As the day approaches when President Biden officially announces his bid for re-election in 2024, one of the most significant developments in the campaign has not happened at all.
Biden has nearly cleared the constituency despite concerns about his age (at 80, he is already the oldest US president in history) and the deep-seated fears many party voters have about the president. . Democrats are desperate for a new face in 2024. according to To Repeated pollthey don’t know who it is.
After the Democratic Party Won more races than expected In the 2022 midterm elections, the energy to challenge Biden quickly dissipated. The left has maintained support despite Biden’s more explicit endorsements of late. CenterAnd potential rivals remained on the sidelines.
With Donald J. Trump’s early entry into the race, it quickly became clear that the stakes in 2024 would be as high for the Democrats as they were in 2020. And the same factors that drove the party to support Mr. Biden still exist today. Add to that the benefits of holding the White House and any challenge seemed destined to hurt Mr. Biden more than beat him.
Plans are now in place for Biden to formally kick off the 2024 campaign as early as Tuesday, releasing a discreet video coinciding with the anniversary of the campaign kickoff four years ago. It’s a development that many Democrats are greeting with more stoicism than enthusiasm.
“We need stability,” New York State Representative Jamal Bowman said. He is a progressive who won a seat in the 2020 primary by ousting older, more moderate incumbents. “Biden delivers it.”
Skating to a second nomination wasn’t always guaranteed.As a sitting president, Mr. Biden clearly had an outrageous endorsement. But those close to the White House, at least in public, are amazed at how quickly all the party members who had been so tough about Mr. Biden gave him a near-unanimous applause.
Democratic National Committee member and party strategist Maria Cardona is baffled by doubts surrounding Biden as the Democrats’ best bet, especially against the Republican front-runner, 76-year-old Trump. .
“Regardless of reservations, regardless of concerns that he’s getting older — and he is, and it’s going to be an issue that he and the campaign will have to grapple with — that his counterparts are about the same. Sometimes he is old, but the opposite of what this country deserves.
For now, the only announced challengers to Biden are Marianne Williamson, the last starred candidate in the 2020 election campaign, and someone who has used her surname to spread anti-vaccine views. Only Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“Democrats are complaining that he’s too old,” Cardona added. “But when they were asked, ‘Well, who? ”
Notable and ambitious governors, including Gavin Newsom of California JB Pritzker of Illinoislike the 2020 runner-up, said it would not contest Biden’s nomination. Vice President Kamala Harris.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the left was focused on “fighting fascism, racism and sexism.” That casts a shadow over Mr. Biden’s age, Mr. Grijalva, 75, said.
“I don’t think it’s fair and just to exclude people because of their age,” he said.
Biden’s poll numbers among Democrats remain middling.Ann NBC News poll This month, 70% of all Americans, including 51% of Democrats, said they felt Biden shouldn’t run for a second term. If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wins the Republican nomination, it could make the general election race harder for Biden. Mr. DeSantis, 44, better vote than Mr. Trump in a hypothetical matchup in November.
Privately, some major Biden donors and fundraisers continue to worry about his durability in both the campaign and second term. Those who donated were invited to a private gathering with the President this Friday.
A wealthy donor this year considered circulating a letter asking Mr. Biden not to run, but was dissuaded by officials because it would be pointless and embarrassing to Mr. Biden. rice field. He spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversation.
Democrats in general, and the White House in particular, are well aware of the modern history of presidential re-election campaigns and know that nearly every recently defeated incumbent faced serious and major challenges. George HW Bush in 1992, Jimmy Carter in 1980, Gerald Ford in 1976, and before he withdrew and the Democrats were finally defeated, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.
Combine that pattern with the specter of a second Trump presidency and the Democrats almost uniformly plunged into the loyalist formation. Especially after the party avoided a red wave and the kind of losses many had predicted last fall.
“People realized he was the only candidate who could beat Donald Trump and protect American democracy,” said Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicillin, 2020. He spoke about Biden’s nomination in 2018. ”
Biden smoothed that path even further by making the most substantial changes to the Democratic primary in decades. He won the nation’s first spot on the presidential nomination calendar from the predominantly white state of Iowa, which boasts a progressive winning streak (where Mr. Biden finished in fourth place), as black voters voted for his election. He pushed to move the movement to revived South Carolina. 2020.
In his first two years, Mr. Biden built a good deal of goodwill among progressives, embraced many of his leftist priorities, including canceling his student loan debt, and slashed lines of communication with the party’s far left. kept it much more open than it had in the last two years. democratic government. He signed landmark legislation into progressive priorities, including the Climate Clause of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Temporary Child Tax Credit.
Some of Biden’s advisers see the unified task force formed after the 2020 primary as an important starting point. Liberal activists say former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein had an unusually open policy.
Former Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic strategist Ali Rabin Havuto said, “Bernie never called Rahm Emanuel to discuss policy in the early Obama years. As for Biden, he said most progressives on the Capitol would give him a “check mark beyond expectations.”
Now, Mr. Biden is leaning toward the middle, relying on the rest of the left’s ratings. He spoke about the need to reduce the deficit in 2023, signed Republican measures to overturn Washington state’s progressive local crime laws, and approved a new oil drilling project in Alaska.
“It continues to irritate me when I see him move to the middle, because I don’t really see the need to do that,” said Bowman of the New York Democrat. “It’s like pandering to a Republican point.”
In 2020, California Rep. Eric Swalwell ran for president in the Democratic primary, urging Biden to “pass the torch” to the next generation. He said the president’s ability to pass important legislation as the term came to an end has united the party.
“We feared it would be impossible for Biden to rule with a majority in the House and Senate after the 2020 election.” We are working on the priorities of
Many Democrats see Mr. Biden as the party’s best chance to limit losses to white voters without college degrees, America’s largest voter bloc.
“Blue-collar workers have always been with us,” Mr. Biden lamented at his private residence on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in January, emphasizing his focus on winning back those voters. “A lot of people think we left it behind,” Mr. Biden told donors. “And it has to be more about attitudes than policy.”
The relative success of the Democrats in the midterm elections — winning seats in the Senate and ceding the House to Republicans by just five seats — has put Biden so far ahead of him, despite his own weak polls. A reminder that you are not hurting your party.
“Nothing unites us more than success,” Swalwell said.
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