As the country inches closer to the 2024 presidential primary cycle, a growing number of reports suggest that the aging Joe Biden may not actually be his party’s choice to run against what increasingly looks to be a rematch against former President Donald Trump.
CNN reported Thursday that the “top Democrats and donors” are reaching out to “possible replacements” for Biden and have had conversations about having one of them get into the race as the president continues to struggle physically and cognitively.
Several polls have indicated that Biden faces difficulties when pitted against the leading Republican presidential contenders, namely Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Individuals making calls to potential Democratic candidates are informing them that, contrary to Biden’s public statements and his campaign launch, the 80-year-old president does not intend to pursue re-election.
“Biden’s team pushed back, saying that he was absolutely running and that he was taking campaign preparations seriously,” the Daily Wire noted.
But, CNN noted, “Some things are already clear: multiple big donors aren’t locking in. Grassroots emails are sometimes bringing in just a few thousand dollars.”
In a closely contested race that is anticipated to be decided by a narrow margin in a handful of states, skeptics contend that each day without a busy campaign schedule will reinforce voters’ concerns about Biden’s age. They argue that this might indicate a lack of seriousness from the president and those around him regarding the potential of losing to Trump or another Republican candidate, potentially leading to a sense of déjà vu from the 2016 election on Election Night next year, CNN noted.
“If Trump wins next November and everyone says, ‘How did that happen,’ one of the questions will be: what was the Biden campaign doing in the summer of 2023?” a person who worked in a senior role on Biden’s 2020 campaign told CNN on condition of anonymity.
“I’m not sure which is harder: Getting people to focus on the campaign, or getting people excited about it,” a longtime Democratic fundraiser added.
Though people around Biden still believe that Trump’s continued lead in the GOP primary polls sets up a stark contrast that will be helpful for the president, they are privately much more concerned with the possibility of losing to the former president than they tend to let on. His campaign planning is kept very closely held – and still almost entirely run out of the West Wing, so much so that the president himself has asked to meet personally with finalists for senior roles, all of which is slowing nearly every decision.
Biden advisers have told allies they are following a tight, purposeful strategy that takes into account the vulnerabilities they recognize their candidate has, the strengths of his record they think they can tap into, and the particularities of America heading into 2024.
“The most important power of incumbency is taking time to plan and build your campaign while your challenger is busy with a primary,” a Democratic campaign veteran told CNN. “They are late in doing everything, and everyone knows it.”
While Biden has a pair of primary challengers already — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Maryanne Williamson — a name most mentioned as a potential Democratic Party star and savior is California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has actually been behaving as though he is a candidate without having declared as one.
He’s been spending a lot of time discussing how he would attack any GOP candidate while taking specific shots at DeSantis.
“Eight of the top 10 murder states are Republican states,” he told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, Joe Biden’s first press secretary. ”Seven of the top 10 dependent states ― God forbid, dependent states ― are red states.”
“The life expectancy in the South and they’re not expanding Medicaid and prenatal care and providing child care? It’s jaw-dropping. How they all continue to get reelected is beyond me. Infant mortality? You care about life, and you look at life expectancy? You care about life, and you have kids that are gunned down by weapons of war? Spare me. All in the name of freedom, as you’re banning books?” he added.
By comparison, more residents have fled California’s high taxes, rising crime, homelessness, and outrageous real estate prices under Newsom than any other governor in recent memory, according to CalMatters.