The Joe Biden Question No One Dares Ask

Joe Biden 2024 Election Politics
February 4, 2024 Topic: Politics Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: U.S. PoliticsPolitics2024 ElectionJoe Biden

The Joe Biden Question No One Dares Ask

What would happen if current U.S. President Joe Biden passed away suddenly? Who would take over the Democratic Party and run against Donald Trump? 

What if Joe Biden just dies one evening?

I have spent months raising questions about President Biden’s physical and mental health, often in pointed ways, sometimes without much tact.

But I’m not the only one.

The question is creeping further and further into the mainstream.

In arguing that the Democrats should primary Biden, Politico's Jack Schafer said in a Fall 2023 op-ed that “primary adversaries would prepare us for the all too real possibility that he’s incapacitated by a stroke, seriously injured in one of his frequent falls or another bike crash, or just dies on evening.”

Clearly, that was then, and Joe Biden has won the South Carolina primary, so that won't happen. 

Joe Biden’s death is entirely plausible

Yes, anyone could just die at any time. Life is fickle.

But President Biden seems especially vulnerable to an imminent death - a sad reality to consider.

The guy is 80, which means he’s lived four years past the US male life expectancy – which of course means that, statistically, Biden was not expected to live as long as he has. And it’s not like Joe Biden is some robust 80-year-old, rock climbing on the weekends, writing novels in his spare time. Biden looks and sounds old. He reportedly takes the weekends off. And the evenings. And a long lunch. And the mornings. He’s working a 35-hour workweek in an effort to preserve his limited strength.

Schafer’s suggestion, that Biden could be seriously injured in one of his frequent falls is completely realistic. Falls are a leading killer of people in Biden’s demographic. Joe Biden has taken a few spills and he’s probably going to take more.

Like the one at the US Air Force Academy commencement. The fall could have happened to anyone, but it happened to Biden and when it did he looked especially old and frail as he struggled on the ground and was finally helped back to his feet.

A primary would sharpen Joe Biden

Schafer argues that Democrats should primary Joe Biden, that a primary would be smart for Biden and good for the party, something that isn't going to happen now. 

“Biden needs a primary opponent who can prepare him for the 2024 general election, somebody who can make him prove that he can still run the traps and beat whichever Republican he faces. If Biden can’t vanquish a worthy Democrat in primary season, he has no business entering the general,” Schafer wrote.

That won’t happen and wasn't ever going to happen. Democrats are still shell-shocked from the primaries of 2008 and 2016, still blaming contested primaries for adversity/failure in the general election. In 2008, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama degraded each other for months before Obama finally advanced to the general.

And in 2016, Bernie Sanders launched a surprisingly resilient insurgency campaign that many blamed for Clinton’s eventual primary loss. So, the Dems were always going to preserve their incumbent from the trials and tribulations of a primary, should his viability be damaged.

But I’m with Schafer on this one. “Nobody is owed another term just because they’re completing their first. You should have to fight for the right to lead your party. And your country.”

Who Could Have Primaried Biden?

Possibilities like California Governor Gavin Newsom or Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg could have been good choices. “Buttigieg could be Biden’s rabbit in the primary, running so hard and so fast that Biden would pick up the pace and show the doubters his own youthful stamina,” Schafer suggests.

But it didn’t have to be some youthful rabbit like Buttigieg. “Even Beto O’Rourke or Amy Klobuchar or Cory Booker or Chris Murphy or Elizabeth Warren would suffice. Just any heavyweight under the age of 75 with the pugilistic skills to put the current champion through a hammering 12 rounds.”

Sounds good to me. But, again, that isn't going to happen now. 

About the Author 

Harrison Kass is the Senior Writer for National Interest and opinion columnist. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.