Sanders Is Open to Running for President If Biden Doesn’t Seek Reelection

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) may run for president again in 2024 if President Joe Biden doesn’t seek reelection, a newly revealed campaign memo shows.

In a memo circulated among political allies and shared with The Washington Post, Sanders adviser and 2020 campaign manager Faiz Shakir says that, “In the event of an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Sanders has not ruled out another run for president, so we advise that you answer any questions about 2024 with that in mind.”

If Sanders ran again in 2024, it would be his third time running for president. In both of his previous runs, the democratic socialist was beat by a moderate candidate after establishment members of the party banded together to defeat him.

Shakir concludes the memo by encouraging allies to weather and address attacks from opponents. “As campaigning heats up in states across the country, your political opponents and their corporate-aligned allies will try to make you feel defensive about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ support for your candidate,” the memo says. “Our advice is to embrace the attacks.”

The memo also says that, if opponents or members of the media ask allies if they’ll support Sanders if he challenges Biden in 2024, allies should point out that Sanders has been one of Biden’s greatest allies in the Senate.

“As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, no one fought harder for the president’s policy agenda than Bernie,” reads the proposed response. “He traveled to Republican Congressional Districts last summer to promote Build Back Better. Unfortunately, that legislation was stopped by corporate Democrats.”

As Mike Casca, a spokesperson for Sanders, told the Post, Sanders is a popular politician. “While it’s frustrating this private memo leaked to the media, the central fact remains true, which is that Senator Sanders is the most popular officeholder in the country,” Casca said.

Indeed, as YouGov found in recent polling, Sanders is the most popular politician currently in office, with 48 percent of respondents saying that they have a positive view of him. He has a 6-point lead in popularity over Biden, who is the next most popular active politician, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Donald Trump at 38 percent.

Sanders has had a major hand in shaping the current Democratic platform. Measures like Medicare for All, student debt reform and free public college were relatively obscure when he first ran on them in 2016 but now have become part of the mainstream political conversation and are even being adopted in some states.

Biden is likely to run for reelection, however. The president and top advisers have assured allies that he plans on running again in 2024, but with the caveat that he can’t plan for years into the future for certain.

It’s also unlikely that Biden won’t run for reelection just going by historical standards. Only a small handful of presidents have chosen not to run for reelection, and only 10 presidents have lost to another candidate after running for a second term.