THE ATLANTIC: Other Presidents Have Retired in March of Their Reelection Year.

With more than 100,000 people casting a vote against the incumbent president in the Democratic primary last week in Michigan, a swing state essential to his reelection, the wisdom of Joe Biden’s decision to face voters in November is again under intense scrutiny. Historically speaking, it isn’t too late for President Joe Biden to voluntarily drop his reelection bid. And he must know it: Two other Democratic presidents in his lifetime surprised the nation by announcing in March of an election year that they would not seek a new term.

The enormous challenges that confronted Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson—wars in Korea and Vietnam—have little substantive resemblance to Biden’s current predicament. But the question Biden now faces is the same: Should he risk his presidential legacy by seeking another term in office? The events of 1952 and 1968 are as much a guide to making what is a hard, lonely decision as they are a warning: Having lost the advantages that incumbency incurs, the Democratic Party lost both of the elections that followed, and Republicans took the presidency.

What today’s Democrats are asking themselves and one another amidst all the flop-sweat is whether keeping Biden on the ballot would be worse for them down-ticket than installing somebody, anybody else at the top.