President Biden plans to use some time over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to decide whether he wants to run for re-election, surround himself with his family and assess his political future as he sets a deadline for himself early next year to be officially announced.
Biden, who turned 80 years old, is still remembered by many Democrats as the party’s best shot at keeping the White House in 2024. However, he is weighing the next steps at a time when some contemporaries in the party resigned from roles to make room. for a new generation of leaders.
For Biden, a stronger-than-expected midterm result for the Democrats, as well as the possibility of a rematch against former President Trump, will certainly factor heavily into the decision. And while the White House has insisted for months that Biden plans to run again, the president has left the door open to making a final decision after spending time with family over the holidays. .
“He plans to run. He said himself … that he is going to have a private conversation with his family,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.
“I’m certainly not going to outline what that conversation would look like or what it might be,” she said. “That is the prerogative of the President, clearly, to have that conversation with his family, to make that decision.”
An early 2023 announcement by Biden would coincide with new and younger faces taking positions in the Democratic leadership. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 82, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 83, said this month they would not run for leadership again, leaving the young Democrats could lead the party’s efforts. in a new House minority.
Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, said Pelosi and Hoyer won’t step aside when the House voted this month to stop Biden from running for another term.
“They are no longer in charge of the House. This was the perfect moment for them to step aside. I don’t think there’s any correlation between Hoyer and Pelosi coming out of any decision making for Biden,” he said. “The presidents almost always asked to be re-elected regardless of their age.”
As for Democrats, Lichtman said, “The last thing you would want is for Biden to resign and have an open seat.”
Since 1920, there have been eight open seats during a presidential election and the party in control of the White House has won only once — in 1988, when then-Vice President George HW Bush was elected to replace President Reagan after Reagan’s second term.
“Democrats don’t want an open seat and they don’t want a party fighting for the nomination,” Lichtman said.
Speaker Hakeem Jeffries is the favorite in the running to be the next Democratic leader of the House. At 52, the New York lawmaker is much younger than the current leadership, though political observers don’t think it would be a problem for the president to work with him.
Jeffries was a prominent campaign representative for Biden in the 2020 election, and Biden typically takes a mentoring role with younger Democrats and works well with them, such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, some have cited.
Still, Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton, said younger Democratic leaders will add to the conversations about Biden’s age.
“It means that his age will increase, the contrast with the younger Democrats will be more significant, and all of these will fuel the conversations about what he should do in 2024,” Zelizer said. “That said, he can use the moment to position himself as a voice of experience, wisdom and reason — one of the best scholastics to handle re-election and the challenges of a second term.”
While critics say Biden’s age is becoming more important, the president’s supporters consider attacks against him based on his age unfair.
Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of Biden running again, not seeing a good alternative for him even considering his age. And the Democrats’ performance in the midterms added to that sentiment.
Biden still has plenty of prominent people in politics.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who will remain in his role, is the same age as Biden at 80. And Trump, who launched another bid for the White House this month, is 76.
While many say the Trump campaign won’t have a big impact on Biden’s decision to run again, Timothy Naftali, a presidential historian at New York University, argued that part of the reason Biden would want to run for a second term is to fight Trump again. .
“Does the country still need him to prevent another Trump presidency? I think that’s why Joe Biden ran, he was to stop Trump, and I doubt if you ask President Biden, rather than [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, what are his major concerns for our republic, Donald Trump will have it back,” he said.
Without Trump running, Biden could be forced to step aside, he said. And he noted that Biden has made significant achievements during one term, particularly through his work in uniting global allies during the war in Ukraine.
“If Trump is no longer a major political player in 2024 and Europe is still united in defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty – and maybe even if the war is over by 2024 – then Joe Biden will have achieved great things, ” said Naftali.
American University’s Lichtman, however, argued that Biden’s achievements, in addition to the Democrats in control of the Senate, make it even more attractive for Biden to run for another term.
“Certainly, a better-than-expected performance by the Democrats adds to the appeal of Joe Biden’s announcement,” he said. “Joe Biden didn’t get nearly as much credit as he should have for his administration.”
Amie Parnes contributed to this report.