Democrats across the country are publicly swearing fealty to Joe Biden. “Too many people in our party look at the glass as half-empty as opposed to the glass as half-full,” said former Rep. Cedric Richmond, Biden’s liaison to the Democratic National Committee.
But as statements of encouragement and support for Biden trickle in, the whispers and murmurs of dissatisfaction, dissent, and alarm are growing.
And Biden doesn’t very much like that.
The president is working to ensure that the nomination process in 2024 will be tilted in his favor, as well as restocking his staff in battleground states and building resources at the Democratic National Committee.
He won’t go easily or quietly.
Mr. Biden has told advisers he sees a replay of the early days of his 2020 primary bid, when some Democrats dismissed him as too old or too moderate to win the nomination. He blames the same doubters for the current round of questioning.
Those skeptics grew louder over the weekend, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, when Mr. Biden restated his opposition to expanding the ranks of the high court, the left’s preferred solution to the court’s current conservative tilt. The remarks angered critics who argue that the president, who has never been comfortable elevating abortion rights and positions himself as a consensus builder, doesn’t have the temperament for partisan combat.
If it were just the far left planning an insurrection against Biden, the president could probably deal with that challenge. But what if mainstream Democrats were to rise up against Biden?
For our VIPs: When Will Democrats Put Biden Out to Pasture?
The fact is, there are grave doubts among Democrats from all parts of the country that Joe Biden is up to the challenge of his office.
“I have been surprised at the number of people who are openly expressing concerns about 2024 and whether or not Biden should run,” said Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recounting a recent dinner of Democrats in the capital where several speculated about who could succeed the president.
More worrisome for Mr. Biden, some ambitious Democrats have found that calling for the president to retire is a sure way to win attention. Former Representative Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, who’s hoping to unseat Gov. Henry McMaster, 75, said the president should cede the nomination “to a new generation of leadership,” as he put it on CNN last week.
The power of an incumbent president is truly awesome. Any Democratic politician who lines up against Biden in public is likely to be publicly castrated and stripped of power and influence. No matter how unpopular Biden gets, there will always be loyal minions who will remain with him to the end because that’s where the perks and prerogatives lie.
Then there’s the practical question of who the Democrats would get to replace the octogenarian Biden? The septuagenarian Bernie Sanders? The 30-something harpie AOC? The Democrat’s bench is short, to use a baseball analogy. And Democrats realize it.
So the Democrats are stuck with Biden for all intents and purposes going into 2024. Unless Biden is incapacitated by health, he is going to run.
And that’s what most Democrats fear most.