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Tipsheet

Democrats Are Looking to Jettison Biden for 2024: New York Times

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Turns out, it's not just Republicans who are fed up with Joe Biden, his administration's failed response to crises at home and abroad, and his frequent missteps and misstatements that require clean up on aisle Joe and distract from whatever — if anything — his administration is actually doing. 

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No, it's also Democrats — not just random Dem voters being polled, but party leaders and national committee members — who are nervously adjusting their party's collar ahead of what's likely to be a midterm shellacking with an eye on 2024's presidential election.

 Or at least that's what The New York Times is reporting in a piece based on interviews The Gray Lady conducted with several dozen Democrats who feared Joe must go if they have a hope of holding any power.

The Times' piece notes that polls have Biden"at a low point in his popularity among Democratic voters" with an AP survey putting the president's approval in his own party at 73 percent, "the lowest point in his presidency." And while few pollsters have asked Democrats explicitly about Biden seeking a second term, another AP poll from earlier in 2022 found "just 28 percent of Democrats wanted him to run again."

Democrats are "a party alarmed about Republicans' rising strength and extraordinarily pessimistic about an immediate path forward," or at least that's what The Times' found:

“To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality,” said Steve Simeonidis, a Democratic National Committee member from Miami. Mr. Biden, he said, “should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.”

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So, a DNC committeeman is on the record telling Biden to call off any reelection plans in just a few short months and pronounce himself a lame duck less than halfway through his first term. That's...something.

To nearly all the Democrats interviewed, the president’s age — 79 now, 82 by the time the winner of the 2024 election is inaugurated — is a deep concern about his political viability. They have watched as a commander in chief who built a reputation for gaffes has repeatedly rattled global diplomacy with unexpected remarks that were later walked back by his White House staff, and as he has sat for fewer interviews than any of his recent predecessors.

“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s two winning presidential campaigns.

Ah, so the guy who shepherded President Obama (and then-Vice President Joe Biden) to two presidential victories thinks Biden has an inherent and unavoidable "major issue" in his age. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of a run for a second term.

Apparently, "many Democratic leaders and voters want Mr. Biden to fight harder against Republicans, while others want him to seek more compromise," an odd desire given Democrats control the White House and Congress... meaning it's more a problem with Democrats being in disarray and a significant portion of their caucuses being so radical that their own party torpedoes legislation. According to The Times, many Dems are holding out hope in 2024 for "some sort of idealized nominee — somebody who isn’t Mr. Biden or Ms. Harris."

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Lamenting “a great national loss of hope,” Alex Wyshyvanuk, 33, a data analyst from Annapolis, Md., said he wasn’t sold on another Biden presidential campaign in 2024.

“I need an equivalent of Ron DeSantis, a Democrat, but not a 70- or 80-year-old — a younger person,” he said. “Someone who knows what worked for you in 1980 is not going to work for you in 2022 or 2024.”

The interviews summarized by The New York Times also show that the Democrat discontent isn't just some sort of reaction among Democrats who wanted someone else in 2020 but held their noses to vote against Trump more than for Biden:

Even some of the earliest supporters of Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign are now questioning whether he can lead the party through another daunting election cycle against Mr. Trump.

Ann Hart, a Democratic Party co-chairwoman in Iowa’s Allamakee County, endorsed Mr. Biden ahead of the state’s 2020 caucuses and introduced him at a campaign stop in a neighboring county. Ms. Hart, a retired school principal, said she could not imagine how Mr. Biden manages the presidency at 79 years old.

“I get asked to run for things — are you kidding? I’m 64,” she said. “We need youth. So I kind of admire him wanting to take this on and I hope he’ll pass the torch.”

Shelia Huggins, a lawyer from Durham, N.C., who is a member of the Democratic National Committee, put it more bluntly.

“Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race,” she said. “That can’t be Biden.”

So Biden's on the ropes, both as the leader of the United States and as the top elected official within his party. The Democrats' base, which continues to lurch to the left, doesn't see a future for Biden. He and the Democrats controlling Congress haven't done what they promised when running in 2020, the party's power is going to be wiped out or severely limited in Congress after November's midterms flip power structures on Capitol Hill, and Joe Biden's still going to have two more years left in his first term. It's no wonder Democrats aren't optimistic about their future prospects. 

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But there's not much of an heir apparent, either. Harris? Come on. Buttigieg? Nah. Octogenarian Bernie Sanders? Meh. Cory "Spartacus" Booker? Harris isn't what Democrats are looking for — if they were she might have made it just to the Iowa Caucuses in 2020 before running out of cash — and Democrats seem unlikely to clear the field to give her the nomination. Maybe giving Joe a final go is Democrats' best hope rather than a bloodying primary to replace him on the ticket for 2024.

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