If Democrats do poorly in the 2022 midterm elections, a no-run announcement soon afterward may signal party weakness. On the other hand, if Biden wants Vice President Kamala Harris to succeed him, a late announcement could help clear the path for her nomination. However, if he waits too long, it could make it appear that he’s unfairly stacking the deck in favor of a hand-picked heir.

One option for Biden is to announce soon. He could do it in his inaugural address or first speech to a joint session of Congress. At this point, he has four full years ahead of him as president –– too much time to be considered much of a lame duck. Taking re-election off the table early would make his entire presidency seem less partisan, which is something he’s already made clear he wants to do.

Biden should use a no-run announcement for governing advantage by pairing it with a strong declaration about putting the nation’s agenda above the distractions of electoral politics. That would bolster his public standing and likely strengthen his hand dealing with Congress.