President Biden became the oldest serving president on Sunday when he turned 80 — a feat that has some wondering if the octogenarian commander-in-chief should seek re-election in 2024.
While Biden has publicly expressed his ambitions to run for a second term, at least one Democratic strategist said the president should make good on his promise to be a bridge to the next generation of center-left leaders.
“The best thing would be for President Biden to call it a day sooner rather than later so that we can be the party of the next generation–not the expiring generation,” said Colin Strother, a Democratic political strategist. “[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi is gone, Mitch McConnell has established he’s way behind the times, and there are legitimate concerns about someone of the President’s age being able to do this tough job well.”
Here are some of the top options Democrats have if Biden opts to bow out of re-election in 2024:
Vice President Kamala Harris
Harris, as Biden’s second in command, is seen as a logical choice for Democrats. The former California senator, 58, is the first female vice president in the nation’s history. She is also the first African American and first Asian American to hold the role.
During the 2022 midterms, Harris was a top political surrogate for Democrats. She has also represented the White House at various global summits.
Despite the resume, Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign ended before the primaries even took place. Harris is also a polarizing figure for Republicans because of her responsibility in overseeing the surging migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Complicating matters is that Harris’s job approval rating is even lower than Biden’s, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“She would have the burden and blessings of the Biden administration,” said Mike Madrid, a consultant who advises both parties and helped found the Never-Trump Lincoln Project. “But as vice president you get all of the downside without being able to take credit for the accomplishments.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
The transportation secretary was one of the most sought-after surrogates for the national Democratic Party during the recently passed midterms. Buttigieg is also responsible in his official capacity for doling out money from the administration’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
The dual roles have served to raise Buttigieg’s profile after his own 2020 presidential bid fizzled out after winning the Iowa Caucuses. Although Buttigieg has denied talk of another White House run, his political action committee has resurfaced in recent months to endorse candidates for state and federal office this cycle.