Oval Offense: Biden/Harris should not seek reelection

A Biden-Harris ticket in 2024 could make way for a Republican administration.


Courtesy of Getty

Biden is now tasked with nominating a justice that will impact the court for years to come.

Robbie Santos, Staff Columnist

Just over a year ago, Joe Biden took the oath of office with his right hand upon his family’s Bible. After taking this action, he inherited the responsibilities assigned to the president of the United States. 

Looking back at the past 12 months, one would be hard-pressed to say that this has been anything but a difficult year – one filled with Congressional failures and halted initiatives. Unfortunately for the Oval Office’s occupant, the future does not seem to be glittering with successes either. The same challenges that impeded Biden’s agenda in 2021 will remain in place this upcoming year, especially with the 2022 midterm elections looming. These failures have undoubtedly left Democrats with a bitter taste in their mouths. But what’s worse is that just a year into President Biden’s first term, the conversation regarding the next election has already begun. Democrats need to face the reality that although Biden is working hard, he is not the solution. 

When people are going to vote, they don’t tend to think about the Congressional complexities that help to shape the situation. They likely won’t remember the attempts made by the White House to reach a compromise or to work out deals. Instead, many voters will ask what each party has done for them lately.

Considering the media dialogue surrounding Joe Biden’s presidency, it certainly seems like this administration is a sinking ship. For Democrats still on board, the future seems grim. To have a shot in the next presidential election, Democrats will need to realize this and find their way onto a lifeboat. Biden’s freshman year failures were not growing pains, but instead were the result of a polarized Congress, a reeling nation and a democracy stumbling on loose ground. With each successive failure to make progress on Biden’s agenda, Democrats grimace and Republicans exult. For Republicans, the past year has been one of surprising delight. They thwarted Democratic efforts at every turn, and in doing so, have managed to present the Democratic Party as one that is struggling to stay intact. In professional politics, there’s no better time to do this than during an election year. 

One might argue that the failures of President Biden can be largely attributed to the obstinance of some key members in Congress, perhaps most notably Senators Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin. That argument might be true, but the fact remains that the American people want someone who can get the job done, and when faced with the choice between the familiar but disappointing and the unknown but promising, Americans will opt for a murky hope. 

For the sake of the Democratic effort in 2024, Biden and Harris need to step aside and let someone else carry the torch. At the present moment, it certainly seems like Democrats are headed towards a difficult showing in the midterm elections. Even when a president is able to achieve some of their policy goals, if the occupying party of the White House has power in Congress, the American people will frequently opt to vote for the other party. When a president fails the way Biden has, voters perceive the White House’s failures as failures of their party. Thus, the 2022 midterms will likely end Democratic control of Congress. With 34 seats up for grabs in the Senate, it is possible — if not probable — that the Democrats’ razor-thin margin will disappear. Democrats could lose their majority in the House of Representatives as well. In one night, the Democratic Party could go from controlling the House, Senate and the White House to simply presiding over the White House. If such a situation comes to fruition, Biden could wave goodbye to any possible major accomplishments. If he struggles to get most of his agenda through with control of Congress, he likely won’t have any luck with Republicans back in control. People at the polls in 2024 won’t look back fondly at this administration at this current pace.

When people are going to vote, they don’t tend to think about the Congressional complexities that help to shape the situation. They likely won’t remember the attempts made by the White House to reach a compromise or to work out deals. Instead, many voters will ask what each party has done for them lately.

Maybe in 2024, the Democratic party will be able to campaign once again on a platform of admonishing “Trumpism” and claiming to be the rational alternative, but for now, the future is still bleak. There will be many that will always vote along party lines, and whoever the nominee is for either major party will receive tens of millions of votes, but close elections almost never come down to the safe votes. Toss-up elections come down to the independents, to the undecided voters and to whichever party is able to register more voters. As hard as Biden and Harris may work for the next two years, it feels unlikely that they’ll be able to light a fire under the Democrats. For this reason, Democrats need to look beyond Pennsylvania Avenue for their nominee. 

The next logical candidate would naturally be Vice President Kamala Harris. Many people have guessed that her succession of Biden was the ultimate goal, but it is unknown whether they saw this succession happening after a first or second Biden term. Unfortunately, at the moment, Harris wouldn’t fare any better than Biden, as only 38% of Americans view her favorably, per the LA Times. If Biden is the captain of a sinking ship, then Harris is the first mate. Their administration is taking on water, and unless they manage to find their way out of the ocean, she stands with as much of a chance of being elected as that of Washington D.C. becoming a state —that is to say, very small. She’d be judged just as harshly as Biden, seeing as she’s already in the room where the decisions are being made. 

Many people, not just Democrats, fear that Trump will make an attempt for the White House again. Maybe that will motivate a movement behind Biden, seeing as he already beat Trump once. 

To be honest, I don’t know where I really come down on this idea. I decided to write this piece from the perspective I did to explore the idea of abandoning the incumbent president and vice president. It’s certainly a risky play, to say the least. Even after all the thought I have put into it, I’m not entirely sure which course is the best, which is why it’s probably a good thing that I’m not making any big decisions for the DNC. I don’t think that Biden’s failures are necessarily his fault. I think he’s trying to get things done, but this Congress isn’t willing to play the game. As frustrating as it is, realistically, Biden just probably won’t be popular enough when push comes to shove. With the storm of midterms approaching, the Democratic Party’s most sincere hope is that Biden can piece together a strong enough coalition to win the favor of the American people before they go out to cast their ballots in November, and more importantly, before November of 2024.