Biden’s Democratic Challengers Start to Emerge
The 2024 Democratic primary is shaping up to be a strange one.
President Joe Biden is 80 years old and would be 82 by the start of his second term. Polls suggest between 70 and 90% of Americans think he is too old for the job. Vice President Kamala Harris may seem like the obvious choice to replace Biden, but her disappointing performance has produced low approval ratings and many remain hesitant to elect a female POTUS.
Many have argued that a Biden re-election could easily turn into a Harris presidency and seem to be waiting on his health to determine their next steps.
This includes California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), who has toured several red states promoting the Biden Administration. Though he has yet to announce his candidacy, he has agreed to debate Florida Governor/presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis (R) on Fox News.
“The most prominent figures on the Democratic bench are the ones out raising money for the Biden-Harris re-elect, and most of them are our Democratic governors,” says Alex Heckler, a Miami attorney who works with the Democratic National Committee.
Other Democratic governors who are acting like they might join the race include:
- Wes Moore of Maryland
- Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania
- Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan
- JB Pritzker of Illinois
- Phil Murphy of New Jersey
- Roy Cooper of North Carolina
We could also see the reappearance of Democrats who participated in the 2020 primary, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (former mayor of South Bend, IN), Senator Cory Booker (NJ), and Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN).
“In the absence of having a young, vibrant president, the party needs to put forward new faces, new voices,” says Nina Smith, a Democratic operative who worked for Buttigieg’s presidential campaign in 2020. “I think you’re seeing the next generation of political leadership in this country emerging through the Biden re-election campaign and who the surrogates are.”
The only two Democrats to formally declare against Biden (so far) are Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. (the grandson of former president John F. Kennedy) and Marianne Williamson, an author who began her professional career as a spiritual leader of the Church of Today.
RFK says he hopes to see as many people as possible enter the Democratic primary. ‘I think the more people that run in it, the better it is for our democracy. We need to differentiate ourselves from the old Soviet Union where the party picked the leaders and the people really had no choice,’ he said, describing the current election process as a ‘kabuki theater of democracy.’
RFK added that President Biden must participate in televised debates in order to show the American public that he remains mentally sharp. ‘And he’s going to have to debate Trump.’
To date, the DNC has not scheduled President Biden to appear in any primary debates ahead of the 2024 election and has evaded questions as to the reason(s) why.
Being his usual dramatic self, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) warned Democrats that a failure to unite in support of President Biden could result in the end of democracy as we know it: “I think in this particular time…when we’re taking on the former President [Donald Trump], who in fact does not believe in democracy, he is an authoritarian, and a very, very dangerous person…There has to be a unification of progressive people in general in all of this country, people who are prepared to make sure that women control their own body, that we deal with climate change, that we represent the needs of the working class of this country, and take on the billionaire class.”
EXCLUSIVE: RFK Jr. says MORE Democrats should challenge President Biden – who must agree to debates to ‘show’ Americans he can handle a rematch with Trump – or else American is just a ‘kabuki theater of democracy’