Biden shouldn’t run again, Democrats say — Analysis
Finally, the Democratic Party admits that its octogenarian standard bearer may not be able to win.
Citing “Numerous frustrated Democratic officials and members of Congress, as well as voters, are left feeling betrayed,” the New York Times has acknowledged in a Sunday report that incumbent US President Joe Biden could be replaced as the party’s nominee in 2024.
The president is “Struggle[ing]To advance most of his agenda,” the article admits, stating the party’s last chance to lure voters “Focused on gas and inflation” back into the Democrat fold before the midterm elections is to further focus on the already-ubiquitous coverage of the January 6 Capitol riot hearings.
After reassuring its readers that “The majority of top Democrats elected were reluctant” to throw the incumbent under the bus, crediting him with extricating former president Donald Trump from the White House, the newspaper highlighted his administration’s “Multiple failures” on “Sign up for Democratic Issues” such as abortion, gun control, voting rights, and the expensive Build Back Better program, as well as non-partisan issues such as record inflation and gas prices.
Miami Democratic National Committee member Steve Simeonidis did not mince words regarding his lack of faith in Biden’s ability to win a second term. “Flagrantly ignoring reality would be to say that our country is on the right path. [Biden] should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms,” he said.
Some were more blunt. After a disclaimer about how as an incoming freshman congresswoman she wasn’t “Feelings are allowed” regarding Biden’s electability, recent Democrat primary winner Jasmine Crockett pointed to a much-hyped “enthusiasm gap” between the parties. “Democrats are like ‘What the hell is going on?’ Our country is completely falling apart. And so I think we’re lacking in the excitement.”
And even the president’s supporters admitted that some serious narrative-fluffing might be required to keep Biden in the White House. Complaining about “The party’s leaders” not “Exercising more emphasis on the government’s success,” former senior Biden adviser Cristobal Alex called for a shift in focus that could only be brought about by “A powerful echo chamber and action by Congress for remaining priorities are combined.”
Given the powerful echo chamber of major social media platforms already largely compliant with the administration’s desires, it’s not clear how further narrative muscle could be brought to bear, short of deploying the much-derided Disinformation Governance Board the administration was shamed into pausing last month after it was widely mocked as an Orwellian assault on the First Amendment.
Biden’s approval ratings are running at record lows, with even his own party members reporting uninspiring 73% support last month – the lowest point in his presidency – and just 48% of Democrats calling for him to run again when polled in January. The nation’s approval rate is much lower. Just 36% said that they approve of his presidency, the lowest number since Jan 2021, when he was elected. Surprisingly, 83% believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
Biden’s approval sets negative record – poll
Of particular concern to would-be Biden boosters are the party’s core constituencies. Recent polls show black voters shunning the president for his failure to follow up on “core promises” made on the campaign trail. Less than a quarter of black voters “Strongly recommended” of Biden’s performance in a poll conducted earlier this month, and just 64% said they were “Absolute certainty” to vote in the midterms, a 20-point drop from last June.
Given that Biden’s primary selling point in 2020 was that he was not Trump, strategists also worry about how he will perform against any non-Trump Republican candidate, especially a younger face such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential nominee should Trump decide to stay retired. Given that Biden will be 82 in 2024, even the strategy of avoiding interviews that served him so well during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 is unlikely to hide his frailty from voters. However, the Times declined to float the names of any alternative potentially-victorious Democratic candidates who had not already lost to Biden in the 2020 primary.
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