J.T. Young writes for the Washington Examiner about potential consequences of the Democratic Party’s approach to this year’s presidential nomination.

President Joe Biden’s free pass to renomination may prove costly to Democrats. In hopes of avoiding Biden unraveling on the primary trail, the Democrats may see him fall apart after he has won the nomination. This will leave them with no easy way to remove Biden, no easy way to replace him if he leaves, and little time to do either. The chaos Biden helped Democrats avoid in 2020 may be unleashed with greater fury in 2024.

If presidents want it, they are almost always renominated and usually have a clear path to getting there. The exceptions are memorable: Sen. Ted Kennedy’s challenge of President Jimmy Carter in 1980 comes to mind. Though Carter survived the challenge, he went on to lose in November.

The natural desire to take the easy way and renominate the incumbent overlooks the purpose of primary elections: They force an incumbent president to give an account of his administration to the party faithful. When President Lyndon B. Johnson realized he couldn’t in 1968, for example, he dropped out. 

For Democrats, Biden certainly has things to account for: His position on the Israel-Hamas war, which is unpopular in leftist circles, springs to mind, but his environmental promises and handling of the border crisis must also be addressed.

Primaries also get a president in shape. General elections are always grueling, and 2024’s could be particularly so. Plus, Biden is not in campaign shape: Remember, he largely avoided campaigning in 2020’s general election, has largely avoided the media during his term, and has had several public episodes that only further heightened this concern — notably the recent report by special counsel Robert Hur and his painful press performance following it.