What if neither of the seemingly likely candidates for 2024 actually run in 2024? Or, to put it even more narrowly, what if neither gets their respective party’s nomination? Biden’s literally the oldest man to ever be elected president. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that he won’t be the Democratic candidate in 2024. Meanwhile Trump is as polarizing and unpredictable as ever. He could lose the primary, or just decide not to run at all. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d say his status being the Republican is far from a safe bet. Can you run for president if you are in prison?
So we have a very real chance of what amounts to a termed out, open season race in what is arguably supposed to be a bid for a second term presidency. That’s actually the first time such a thing has happen in a century. Kinda crazy.
What if Biden Doesn’t Run for President in 2024?
If Biden doesn’t run, Harris will have an opportunity, less strongly than Biden would have as the incumbent, to be the presumptive nominee. That being said, that would require some pretty extensive optics shifts for her to stand a shot. Her favorables have cratered (fair or not is another discussion) but she would be vulnerable to a challenger (or several). In fact, assuming nothing major changes to her image, I’d presume it’d be a factor of someone breaking the dam. Nobody will want to be the first to declare they’re challenging the sitting VP of their own party, but once one does, there are a lot of people who will be happy to follow.
And all to that end, if Biden doesn’t run, I won’t be surprised if there are a lot of close advisors who would discourage Harris from running. An open field gives them more opportunity to capitalize on excitement and again, her favorables are tough and a “hostile” intraparty run will end ugly. If it is a competitive field, I’d expect a slate of folks – how they’ll do and who will win I don’t think anyone could say.
Newsom I think we all expect to. O’Rourke I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries again if he manages to win Texas this cycle. Same with Abrams. Buttigieg, Klobuchar, I can see trying again. I could see Whitmer and Roy Cooper trying. More wild cards but let’s see where Fetterman lands, same with Mark Kelly.
And speaking of Arizona, if she somehow does not get the hint, I wouldn’t expect her to but I won’t be surprised if Sinema at least leaks that she’s considering it. Exploring an exploratory if you will. The reports were that she has genuinely convinced herself that she’s the savior to both sides of the aisle and that delusion is the only explanation I can have for her record. I personally would like to see Duckworth run – she’s charismatic, she’s sharp, and she’s especially hard to attack for not being patriotic or American enough but I doubt she will.
What if Trump Doesn’t Run for President in 2024?
Among the Republicans, I think obviously DeSantis will run. I personally am less a believer in his presumed status if Trump doesn’t run. DeSantis in my opinion is strong now because he goes without scrutiny among conservative circles but once challenged by his own party, I think will fold. He’s not charismatic. He’s not particular sharp nor inspiring. And he’s got nothing new to offer. He takes OAN headlines and turns them into the Bill of the Week in Florida. That’s easy praise now. It’ll be harder to shine when his own are coming for him.
I think it’ll be competitive and crowded if Trump doesn’t run. I’d expect in addition to DeSantis, Haley, Rubio, will all give it another run given the chance I’d expect. Pence and Pompeo I wouldn’t expect but also wouldn’t be surprised if they run. If the tide starts to get bored of Trumpism, they have convenient lanes to play for being both Trumpian while making slightly less extreme supporters more comfortable voting for them.
Though Pence got a larger drop in support re: 6 Jan. I wouldn’t be surprised if they push Tim Scott to run. I’m sure some moderate Republicans and private business heads will run. And I’m sure Cruz and Hawley will try despite everyone’s better judgment.
And then? No and then?
And as a last food for thought… Franken? Yang? Cheney?