Who Will We Really Be Voting For in 2024 if Biden Runs?

Key turning points in American history have taken place when the then-vice president of the United States has suddenly found himself as the nation’s chief executive.

In most instances, fate has shined upon our nation as the vice president was proven to be a person of integrity, strength, vision, and patriotic substance. Think of Theodore Roosevelt who, at the age of 42, was administered the oath of office in 1901, upon the murder of President William McKinley in Buffalo. Roosevelt had been vice president for less than 200 days when he found himself thrust into the most powerful office in the country. He never looked back, confronting monopolies that threatened open markets here in the United States while projecting our influence overseas. He literally changed our understanding of the presidency.

When Harry Truman was nominated to be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vice president, many in Washington knew that it was unlikely that a war-weary FDR could live out the term. Truman was perceived as a colorless but efficient Senator from Missouri, best known for his committee that revealed waste and corruption by some defense companies during World War II. FDR had kept him at arm’s length after their election and it was only upon Roosevelt’s death that the vice president learned of the existence of the atom bomb.

It would be Truman’s decision to use this devastating weapon, and then create a strategy to guide the United States during the perilous early years of the Cold War. This was a vice president that history reveals as one of our nation’s best chief executives.

It has not always worked out that way. Upon the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson took the reins of a nation just beginning to bind its wounds from a bloody Civil War.

Elizabeth R. Varon, a professor of History at the University of Virginia, has written:

“Because of his gross incompetence in federal office and his incredible miscalculation of the extent of public support for his policies, Johnson is judged as a great failure in making a satisfying and just peace. He is viewed to have been a rigid, dictatorial racist who was unable to compromise or to accept a political reality at odds with his own ideas…. In the end, Johnson did more to extend the period of national strife than he did to heal the wounds of war.”

If President Joe Biden runs for reelection, today’s electorate will have to consider his age, his health, his performance in office, the likelihood of him finishing a punishing four-year term and who is “down the hall” in the Office of the Vice President. Will the Democratic Convention nominate his current vice president or will they select another individual who the delegates believe will align more closely with the majority of voters wary about Biden’s ability to fill out a full term.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans have already focused on this potential tipping point. Nikki Haley, who is competing for the nomination as Republican presidential candidate, has said:

“I think that we can all be very clear… that if you vote for Joe Biden you really are counting on a President Harris because the idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely.”

One could argue that it’s not Biden’s age but the state of his cognitive ability. Calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” however true, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to China for the specific purpose of lessening tensions between the superpowers, no doubt raised questions about Biden in capitals around the world and among Democratic leaders here at home.

Biden’s actions, and the political ideology of his vice president, may well determine how our nation’s future will unfold. This much is clear. Our nation’s history has taught us that Americans will need to seriously consider not just who is running for president but who is running for vice president when they go the polls next year.


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