Could President Joe Biden’s declining abilities push him out of the 2024 reelection campaign, forcing Democrats to go to their ample bench to find a replacement?
Political pundits doubt it’ll happen, particularly since the Biden team just spent $25 million on a television ad buy in battleground states like Michigan. That’s not exactly something you’d do if you were thinking about getting out of the game.
That said, one of Biden’s two announced Democratic primary opponents, Marianne Williamson, told the “MIRS Monday” podcast she wouldn’t be surprised if it happened “in the next few weeks.”
“Before two or three weeks ago, you simply were not allowed to mention that Joe Biden might be a weak candidate. It was, like, blasphemous to say such a thing. Today, the cat’s out of that bag,” she said.
In Michigan for a few campaign events, Williamson also said that one doesn’t need to be a political genius to see Biden’s vulnerability if he runs again against previous President Donald Trump.
In nearly every national poll on RealClearPolitics, a Trump-Biden rematch is a within-the-margin of-error coin flip.
Williamson said that “you can almost feel it in the air” as Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have each had their names dropped by pundits as possible fill-ins if Biden steps down from his safe position in the Democratic primary race.
“It’s a delicate conversation for me because I don’t want to sound ageist or mean-spirited, but we all see what we see, and it concerns us when a president makes gaffes that seem related to some level of cognitive decline. We shouldn’t have to apologize” for concerns around that, Williamson said.
As for the lineup of theorized Biden successors, Williamson said while she actually appreciates, admires and respects Whitmer, she believes “there is a status quo political class that is so tied into subservience, and the analysis (of) subservience to corporate power, that they become at least unwitting agents too often of the corporate greed that is the deeper problem.”
She described any candidate “who would be proffered by the Democratic elites” as “cookie cutter.”
Obviously, a winner in some candidate reshuffle is Williamson herself. Biden, for all of his failings, is well ahead in the polls. The general public knows his name. The Democratic poobahs feel like he’s the only one who is guaranteed to beat Trump.
Some folks who follow national politics point out that it would take more than Biden’s departure for Whitmer to get in.
“There’s a slight chance if, and only if, Biden doesn’t run for president and Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t run either,” said Mario Morrow of Mario Morrow and Associates. “I see the governor as a team player. If Biden decided not to run and Harris is viewed as his heir apparent, the chance of Whitmer getting in would be slim. But if Biden doesn’t run and Harris isn’t seen as heir apparent, the floodgates would open for any Democrat to seek that seat.”
Republican strategist Jamie Roe agrees that there’s only a “slight chance” of Whitmer running.
“I don’t think they can move VP Harris out of the way,” Roe said, adding that there’d be a big contest with Newsom.
A few weeks ago, Martin Waymire PR firm partner Josh Hovey said he gave the chances of Biden getting out as “absolutely no way.” Now, he’s moving his prediction to a “slight chance.”
Jenell Leonard, owner of Marketing Resource Group, said the idea of Whitmer jumping into the race isn’t far-fetched at all, especially given her fall legislative agenda mirrors the Democrats’ national talking points: green energy, paid sick leave and lower prescription drug costs.
“After the president’s bizarre press conference in Vietnam over the weekend and his lack of attention to 9/11 this morning, I think it’s becoming more likely he won’t be on the ballot in 2024,” she said. “If that’s the case, we can fully expect Gov. Whitmer to be in.”
(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol newsletter MIRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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