For now, Biden is emboldened. No prominent Democrat will cross him and he will feel especially motivated if Trump is back on the campaign trail

The Democrats find themselves with a 2024 conundrum. Joe Biden, the party’s standard bearer, is widely disliked. A new poll found that a 64% of Democrats would want a candidate other than Biden to seek the nomination in two years. Rapid inflation has eaten away at the 79-year-old president’s popularity and he is viewed as increasingly out of touch, a vestige of another era that many voters want to leave behind.

At the same time, Biden will easily win a Democratic primary if he runs again. Sitting presidents are rarely forced aside. The top candidates in a hypothetical primary don’t want to take him on – almost all of them ruled out the idea of waging a direct challenge. This is understandable, since no single governor or senator has the ability to defeat Biden, one-on-one. Democrats look warily to examples like Ted Kennedy, who ran a primary against President Jimmy Carter and was soundly beaten. Carter went on to lose the general election, in 1980, to Ronald Reagan.

Ross Barkan is a New York City based journalist

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