It is now clear that Democrat party leaders have shut
down successfully any serious efforts to challenge
incumbent President Joe Biden for the party’s 2024
presidential nomination — at least for now.
Mr. Biden is obviously planning to run for re-election
with a formal announcement expected any time in the
next few months.
Following better-than-expected results in the 2022
national mid-term elections, a growing movement by
Democrats and the establishment media to dump
Biden evaporated as the president briefly surged in
the polls, and insurgents lacked a major party figure to
The prospect of former President Donald Trump being
the Republican nominee in 2024 further diminished
the apparent need, party leaders reportedly felt, for a
new Democrat ticket next year.
Quickly, however, the political environment shifted.
After a prolonged effort, the Republicans chose a new
speaker of the House of Representatives, ended
the Democrats control of the lower body, and soon
inaugurated investigations into the activities of the
Biden administration and Mr. Biden himself. Many
allegations had been made previously, and now these
charges will be aired publicly over coming months.
Impeachment proceedings were also begun against Mr.
Biden’s secretary of Homeland Security.
As the Mexican border crisis worsened, and inflation
continued to rise, the president’s brief surge in the polls
ended, and his unfavorables returned downward in
double digits. A controversy about dealing with Chinese
reconnaissance balloons flying in U.S. air space, and a
leaked report alleging that Mr. Biden had ordered a
strike against the Nord Sea gas pipeline, did not boost
his foreign policy standing with the general public.
Mr. Biden’s choice for vice president, Kamala Harris, has
been by virtually all accounts a bust, and she has even
more unfavorable polls than the president. He has
already indicated that she would remain on the ticket in
2024, and considering public concerns about Mr. Biden’s
age and physical condition, this further raises doubts
about a Biden-Harris re-election.
With his opponents, and now even the media, putting a
spotlight on the president’s increasing number of gaffes
the 81 year-old chief executive seems to be getting more
Polls currently indicate that despite the party establishment
rallying around the president, only about half of Democrat
voters want him to run.
On the Republican side, Mr. Trump’s initially likely
re-nomination is now in some doubt following Florida
Governor Ron DeSantis’s singular success in the mid-term
elections and his popular administration in that state.
Mr. Trump still leads in most national polls, but Mr. DeSantis
is ahead of the former president in several key state polls.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is about to
announce her presidential candidacy, and Senators Tim
Scott of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Ted
Cruz of Texas, as well as former Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo are among several other well-known Republicans
thinking of running.
With no opponents in the Democrat race, and several major
candidates in the GOP race (all of whom will be criticizing
the president), Mr. Biden’s normal domination of the news
cycle will likely have to compete with the Republican contest.
There are paths to a Biden victory in 2024, but they will
depend on several factors mostly outside his control. As
always, the economy will be extremely important. If
inflation is receding, the stock market is then rising,
unemployment falling, manufacturing and production
booming, Mr. Biden will benefit. If he resolves the border
crisis, the war in Ukraine ends, conflict with China fades,
his campaign will be greatly helped. Should the
eventual Republican ticket fail to appeal to its own base
or to independents, Mr. Biden’s chances will greatly
improve, and if the economy is also going well, he would
But that’s a lot of ifs. Many of them will be more clear
about a year from now, and should Mr. Biden then decide
not to run, his party would have to scramble to come up
with a replacement ticket, having given the GOP a big
The alternative would be for Mr. Biden to decide to retire
now, a lively Democratic nomination contest, and a new
liberal-progressive presidential ticket. History shows that
forcibly ousting an incumbent president for re-election, or
even seriously challenging that incumbent, makes
re-election in November unlikely.
The most promising scenario for Democrats, a Biden
retirement now, is apparently not going to happen.
But as 2022 indicated, political outcome predictions are
very risky, especially this much before election day.
Copyright (c) 2023 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
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