Joe Biden may regularly forget what state he's in, or what college he went to, or how long Donald Trump has been in office - but don't worry; the man whose finger would be on the button is privately telling people he'd only serve one term.
According to Politico, the 77-year-old Biden has 'quietly' signaled to aides that he would not seek reelection at the end of his first term, according to four people who regularly talk to Biden and spoke on condition of anonymity - calling the prospect of Biden running in 2024 as the first octogenarian president 'virtually inconceivable.'
"If Biden is elected, he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection," said one prominent adviser to the campaign.
The adviser argued that public acknowledgment of that reality could help Biden assuage younger voters, especially on the left, who are unexcited by his candidacy and fear that his nomination would serve as an eight-year roadblock to the next generation of Democrats.
By signaling that he will serve just one term and choosing a running mate and Cabinet that is young and diverse, Biden could offer himself to the Democratic primary electorate as the candidate best suited to defeat Trump as well as the candidate who can usher into power the party’s fresh faces. -Politico
"This makes Biden a good transition figure," said the adviser. "I'd love to have an election this year for the next generation of leaders, but if I have to wait four years [in order to] to get rid of Trump, I'm willing to do it."
Another top Biden adviser said: "He’s going into this thinking, ‘I want to find a running mate I can turn things over to after four years but if that’s not possible or doesn’t happen then I’ll run for re-election.’ But he’s not going to publicly make a one term pledge."
In other words - yes, Biden is visibly senile - but trust four anonymous advisers and Politico that he would only stick around for one term. Anything to get Trump out of the White House.
According to the report, pressure has mounted in recent weeks within elite Democratic circles over Biden's age and whether to address it with a one-term pledge.
Still - not all top Democrats agree. Former Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta called a one-term pledge "a weak play."
"I think who his vice president is will be very important because people will be thinking about that. But I don’t think I would make a one-term pledge. You’ve disempowered yourself as president and I don’t think it helps you as a candidate. It accentuates your weakness. It doesn’t fix it."
Either way, Biden is still the frontrunner as America watches him make weekly gaffes that would disqualify most candidates.
Since Thanksgiving there has been a gradual shift among prominent Democrats once deeply skeptical of Biden’s candidacy. In national polls, Elizabeth Warren, who was on a trajectory to topple Biden, has lost all the gains she achieved since July and fallen to third place. Pete Buttigieg, who has replaced Warren as the hot candidate among white college-educated voters, has shown no evidence that, even as he thrills a subset of the Democratic electorate in Iowa, he can achieve broad appeal among African American and Latino voters. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won 43 percent of the primary vote in 2016, has been unable to break out of the mid-teens for most of this year.
Biden’s base of older working-class white and African American voters has been unassailable. A year of national polling of the Democratic primary shows his remarkably consistent support. According to the Real Clear Politics national polling average on Dec. 8, 2018, Biden had 29 percent support nationally. On Dec. 8, 2019, he had 29 percent support.
The greatest threats to Biden’s African-American base have been neutralized. Sen. Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign. Sen. Cory Booker has struggled to qualify for the PBS News Hour/POLITICO Debate, on Dec. 19. Former Gov. Deval Patrick, a pre-Thanksgiving entrant to the race, has barely been heard from and is polling at less than 1 percent. -Politico
That said, while Biden is enjoying a recent boost, his popularity in New Hampshire and Iowa - key states to gauge sentiment, is 'middling' according to Politico, which suggests that poor showings in both states could upend the race.
Biden has also struggled to raise money compared to his three top opponents, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg. Mike Bloomberg, meanwhile, has bought himself into fifth place with tens of millions of dollars.
"Is 81 years old too old to be president? Yes. Is an eighty-one year-old president standing for reelection likely to be successful? He is not. And is it the right thing to do for the country? No. Biden wouldn’t be running if it were President Jeb Bush or President Marco Rubio. He’s running because it’s an exigent circumstance — Donald Trump. The next president will have to have oppositional virtues to the last president. We have a presidency that is defined by abject selfishness, self-regard and self-interest. So a one-term pledge would be viewed as an act of selflessness, putting the country ahead of any ambition," said one political strategist who spoke recently with one of Biden's closest advisers.
Read the rest of the report here.