Democratic party leaders suggest they will not look kindly on any candidate who tries to ‘cut the line ahead of President Joe Biden with plans for the next campaign.
The 79-year-old president says that he plans to run for reelection in 2024, as some in the Democratic Party have become increasingly anxious after a bruising six-month stretch that has seen Biden’s national approval rating dropped into the low 40s, amid growing concerns about inflation, infighting in Washington and faltering public health efforts to move beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biden, who is the oldest person to assume the office, would be 82 at the end of his first term and 86 at the end of his second term, if reelected.
“The only thing I’ve heard him say is he’s planning on running again,” said former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, a Biden friend. “And I’m glad he is.”
At a virtual fundraiser last month, Biden told donors that he plans to seek a second term, underscoring what he said at his first White House news conference before cautioning that he had “never been able to plan 3½, four years ahead, for certain.”
“What he is saying publicly is what he firmly believes. There’s no difference,” said former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who attended the fundraising event. “He will not run if he feels he can’t do the job physically or emotionally.”
According to the Washington Post, which conducted interviews with 28 Democratic strategists and officials, many of whom spoke more frankly on the condition of anonymity, there are strong doubts among insiders about whether Biden will seek re-election.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Vice President Kamala Harris, and former Congressman Alan Grayson are among a potentially large Democratic field of contenders who might be in the race to replace Biden.
Stacey Abrams, the Georgia state representative lost a close race for governor, is also mentioned as a potential candidate.
Some Democrats take a skeptical view of any public and private signals Biden and his team send about reelection, reasoning that there is an incentive for them to project interest in a second term, regardless of his true intent, to avoid weakening his standing.
Another presidential bid, others worry, would involve a much more rigorous schedule than the relatively calm 2020 campaign, which was largely conducted remotely because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Florida trial lawyer John Morgan, who was a top 2020 Biden donor, said he was unsure whether Biden would seek reelection.
“What is his health going to be in the next three years?” Morgan wondered aloud. “All you have to do is look at the mortality tables in America to understand what I’m saying.”
Another Democrat— involved in campaigns —couldn’t name a single person who considers the prospect of Biden running again to be a serious possibility.
“I hear this question get asked every day,” said another Democratic presidential campaign veteran, about whether Biden will run for re-election. “No one ever asked that question about Barack Obama. No one ever asked that question about Donald Trump.”
Biden received a health checkup on November 19 — a day before his 79th birthday — at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the president was found to be “healthy,” “vigorous” and working out five days a week.
His doctor described a stiffer walking gait in recent years, which he attributed to spinal arthritis, and some acid reflux that has caused him to repeatedly clear his throat.
Still, weak poll numbers may encourage potential opponents to consolidate critics who fault Biden on a number of issues.
For a president who came into office with decades of experience at the highest levels of government, Biden has shown that experience can’t always prepare anyone for the most difficult challenges.
Democratic senators from every wing of the party criticized the administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Democrats were infuriated by the Biden administration’s abusive treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border.
He named one of only a few Democrats who voted to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline to head the Office of Public Engagement. Former Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond was the fifth-biggest recipient of money from fossil fuel donors and the League of Conservation Voters gave him one of the lowest ratings for any Democrat in Congress.
Critics are also demanding stronger prosecution of those responsible for the attempted coup d’etat, and criminal charges against Trump after it was revealed that his lawyer prepared a six-point plan to steal the 2020 election.
At least 675 defendants have been arrested for participating in the failed coup attempt, including more than 210 of the terrorists who have been charged with attacking one or more of the 140 police officers who were assaulted, but many of those participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol face little more than loitering and littering charges.
Of the roughly 130 people who have pleaded guilty so far, only 16 have admitted to felonies. Of the four felons sentenced thus far, one received eight months, one got a 14-month term, and two were sent to prison for 41 months.
While 600 defendants have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, none are accused of felony murder despite the five directly related deaths.
Prosecutors have failed to level charges against former President Donald Trump or any of his close associates for the role they played to incite the mob of terrorists to commit treason. Trump was impeached for inciting insurrection but he has not been indicted for that crime.
Trump became the first president to be impeached twice, after the House of Representatives approved a single charge that he incited the mob to storm the US Capitol, but the election loser was acquitted in a partisan vote in the US Senate.
Allowing Trump and his fascist allies who plotted to overthrow the government could anger grassroots Democrats enough to ignite a massive primary challenge against political insiders that cater to corporate interests and show no appetite for reversing failed trickle-down economic policies instituted 40 years ago.
The so-called ‘Reagan Revolution’ and subsequent policies effectively shut down the New Deal and Great Society actions that raised millions of American working families into the middle-class.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent, up from the current 37 percent, for income over $10 million. Biden’s Build Back Better proposal would increase the 37% top individual rate to 39.6% for those with taxable incomes of over $400,000.
The 25% capital gains tax rate Biden is seeking would not treat investment income the same as wages from work, which is another demand among progressives.
The political atmosphere for Biden may have become even more treacherous with the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse and possible Supreme Court rulings on abortion, gun rights, and other topics that may trigger a Democratic backlash.