Joe Biden would be 78 years old when sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021, should he win the presidential election.
President Donald Trump was 70 when he took office, the oldest in history after President Ronald Reagan, who was 69.
Biden’s age was clearly a factor in his choice of a running mate, which is, at least in part, why he picked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is 55. Biden has also said he wanted a running mate who would “be ready to be president on day one.” And there have been reports that he has signaled to aides “that he would serve only a single term.”
Then there was Biden’s oddly worded e-mail to supporters on Tuesday: “I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”
Wait, she’s leading the nation starting January 2021?
So perhaps it’s not surprising that even a CNN editor thinks Biden might not go the distance — and may even “step aside.”
“What Biden did is make the pick that maximized his chances of continuing to make the race a straight referendum on Trump while also selecting someone, in Harris, whose resume suggests will be ready to step in if and when Biden decides to step aside,” wrote editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who pens a daily piece called “The Point.”
Joe Biden made the pick that maximized his chances of continuing to make the race a straight referendum on Trump while also selecting someone whose resume suggests being ready to step in, if and when Biden decides to step aside. | Analysis by @CillizzaCNN https://t.co/Ek4d6sfGfT
— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2020
“This is the VP choice of a confident candidate, and campaign, who believe they are winning. And who believe that, as long they execute the basics of the campaign between now and November 3, Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on January 20, 2021,” Cillizza wrote (never mind that when Sen. John McCain picked a woman as his running mate in 2008 — a sitting governor, no less — the mainstream media portrayed the move as a last-ditch Hail Mary by a losing candidate).
Cillizza’s thought that perhaps Biden will “step aside” is not that unusual — many Americans think so, too.
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it’s likely Biden’s running mate will be president before the end of Biden’s four-year term if he wins this fall, with 39% who say it’s Very Likely,” the pollster wrote on Monday. “Thirty-five percent (35%) consider it unlikely that Biden’s vice presidential choice will be president before his four-year term ends, but that includes only 14% who think it’s Not At All Likely.”
“Even 49% of Democrats think it’s likely Biden’s vice president will become president in the next four years, although that compares to 73% of Republicans and 57% of voters not affiliated with either major party,” the pollster wrote.
The younger the voter, the more convinced they are that Biden is unlikely to finish a four-year term if elected president. But most voters in nearly every demographic category think it’s likely his running mate will become president in the next four years.