By Lily Meckel
AFTER a tight Midterm election night, Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief.
The predicted and much-feared red wave failed to sweep the nation. Instead, the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives with just a slim majority, and the Democrats retained control of the Senate.
These results are causes for celebration for the Democrats. Usually, the incumbent party suffers considerable losses during midterms. With these results, Biden will be able to continue with his policy agenda at least somewhat for the remainder of his term with a Democrat-controlled Senate.
Now that the midterms are over, the next question is that of the upcoming presidential election in 2024. The candidacy announcements often happen around the midterm period, and sure enough, despite not being his official announcement, Biden has stated that he intends to run for a second term.
It is quite common for US presidents to seek a second term. As a matter of fact, such a successful midterm result would even encourage it. After all, the results indicate that Biden isn’t doing too bad of a job – and is at least better than the current GOP leadership.
But, with Trump recently announcing his bid to run again in 2024, there are doubts over whether Biden can hold him back a second time.
Even though the GOP saw losses in the midterms, Trump-backed candidates performed even worse than the party as a whole, and polls demonstrate that despite still having a relatively low approval rating Biden is still more popular than Trump.
But it’s clear that Biden should consider not running again.
For one, his victory in 2020 was a lot about the fact that he was not Donald Trump.
Whilst Biden appealed for being a moderate and reliable candidate, the election heavily centred around the rejection of his divisive opponent.
In 2024, it will be important to go beyond rejecting Trump and instead offer a coherent vision for the future of America.
At 80 years old, Biden is also the oldest sitting president in the US’s history. He will be 82 when the next election comes around and 86 at the end of it. Even though his experience and contributions to American democracy are unquestionable, it is time for a new generation of leadership. Nancy Pelosi also recently stepped down as party leader to hand power over to the next generation, demonstrating the recognition of a necessary generational shift.
Public opinion also suggests that voters – even those who tick blue – aren’t enthusiastic about the prospect. According to polls conducted by Edison Research, two-thirds of midterm voters do not want Biden to run again, 43% of which were Democrats.
Biden has done his part: he saved the US from democratic demise, at least temporarily, by offering a more moderate and stable alternative to the right-wing craze of Donald Trump. In order to sustain the democracy Biden saved, he needs to pass on the baton to the next generation of Democrats to ensure his mission of restoring the soul of America lives on.
With the success of the Democrats having been demonstrated in the midterms, it would be a perfect time for Biden to help encourage finding the next Democratic superstar.
Several potential Democratic presidential candidates are floating around: Pete Buttigieg, Gretchen Whitmer, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Gavin Newsom, and current vice president Kamala Harris, amongst others.
But in order for another candidate to succeed, it would take Biden’s decision to step back and play an active role in finding and promoting the next leaders of the Democratic Party. Being the bridge to the next generation was one of Biden’s election promises after all, and the time has now come to act on it.
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