Don’t run, Joe

Teetering on the brink of failure, President Joe Biden may be approaching even rockier roads this November, as congressional midterms threaten to upend what’s left of his modest, moderate agenda and his approval ratings hit an all-time low.

Facing increasingly worse Republican obstruction and the frightful resurrection of Donald Trump and other right-wing GOP candidates, Biden can best serve his country and its future by announcing soon that he’ll step aside in 2024 — a move that could help Democrats in the midterms.


This isn’t about Biden’s near-octogenarian age or his grimly low popularity, reasons most pundits and Washington insiders give for Biden not to run. Instead, crucially, Biden lacks the bold leadership necessary to tackle America’s urgent needs and prevent another authoritarian Republican takeover.

On profoundly pressing crises such as climate change, reproductive health care, economic inequality, voting rights, gun control and more, Biden has been unable to inspire the nation or overcome the legislative stalemate enforced by Republicans (and two conservative Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona).

To enshrine these vital protections for the American people into federal law — and avoid a repeat of 2016 in 2024 — Biden should clear the path for a viable and inspiring progressive to run and win. The sooner Biden opts out, the sooner those promising alternatives can rise up.

Even with Democratic congressional majorities (with Vice President Kamala Harris as the Senate tiebreaker), Biden has failed to deliver on essentials such as a higher minimum wage (still stuck at a miserly $7.25 per hour), serious climate action (remember the Green New Deal?), abortion rights, an assault weapons ban and much more. Build Back Better? Gone.

On July 11, RootsAction — a progressive advocacy group with 1.2 million online supporters that I occasionally work with — emerged as the first national organization to urge, “Don’t Run Joe!” Confronting “the dual imperatives of preventing a Republican takeover of the White House and advancing a truly progressive agenda” in 2024, RootsAction said that renominating Biden “would be a tragic mistake.”

As RootsAction co-founder Jeff Cohen explains, “the current debate over whether Biden should run again focuses too narrowly on his age and the latest polls. It’s his performance — his inability to fight for working people and stand up against Republican and corporate obstruction — that has us worried about 2024.”

Pia Gallegos, who chairs the RootsAction board, argues: “We need a president with the vision, courage and power to achieve voting rights, a rapid transition to renewable energy, universal health care, access to abortion in all states, and controls on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

Beyond these broadly popular needs, Biden is floundering in purely electoral terms. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats say they want a new nominee in 2024. A whopping 94% of Democrats under age 30 don’t want Biden as the nominee. Yet, Biden insists he’s running. So does Donald Trump, who looms as a prodigious threat even after avalanches of evidence — thanks to the Jan. 6 committee — of his treasonous and potentially unlawful deeds.

America cannot afford another four years of authoritarian mayhem and vicious white nationalism under Trump or another right-wing Republican; nor can we afford another four years of Joe Biden’s meager, woefully inadequate reforms that uphold the corporate status quo.

Biden is fond of declaring his love for America. The best way he can show the nation how much he cares is by refusing to run in 2024. Clear the path for a new voice, a bold new vision, a new nominee. Don’t run, Joe.

Christopher D. Cook is an award-winning journalist and author. Contact him via

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