WaPo Columnist Makes Plea for Biden, Harris Not to Run Again: 'Painful to Say'


President Joe Biden appears to be charging full speed ahead toward the 2024 Democratic nomination.

Yet polls show a majority of Americans and even a majority of Democrats think he is too old to run again. Right now — although it is very early — it appears the election could be very close.

And on Tuesday, columnist David Ignatius argued in The Washington Post Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should decline to run again.

“Biden has had a remarkable string of wins. He defeated President Donald Trump in the 2020 election; he led a Democratic rebuff of Trump’s acolytes in the 2022 midterms; his Justice Department has systematically prosecuted the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that Trump championed and, now, through special counsel Jack Smith, the department is bringing Trump himself to justice,” Ignatius wrote to open his column.

He stated what he admires most about Biden is his ability to govern “from the center out” and with an “unexpectedly steady hand.” He also touted the president’s handling of foreign policy, specifically the United States’ support of Ukraine.

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However, Ignatius wrote, “But I don’t think Biden and Vice President Harris should run for reelection. It’s painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished. But if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump.”

He noted Biden’s age will be a liability for him as well as Harris’ unpopularity as vice president. The columnist then suggested Biden could seek out a more competitive running mate.

Ignatius went on to criticize the president for failing to prevent a series of situations, such as his son Hunter Biden joining the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) trip to Taiwan. The column added, “He certainly should have resisted Hunter’s attempts to impress clients by getting Dad on the phone.”

“Biden has another chance to say no — to himself, this time — by withdrawing from the 2024 race. It might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country,” Ignatius argued.

He noted the time is ticking for Joe Biden to decide not to run again and allow for Democrats to “test themselves in primaries and see whether they have the stuff of presidential leadership.”

“Right now, there’s no clear alternative to Biden — no screamingly obvious replacement waiting in the wings. That might be the decider for Biden, that there’s seemingly nobody else. But maybe he will trust in democracy to discover new leadership,” Ignatius wrote.

Finally, he suggested, “I hope Biden has this conversation with himself about whether to run, and that he levels with the country about it. It would focus the 2024 campaign. Who is the best person to stop Trump? That was the question when Biden decided to run in 2019, and it’s still the essential test of a Democratic nominee today.”

Well, that’s all fine and good. But it’s a little late, especially in light of Republicans’ impeachment inquiry, which could lead Democrats and independents to rally around Biden due to a perception of a political persecution.

Perhaps there is some Democrat who can capture the nation’s attention and approval.

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Still, the odds of a Democratic candidate who can win the general election being able to set up a campaign, catch fire to lock down the nomination, and rake in donations after the party’s two national leaders step aside at this point seems quite small.

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