If Biden runs, he would be the strong favorite to be the Democratic nominee and almost certainly wouldn’t face a serious primary fight. If Biden doesn’t run, however, then there would be a massive free-for-all with no clear frontrunner.
9. Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator has two things going for him: a liberal record in the Senate and natural charisma. The problem? He had both of those things on his side in the 2020 presidential primary and never emerged as a factor. (Previous ranking: 8)
5. Elizabeth Warren: When asked about 2024, Warren has said a) she expects Biden to run again and b) she is running for reelection to her Senate seat. But in the event of Biden deciding not to seek a second term, it’s hard to see the Massachusetts senator taking a pass on another national bid. And she would be well positioned to run. The niche she carved out in 2020 — as a policy-driven candidate with a detailed set of proposals for every problem that faces the country — could be appealing to Democrats in search of what’s next post-Biden. (Previous ranking: 6)
3. Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg’s successful run as Biden’s Transportation secretary almost came crashing down last week as a railroad strike looked like a certainty. But with an intervention from the President, the strike was averted and Buttigieg’s reputation stayed intact. There’s no question that Buttigieg is a generational talent, politically speaking. So, why is he not ranked higher? He still must demonstrate an ability to appeal to non-White voters, which he struggled mightily to do in 2020. (Previous ranking: 4)
2. Kamala Harris: There’s been very little news coming out of the vice president’s office of late, which is a good thing for her and her future political prospects. It seemed for a while there that Harris was constantly in the news for a senior staffer leaving or some other unrest in her office. While her vice presidency has been somewhat rocky, Harris would be first among equals if Biden declines to run again. Harris remains well-liked among Black voters who, as Biden’s nomination in 2020 made clear, play an outsized role in choosing the party’s standard-bearer. (Previous ranking: 2)
1. Joe Biden: I think the President remains genuinely undecided about whether or not to run again. His team is putting the pieces in place so that if he decides to run they can be sure he isn’t starting behind. But Biden is notorious for taking a loooooong time to make up his mind on even small decisions. And this is no small decision. How long after the midterm elections can Biden reasonably wait to make his intentions known? (Previous ranking: 1)