2024 Democratic Nomination Betting Guide: Is There An Argument Joe Biden Doesn’t Run Again?

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on July 12, 2021
will joe biden run again

Will Joe Biden run again? That’s the primary question when searching for value in 2024 odds for the Democratic Presidential nomination at PredictIt.

In many ways, the more important primary contest in 2024 will not be much of a contest. While it is hard to say right now who will be the 2024 Democratic nominee, that doesn’t mean we’re looking at a 2016 primary. In fact, if the actual Democratic primaries next time are as competitive as 2020, it would be very surprising, and the reason why makes complete sense – this nomination will be won by either Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, and it comes down to whether or not Joe Biden runs again.

Unlike Republican nomination odds, where we started at the top of the odds board, let’s run through some of the less likely candidates on the Democratic side and talk through their prospects, and you’ll see why that claim is true.

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NomineePredictIt PriceEquivalent Odds
Joe Biden$0.44+127
Kamala Harris$0.30+233
Pete Buttigieg$0.06+1567
A. Ocasio-Cortez$0.05+1900
Elizabeth Warren$0.04+2400
Bernie Sanders$0.03+3233
Hillary Clinton$0.02+4900

The Pretenders

Will Joe Biden run again? Let’s assume for a second that Biden does, and then look at this list of names:

  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (6 cents)
  • NY-14 Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (5 cents)
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (4 cents)
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (3 cents)
  • Hillary Clinton (2 cents)

Are any of those going to try and primary a sitting President – especially Sanders, who already had age related questions about his 2020 run, and Buttigieg, who owes his career to Biden naming him to the Cabinet? Of course not.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won’t run because she has a brain, and running a dead end primary challenge to a sitting President doesn’t fit with her desire to actually accomplish things in Congress, as opposed to pointless gestures that please the left commentariat. An unwinnable primary challenge would be just the move she has strenuously avoided in her time in DC, and that fact is clear.

Now, what if Biden, who would be 82 on Inauguration Day 2025, doesn’t run?

Still, none of these people are going to run for President, let alone win a primary. Kamala Harris would clear that field, because she’s the candidate of youth, a Black woman in a party where Black voters make the choice quite often, and, oh, she’s the sitting VP.

Warren and Sanders wouldn’t run against her, having missed their chance in 2020, Hillary isn’t running for office again, AOC won’t run a campaign she can’t win (and she would get crushed if she did run against Harris), and then you hit Pete Buttigieg, which, not happening. Pete and Kamala are close, as evidenced by Harris asking Pete to do spin for her from the VP debate hall in Utah last year. There is no way Pete would risk his career by going too early, especially given the fact that he would be at the front of the queue for Harris’ VP selection, whenever she is the nominee (either 2024 or 2028).

The Contenders

The next Democratic nominee will come from the 2020 ticket, because either Joe Biden runs for President again and easily wins a nomination, or he declines a run and his VP is given the job. Nobody serious is stupid enough to challenge a sitting Vice President with every endorsement lined up from the get go. Would Harris get a challenge? Oh, I’m sure she would, but it will not be credible or concerning to her chances.

If you like Harris (30 cents), your argument starts with the fact that Biden would be 82 when he starts a second term and that Biden’s people considered making a one-term pledge in the 2020 primary cycle, meaning they’ve considered this possibility. Harris being named their VP also suggests they are more acutely aware of the risk that Biden might not be able to see out his term, because he picked a Senator who did little to help his Electoral prospects but who would be a stable ally in governorship, instead of choosing the flashier, more electorally helpful, but also less experienced, choices available to him (Stacey Abrams and Val Demings, come on down).

For what it’s worth, Harris is the favorite to win the 2024 Presidential Election at one of the legal betting markets in England.

That said, all indications so far suggest that Biden (45 cents) will want to run again, which, while it could be spin, makes sense with Biden having spent a majority of his adult life trying to run for President since his first 1988 run flamed out. Biden would rightly see any attempt to push him out as an attack on the man who was necessary to beat Trump in 2020, and who might feel that he is similarly necessary in 2024. Putting aside the merits of that argument, if Biden believes he and he alone can beat Trump (if he runs again), then he will run again.

The risk to all of this is a health scare, and while it is uncomfortable to discuss, it is fundamentally what you’re betting on if you’re betting who the 2024 nominee would be. If Biden is healthy, he’s the nominee. If he isn’t, it’s Kamala Harris. Trying to talk oneself into Pete or AOC or Hillary Clinton is just that – trying to talk yourself into one of those people. I’m sure PredictIt will add more names at some point, and it will be much the same temptation, but either way, it won’t matter.

Final Thoughts

Will Joe Biden run again? How likely is it that Joe doesn’t run? As of right now, I’d say he’s more likely than not to run again, if only because he has been more agile and active than many would have expected.

Far from the hermit Presidency that many suggested would happen, Biden is doing quite a lot of public events, and he looks to be as sharp as ever – and certainly much sharper than he was at the beginning of the 2020 primary campaign.

That said, Harris at 30 cents isn’t a bad price, because she is the only alternative. Barring a major catastrophe for her, some West Wing style scandal that forces her to resign, she will be the nominee if Biden declines to run. If Biden runs, he wins, and if he doesn’t run, Kamala wins. Usually any bet that seems this simple is more complicated, but here it is not.

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