The whisper campaign against Joe Biden running for a second term got louder in the past few weeks. “Quit, Joe, Quit! Biden could save the midterms with a one-term pledge,” blared an opinion column headline in The Washington Post.

If Biden isn’t running, he’s kept that to himself. That’s because the minute he announces he won’t seek reelection, he becomes a lame duck. And that’s a status no president would willingly embrace, writes political scientist Michael J. Faber of Texas State University.

Lame-duck presidents, Faber explains, don’t get much, if any, cooperation from Congress, while “the press treats lame-duck presidents as old news.”

Biden has a history of defying those who have written his political obituary. He did it in the 2020 presidential primaries, and he’s doing it right now with a string of legislative victories that few would have predicted just a couple of months ago. There’s a reason, Faber writes, that “only three first-term presidents have declined to run for a second term.”

It turns them into losers. And why would Biden want to do that?

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Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address in the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 2022, among many lawmakers who may want his job. Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images

If Biden decides not to run for reelection, he faces a big threat: Being a lame duck

Michael J. Faber, Texas State University

A combination of irrelevancy, powerlessness and derision is in store for a president who chooses not to run for reelection.

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