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Tags: democrats | presidential election | desantis | buttigieg | joe biden

Dems Look Under Weak Bench for Winning 2024 Leadership

cartoon of joe biden standing in huge shadow with obama white house visit written on it
(The Cagle Post/Syndicate/Cartoons/cagle.com/Wright)

Larry Bell By Friday, 08 April 2022 08:38 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Yeah, I recognize that it’s a bit early in the game to predict who the Democrats will run as presidential candidates in 2024.

But isn’t in fun (or terrifying) to contemplate the most likely options?

Barring some truly big game-changing development there should be no such uncertainty on the GOP side. Anyone who dares to run against Donald Trump will invite premature political career-terminating backlash among a huge conservative majority.

Yes, there are some really good ones — think Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, to mention just a couple. It behooves both of them, however, to continue doing great work in their states and win party and independent loyalty for a 2028 run.

It’s a very different situation with Democrats, where President Biden’s support base is rapidly crumbling beneath him, and Vice President Kamala Harris, his ordinarily presumed natural successor, never had one.

According to a November Politico/Morning Consult poll of registered voters, 48% disagreed that Joe is “mentally fit” for his office, compared with 46% who believed he was.

This finding was downhill from an October 2020 poll showing that a majority believed the reverse. (Fifty-six percent versus 34% thought Biden was mentally up to the job.)

That same more recent 2021 poll also found that less than half of registered voters (40%) believed that Joe Biden is “in good health,” while 50% strongly or somewhat disagreed. Again, this result reversed findings of the October 2020 poll which found that a slight majority (53%) thought his health was good, versus 34% that strongly or somewhat disagreed.

A separate November USA Today/Suffolk University poll indicated that nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) don’t want President Biden to run for a second term in 2024, including 28% of Democrats. Even 39% of respondents who voted for Biden last year said they hoped he won’t run for another term, while 50% wished he will.

Meanwhile, as Biden’s job approval numbers continue to tank (just 38% are positive), with two-thirds believing that the country is off on the wrong track, Kamala Harris’ approval rating came in even worse, with only 28% approval, 51% disapproval, and 21% undecided.

Nevertheless, don’t imagine for a minute that this means Kamala won’t post a primary run. Ain’t no way she will electively bow out peacefully as the Dem’s first sitting V.P. and presumed entitlement presidential female candidate of color.

Herein lies the 2024 Democrat dilemma: Whether Joe runs or doesn’t, it will be in a race without any good winning prospects, with Kamala dragging favorable odds down either way.

So, who are the more promising Democrat challengers of the GOP (read: meaning Trump)?

Hillary maybe?

After all, as evidenced in her tearful public reading of an acceptance speech letter she would have given to her mother about becoming the first woman elected to the White House had she won the 2016 election, she desperately wants the job.

We can also bet that Clinton had much to do with having veteran Democrat political consultant Doug Schoen and former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein post a trial balloon Jan. 11 Wall Street Journal opinion article citing Joe Biden’s age and low approval numbers and suggesting that she should be their party's alternate 2024 nominee.

It’s worth noting, however, that a Gallup poll released a year after Hillary’s 2016 defeat to Donald J. showed that 61% of respondents rated her unfavorably, 36% positively, even worse than either Joe’s or Kamala’s current standings.

And don’t expect Hillary’s low popularity to get any boost as U.S. Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into her 2016 presidential campaign continues to unearth and indict some very dirty tricks against triumphant Trump to distract attention away from her 30,000 deleted emails including exchanges containing highly classified information.

Or “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg?

A hypothetical Dec. 2021 poll of a future Democratic primary without Biden conducted by Morning Consult showed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the second most likely presidential candidate pick choice behind Kamala Harris, with 11% support.

Buttigieg, who in 2020 made history as the first openly gay candidate to seek the Democratic nomination for president, won the most delegates in the Iowa caucuses and narrowly lost the popular vote to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor who subsequently bootstrapped himself into a Cabinet appointment has since experienced good and not-so-good public attention in that position.

On the positive side, Pete is credited with having contributed to bi-partisan passage of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion Infrastructure Bill.

Then, on the other, optics of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg taking an extended paternity leave with his husband in the middle of a supply chain shutdown juxtaposed with TV images of empty store shelves weren’t universally applauded.

Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has not been at all shy about her presidential hopes. As she said during a CBS News interview, "Do I hold [being president] as an ambition? Absolutely."

Since narrowly losing to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race, Abrams has played a leading role in the battle to flip Georgia from red to blue at the presidential and Senate levels last year through her organization Fair Fight Action.

A July 2021 Hill-HarrisX poll found that 15% of 957 people surveyed said they would consider voting for Abrams as the 2024 Democratic nominee, garnering just 4% less than Pete Buttigieg, and slightly less than half the number considering Kamala Harris and former first lady Michelle Obama (34% each.)

So then, what about Michelle. Are the Democrats ready for an Obama 3.0 redux?

Isn’t that what we already have?

After all, about three-quarters of Bidens’s top 100 staffers are former aides to President Barack Obama.

Included: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Department Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas, Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Office of Management and Budget Director Neera Zanden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Then again, we can’t entirely blame them for the disasters that are driving Biden’s poll numbers over the cliff.

Recall the famously prescient words of Barack Obama: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 11 books, "Beyond Flagpoles and Footprints: Pioneering the Space Frontier" co-authored with Buzz Aldrin (2021), is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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Yeah, I recognize that it's a bit early in the game to predict who the Democrats will run as presidential candidates in 2024. But isn't in fun (or terrifying) to contemplate the most likely options?
democrats, presidential election, desantis, buttigieg, joe biden
Friday, 08 April 2022 08:38 AM
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