What if Biden does not run again?


WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday will do much more than shape the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency. They will also help determine whether he will run in 2024 as well, political analysts and advisers believe.

While a new president’s party historically suffers losses in Congress during the midterm election, Biden, 79, faces extra scrutiny.

He and advisers have said as recently as Nov. 2 that he wants to run again, and that they’re already making plans. White House officials expect him to run as well.

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But a wide margin of Democratic losses would be viewed as a rebuke of Biden’s presidency, and increase pressure on him to cede the role to someone else, some Democrats say.

“I think we’re due for a generational shift,” said Thomas Alan Schwartz, a presidential historian at Vanderbilt University. “I think the midterms could be decisive on that level. If the Democrats lose badly, I think you may see a fairly strong push for Biden to take himself out of 2024.”

Biden choosing to step aside, however, raises its own thorny issues:

SO WHO’S THE CANDIDATE?

Vice President Kamala Harris is currently the Democrat’s top alternate candidate, Democratic officials tell Reuters, with the majority of polls showing her second after Biden, and well ahead of most other oft-mentioned names. Michelle Obama, a voter favorite, has shown no intention of jumping into the race, and vice presidents who seek presidential nominations historically win them.

But Harris’s approval ratings, once well over 50%, have languished at or below 40% in most polls. Her poor showing in the 2020 presidential race and lack of standout policy success as vice president have raised doubts she can defeat a Republican opponent.

Harris’s office had no comment.

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