Can Joe Biden Run For President In 2024 If He Loses To Donald Trump?

If Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden beats President Donald J. Trump in the US election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, he will be the oldest person to ever be inaugurated when he takes control of the White House in January 2021. Biden is currently 77, and his birthday is November 20, meaning he will already be 78 when he takes office.

Biden's advanced age has been a visible aspect of many political commentators' assessments of his campaign and his chance of winning the top job. Indeed, it has also featured prominently in many of the attacks he has received in the press and in social media posts from President Trump, who has questioned the challenger's mental agility, attacks that Biden has robustly rebuffed. "I think it's a legitimate question to ask anybody over 70 years old whether or not they're fit and whether they're ready. But I just, only thing I can say to the American people, it's a legitimate question to ask anybody. Watch me," Biden told ABC

Biden has been an active figure in US politics for nearly 50 years, after being elected to the Senate in 1973, according to History. But at this crucial win-or-lose juncture, two questions hang over Biden's future: First, would Biden run once again if he fails to unseat Donald Trump in November? And second, how long will he aim to serve as president if he wins?

Can Joe Biden run again in 2024?

Let's put one question to bed early: there is no law or political rule that says Joe Biden is unable to run for president once again in 2024. While many are seeing a run for a second non-consecutive term as a potential avenue of opportunity for Trump in 2024 if he fails to retain the presidency this year, the fact is that another campaign in four years remains a possibility for Biden to belatedly find his way into the Oval Office if his attempt at the top job were to fail in 2020.

Trump himself famously ran for president — and failed — all the way back in 2000, and, according to Ballotpedia, since 1987, he has changed his party allegiance five times before gaining the Republican Party nomination in 2016. The Democratic senator Bernie Sanders is another high-profile politician who has run multiple presidential campaigns, doing so in both 2016 and 2020, but Sanders failed to gain his party's nomination.

And though Biden's age may raise practical concerns about his ability to run in 2024, according to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, he would still, in his 80s, well be in his rights to do so. According to History, a "generational smear" concerning the intelligence of youthful candidates meant that a lower age limit of 35 has been imposed on the office of president, and remains there to this day. However, there is no upper limit to the age a president can be.

Joe Biden: A one-term president?

Moreso than the question of whether Joe Biden would aim for the presidency again if he should lose in 2020, is that of his potential longevity were he to win.

Back in 2019, Politico reported that Biden had signaled to his aides and Democratic allies that, were he to win the election, he would intend to serve only a single term in office. For many, it is obvious that serving a second term at the age of 82 — and potentially ending it at the age of 86 — would be beyond the reach of even the fittest and most mentally acute politicians. Instead, word spread that Biden was promoting himself to Democrats as a "transitional figure," whose long political career and vast experience could help win over undecided voters, "as the candidate best suited to defeat Trump as well as the candidate who can usher into power the party's fresh faces," according to Politico.

However, what may have been said within Biden's closer circle never translated into a full and public one-term pledge. Rather, the Democratic nominee has come to actively endorse the idea of his running for a second term in 2024 — at least, were he to beat President Trump, according to The Guardian

Whether this is true, or, as Politico claims, Biden is "declining to make a promise that he and his advisers fear could turn him into a lame duck and sap him of his political capital," remains to be seen.