President Biden: I'm Begging You—Don't Run in 2024. Our Country Needs You to Stand Down | Opinion

Recent explosive testimony from the January 6 Committee hearings has proven even further what we all already know: Donald Trump must not become president, ever again.

Which means that President Joe Biden must not run again in 2024.

Even as the country navigates the January 6 hearings, the aftermath of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and a wave of controversial Supreme Court decisions including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the basic political environment for the Democratic Party appears largely unchanged. The party seems to be careening toward a disaster in the midterms.

There is one figure in American politics who I think could shift this dynamic: President Biden. He won't do this with more speeches or press conferences or barnstorming the country. President Biden can only save the Democrats—and by extension, the country—by promising that this is his final act. That is, he should announce immediately that he will not seek reelection in 2024. By doing so, I think Biden could change the political environment almost overnight.

Announcing that he won't be running accomplishes two goals. It releases candidates from the anchor he represents, tying them to a deeply unpopular president. And it allows Biden to legitimately point out that since he isn't seeking another term, decisions he makes going forward will in no way be driven by political gain.

Joe Biden
MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 29: US President Joe Biden speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) at the NATO Summit on June 29, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. During the summit in Madrid, NATO leaders will make the historic decision whether to increase the number of high-readiness troops above 300,000 to face the Russian threat. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Moreover, Democrats would gain a much-needed energy boost: They can begin to look forward to a robust campaign to find a suitable nominee for 2024, while relishing the Republicans' self-destruction when they inevitably nominate Trump.

I know the current thinking in Biden-land is that he will run again and is the only one who can beat Trump. But the fallacy of that thinking is painfully obvious. The opposite is the case: Biden will almost certainly lose to Trump.

He will after all be 82 years old, and his age is showing. And every opinion poll shows that he is and in all likelihood will remain much less popular than he was in 2020.

The President's team has an unfortunate penchant for insular Washington-based thinking, and it's undermined whatever goodwill was created by defeating Trump. Their political mishandling of multiple issues has been both shocking and, perhaps more importantly, deeply corrosive of the trust any government needs.

Of course, they are all creatures of Washington. That stood President Biden in good stead for dealing with the Ukraine crisis, but everything else seems out of sync and getting worse. Having to navigate a Republican Congress while seeking re-election will not be pretty.

All that can change if President Biden announces that he is not running. His recognition that America needs a new generation of leaders will resonate with younger voters and give the Democrats a chance to have a nomination contest that is worthwhile. Even that simple recognition will go a long way toward giving people a new reason to consider putting a bit more of their trust in government again. So will Biden's newfound capacity to speak and act as he sees fit, political consequences be damned.

Some in Washington may think that if Biden makes such an announcement, he will immediately be downgraded to "lame duck." But in fact he would be liberated and enjoy at least a momentary surge in popularity and political capital from both his party's base and the larger electorate.

The alternative is far less appealing.

President Biden has an opportunity to pass the torch, not only to a candidate but to a generation. He can move us past the horror of another Trump-Biden race which he could lose. He shouldn't want his legacy to be that his own unwillingness to let go allowed a second Trump Presidency—or worse.

President Biden: For the sake of our party and our country, please don't run again. The time to announce that is now.

Ambassador Allan Katz was President Obama's ambassador to Portugal. He is the founder of American Public Square.

The views in this article are the writer's own.