And in August 2006, Barack Obama was making gushing headlines for his triumphant visit to his father’s ancestral home in Kenya. The New York Times The trip was described in these enthusiastic tones: “If Sen. Barack Obama is ever thinking about running for president, or switching careers to rock star, he got a terrific practice run in Nairobi on Friday.” But the Obama presidency seemed on a distant horizon as the 2008 Democratic race was supposed to be owned by Hillary Clinton.
There is little harm in letting the 2024 Democratic race simmer until next spring. That interval would give Biden the time and space to weigh the risks, both personal and political, of running for a second term at age 80. Ideally, Biden would come to recognize the appeal of leaving office on a high note, especially if Democrats had better prospects in the midterm elections.
If Biden decides not to run, Kamala Harris and her supporters need to understand that no one except a sitting president receives a presidential nomination by acclamation. White male vice presidents (Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Bush in 1988, and Al Gore in 2000) faced vigorous opposition to the nomination. And in 2016, Biden, as vice president in office, didn’t even enter the race because he didn’t see a path to victory. The danger for Democrats is that Harris’s challengers could be unfairly accused of racism and sexism for recklessly even entering the primary.