There are two things that are beyond question:
One: Biden ran for president at his age and health because he knew (and he was correct, given the numbers and how close the election was in critical states) that he was likely the only Democrat who could appeal to enough working-class white Americans to beat Trump. Call it a sense of duty. Biden is the one man in America who might have preferred to enjoy his grandkids and time to soak up the best of the world with his beyond-wonderful wife. But he had a duty, dump Trump.
Two: No matter what Biden’s original plan may have been, no matter what his plans might be now, at no point, ever, was Biden ever going to say that he was doing anything but running for a second term until after the mid-terms. If at any point he even hinted at being a one-term president, he would’ve been a lame duck from the very beginning. He is too smart.
Now we go to what we can’t know. We can’t know what he planned or what he will plan. We can only guess by what we see. What we see is a man who is 79 and yet in incredible shape, is as sharp cognitively as anyone can be at that age, a man who – after getting a huge part of his legislation through – hasn’t heard near as much of that “senile Biden” stuff on Fox, having out-foxed the GOP. And he says that as of right now, he’s running. Given his health and his “watch me” comments on 60 Minutes, it’s best to believe him.
But if Biden declares that his mission is accomplished, Gavin Newsom has already made up his mind, according to The Wrap :
California Governor Gavin Newsom is “undeniably, unequivocally” planning to run for president in 2024 if President Biden chooses not to seek a second term, two individuals with knowledge of Newsom’s plans told TheWrap. “After this midterm election is over, he absolutely is going to announce that he is running for the presidency once Biden announces that he is not running,” a leading California fundraiser with close ties to the Newsom family told TheWrap. “No ifs, ands or buts. He will run if Biden does not.”
This is not a surprise to anyone but do note that the assurance comes from a fundraiser. Just like Biden wouldn’t say anything to the contrary prior to the mid-terms, a fundraiser is only ever going to promise people that someone “is” running.
Given that some people doubt that either Trump or Biden will run – some – it sets up a race where Newsom could face DeSantis in an election between what many would see as two extremes. This, even though Newsom isn’t that extreme. It would open up a middle lane for a less-well-known Democrat. And, even more, interestingly, Liz Cheney could run as an independent with the idea of simply preventing any MAGA, Trump or DeSantis, from winning. She could slice 10% of the Republican vote from the Republicans. More than enough to ensure a Democratic victory. Who wins now, Trump?
[email protected], @JasonMiciak, with Nicole Hickman