Biden Will Leave Presidential Race by Primaries Long Time Political Watcher Predicts


Political commentator and Reagan administration alum Hugh Hewitt made a bold prediction Monday that President Joe Biden will bow out of his re-election bid by the primaries next year.

Hewitt sees the race shaping up similarly to the 1968 one when then-President Lyndon Johnson told the nation he would not seek re-election after barely winning the first Democratic primary contest.

In late April of this year, Biden announced he would be seeking a second term, though he is already the oldest person to ever be president at 80 years of age.

He would be 86 at the end of a second term.

By comparison, Ronald Reagan, previously the oldest to serve as president, finished his eight-year stint at the White House at 77.

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Following Biden’s highly-publicized fall at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Thursday, The New York Times ran what amounted to a puff piece over the weekend, acknowledging the president is showing signs of his age, but is still basically fit to hold the office. His aides are quoted as saying he’s mentally as “sharp as a tack.”

But the Times at least acknowledged Biden’s age is a concern for Americans citing a Reuters/Ipsos poll from April showing 73 percent of respondents described the president as too old to be in office.

Fox News host Dana Perino asked Hewitt to respond to the Times’ piece.

“This is The New York Times tip-toeing into what is seen as the major story on the Democratic side,” Hewitt said.

Do you think Biden will drop out of the presidential race?

He went on to argue that two of the four reporters who worked on the lengthy story at least wove in the truth, “The president is infirm.”

Perino responded, “We haven’t been in the position before in this late stage in the game.” She then asked, “Do you think the Democrats try to make a change or just go for it and see what happens?”

“I’m reminded of 1968. Lyndon Johnson was going to run for re-election,” Hewitt answered.

The then-president “went up to New Hampshire. He managed to beat [Sen.] Eugene McCarthy from Minnesota, but he was not able to beat him convincingly and LBJ dropped out,” Hewitt noted.

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Johnson won the March 12, 1968, Democratic primary in the Granite State by six percentage points, 48 to 42, a bad showing for the incumbent president.

Rival Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York then jumped in the race four days later on March 16.

In a sense, history is repeating itself this election season with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running against incumbent Democratic Pres. Biden and already polling respectably at over 20 percent.

On March 31, 1968, Johnson announced in a televised address from the Oval Office, “I shall seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

Hewitt predicted of Biden, “I think you’ll see an exit in the course of the primaries because if I am a [Machiavellian], I don’t want the president dumping out if I’m a Democrat. I don’t want Vice President [Kamala] Harris commanding the field.”

“You do have [California Gov.] Gavin Newsom on the bench and warming up. He’s in the bullpen. Got a couple other Democrats out there,” Hewitt added.

Looking back again at 1968, what if Johnson had won the Democratic nomination? Could he have beaten the Republican nominee Richard Nixon? His approval rating, according to Gallup was slightly underwater in November of that year, 43 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

Of course that was up from a 36 percent approval rating in March just prior to him announcing he would not seek another term. So perhaps he was already benefiting from the uptick in approval former presidents usually enjoy after leaving office.

Nixon won the ’68 race somewhat handily over Johnson’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey, 301 to 191 in the Electoral College with third-party candidate Alabama Gov. George Wallace picking up 46 votes.

Had Johnson run and won he would have barely lived long enough to complete his second term, dying Jan. 22, 1973, incidentally the same day the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision.

However, Johnson had a history of heart disease and suffered a heart attack in 1972. He spent the last seven months of his life struggling with the effects from it.

No one can say if the rigors of being president would have resulted in him dying while in office or if still being in power would have been an elixir for him.

Biden has some health issues, according to the Times, including taking medicine for atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), cholesterol and asthma. Not as serious as Johnson, but worth noting.

Biden, like Johnson, is underwater with his approval rating, 41.4 percent approve, 55.6 percent disapprove, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

No one would fault Biden if he should not seek a second term, given his age.

It will be interesting to see if Hewitt’s prediction comes true.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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