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Progressive Group Forges Ahead with 'Don't Run Joe' Campaign

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Leading up to what were expected to be red wave midterm elections, calls abounded for President Joe Biden to not run in 2024. It's not hard to see why; polls showed even fellow Democrats wanted someone other than Biden on the ballot. But then Tuesday actually happened, and Biden declared during a Wednesday press briefing it had been a "good night" for Democrats. He even said "watch me" to those who doubted he could run for reelection. Yet those feelings of doubt are still coming, especially with exit polls saying that two-thirds don't want him to run again. 


On Wednesday, the group RootsAction launched their #DontRunJoe campaign. The announcement is a pinned tweet for their account.

"The threat of a neofascist GOP has become all too obvious. Bold and inspiring leadership from the Oval Office will be essential," the campaign warned. It went on to say that "President Biden has been neither bold nor inspiring" and "making him the Democratic Party's standard-bearer in 2024 would be a tragic mistake," with "so much at stake."

The warning to Biden not to run became even stronger:

“Moderate” policies have failed to truly address such pressing concerns as the climate emergency, voting rights, student debt, health care, corporate price-gouging, and bloated military spending in tandem with anemic diplomacy.

Biden triumphed over Donald Trump in 2020 with vital help from extraordinary grassroots efforts in swing states by progressive organizations (including RootsAction). A president is not his party’s king, and he has no automatic right to renomination. Joe Biden should not seek it. If he does, he will have a fight on his hands.


A report from Victor Nava with The New York Post has more about the campaign:

The Don’t Run Joe campaign is using digital ads with messages that include, “We cannot risk losing in 2024. We shouldn’t gamble on Joe Biden’s low approval rating,” “Now is not the time for weak measures! We need solid leadership to keep Republicans out of the White House in 2024,” and “We need strong leadership to defeat Republicans in 2024. #DontRunJoe. Give Democrats a fighting chance,” to organize resistance to another Biden presidential run.

The Don't Run campaign has a point when it comes to the poll ratings. RealClearPolitics (RCP) has Biden's approval rating at 42.2 percent, while 54.6 percent disapprove. Some individual polls even show Biden's approval in the 30s. 

Then again, despite having particularly low ratings, Biden and the Democrats still defied not only predictions of a red wave, but historic precedence for midterm elections.

RootsAction endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 and 2020, who ran as a Democrat in those presidential primaries. He may run again in 2024, despite having just turned 81 in September. A leaked memo from April hinted as much, especially if Biden doesn't run for reelection. 

POLITICO's David Siders reported back in July that RootsAction had announced this campaign would come when it did.


RootsAction was not the only one to come out against Biden so soon after Tuesday's results. "Democrats Proved They Have a Bench. Now Biden Should Step Aside in 2024," read a Thursday morning opinion piece from Michael Starr Hopkins at the Daily Beast.

Biden shared on Wednesday he does intend to run again in 2024. That a decision will likely be announced early next year. Despite there having been such insistence that he would run again, Biden himself began sowing doubt during a "60 Minutes" interview from September.

As Madeline covered on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff is encouraging Democrats to rally behind her if Biden doesn't run.

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