If that. With Joe Biden’s gaffes increasing and poise diminishing, voters might be starting to question his ability to withstand a grueling campaign against Donald Trump, let alone the presidency itself. Even if he manages to cross the finish line in the lead in November, what happens when an 82-year-old Biden has to hit the campaign trail for re-election in 2024?

Perish the thought:

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s top advisers and prominent Democrats outside the Biden campaign have recently revived a long-running debate whether Biden should publicly pledge to serve only one term, with Biden himself signaling to aides that he will serve only a single term.

While the option of making a public pledge remains available, Biden has for now settled on an alternative strategy: quietly indicate that he will almost certainly not run for a second term while declining to make a promise that he and his advisers fear could turn him into a lame duck and sap him of his political capital.

According to four people who regularly talk to Biden, all of whom asked for anonymity to discuss internal campaign matters, it is virtually inconceivable that he will run for re-election in 2024, when he would be the first octogenarian president.

“If Biden is elected,” a prominent adviser to the campaign said, “he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection.”

As Politico’s Ryan Lizza points out, Biden’s not made any public pledge to serve only one term, and he got into the race denying that he even considered limiting himself in that fashion. A few weeks ago, however, Biden did tell the Associated Press that he wouldn’t commit to running for a second term either:

Asked whether he would pledge to only serve one term if elected, Biden said he wouldn’t make such a promise but noted he wasn’t necessarily committed to seeking a second term if elected in 2020.

“I feel good and all I can say is, watch me, you’ll see,” Biden said. “It doesn’t mean I would run a second term. I’m not going to make that judgment at this moment.”

Lizza also reports about the cheery spin that Biden’s team is putting on this idea. “This makes Biden a good transition figure,” one tells him, arguing that a single Biden term with a young and charismatic activist as a running mate might be the kind of ticket that could unite the party. Have Biden serve one term to return the US to a pre-Trump normalcy, then hand off the reins to the progressives.

That’s the kind of strategy that sounds good in theory, but rarely works out well in practice. First, one has to wonder whether the American electorate wants a return to the kind of Beltway establishment normalcy that Biden represents. They elected Donald Trump and nearly nominated Bernie Sanders in 2016 for a reason, and that reason wasn’t a deep confidence and affection for the Beltway. Biden being at the top of the ticket not only puts that dynamic in play, the tacit threat to hand the White House over to the radical Left inherent in a one-term deal will frighten off the moderates who might not otherwise be inclined to sign up for a second term of Trumpian disruption and chaos. That’s why Biden’s in the race at all, and why he’s still leading the polling despite his obvious shortcomings as a candidate.

Besides, it’s not clear why the Democratic Party would consider that a good deal. All that means for the DNC is another open primary in 2024 with all of the same internecine fights whether they win the White House or not. The Democrats will invest over a billion dollars in the general election campaign, which usually at least pays off with a pass on primary fights when a party wins.

Finally, modern presidents don’t manage to get much done in their first term, not even when they have a friendly Congress. Barack Obama did get three signature projects through — ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and the stimulus — but only in the first two years, only with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and only barely. Platforms are too broad and campaign promises too comprehensive to fit into a four-year term unless they have lots and lots of crossover appeal to the opposition party. If Biden’s clearing a path for a progressive takeover, he’ll be a lame duck out of the gate and so politically isolated that he won’t get a thing done anyway.

In that case, Biden won’t need to stick to a one-term pledge. The voters would end up enforcing it.