can just walk away. Sorry, that’s not how the story goes. You will never get beyond Trump, the NFT pitchman – who by the way, stole the images he used. He’ll drag you all down with him. Boomers die – especially Republicans, thanks to anti-vaxxers – and Gen Z rises. Your place in history is assured, and guess what? Gen-Z will write that history.

  7. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Well I don’t think that was the real problem with Christie. Even before Bridgegate, he had the same problem Romney faced in 2012: the hype surrounding him was based heavily on his popularity in a blue state (which was always more media hype than reality), which was something he almost invariably had to squander in order to be competitive in the increasingly right-wing national party. So he ended up with the worst of both worlds: he was the RINO who embraced Obama during Hurricane Sandy, and he was the bitch-boy to Trump in 2016. That was a square he never could circle.

    It wasn’t so much about regionality as polarization. The media is always attracted to stories of a candidate with appeal outside the standard electoral map for their party, like the way Bill Clinton brought back Arkansas and portions of the rest of the South. The problem is that in many ways that’s an outdated framework. The path of any blue-state Republican or red-state Democrat toward the presidency is almost impossible to navigate today. Even if you make it to the nomination, as Romney and Trump did, you lose any benefit you may have had from being from that state.

    I think Glenn Youngkin has his eyes set on 2024, and that may be a closer analogue to Christie in some ways. So far he’s avoided the RINO label while retaining popularity in Virginia. We’ll see if that’s sustainable. I have my doubts.

    DeSantis is in a fundamentally different category. I don’t actually think he’s a regional phenomenon. He’s carving out a niche for himself at the national level, and the pitch is that he’s Trumpier than Trump. Or, to put it in plain English, he’s the monstrous douchebag Don could only dream of becoming. He’s Trump with results. He doesn’t own the libs, he puts them in death camps. Electoral questions aside, I think he’s a far more dangerous figure than Trump if he were ever to get into national power. But because the establishment GOP is so desperate to get rid of Trump, they’re turning to him, and frankly I don’t think even they have fully grasped what they’re getting themselves into.

  8. DK says:

    The problem for Republicans is DeFescist is an overrated politician high on his own supply, with a ceiling of 269 electoral votes (on a good electoral night for Republicans). His sudden decision to run to Trump’s right indicates his lack of national political savvy.

    Will antivaxxing, permitless open carry, and the 6-week Florida abortion ban he’s now calling for help him win Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and/or North Carolina? Assuming the increasingly extreme DeSantis holds N Carolina and flips Arizona and Georgia, he’d still lose because there’s little chance going full forced birth antivaxxer gun nut will flip those other Biden states.

    That’s probably why Biden is running, as much as I and others don’t want him to. If Trump and DeFascist are the best the GQP has to offer, he has to like his chances. Especially with the power of incumbency.

  9. mattbernius says:


    He’s Trump with results. He doesn’t own the libs, he puts them in death camps. Electoral questions aside, I think he’s a far more dangerous figure than Trump if he were ever to get into national power.

    I think this is a correct take and something that is really concerning.

  10. liberal capitalist says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Wow. That’s quite the “dance on your grave” epitaph.