When a reporter asked President Biden about a new poll showing most Democrats don’t want him to run again in 2024, Biden turned, walked over and snapped: “They want me to run. Read the …
When a reporter asked President Biden about a new poll showing most Democrats don’t want him to run again in 2024, Biden turned, walked over and snapped: “They want me to run. Read the polls. Read the polls, Jack!”
Well, I did read the polls and Democrats have a clear message for Biden: Hit the road, Jack.
A New York Times-Siena College poll shows only 26 percent of Democrats want Biden to be their standard bearer in 2024, while 64 percent say they want someone else.
But Biden was having none of it. “You guys are all the same,” he scoffed at the reporter. “That poll showed that 92 percent of Democrats, if I ran, would vote for me.” No, it didn’t. The Times-Siena poll found that 92 percent said they would vote for Biden in a general election rematch with Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean Democrats want him to be their nominee; it means they don’t want Trump to be president again. Big difference.
Why is Democratic support for a second Biden run collapsing? Two-thirds of Democrats say it is because he is too old or cite his terrible job performance.
They see what the rest of the United States sees: Biden has delivered the worst inflation in 40 years, highest gas prices ever recorded in this country, the fastest drop in inflation-adjusted wages in four decades, a record labor shortage that is fueling inflation, the worst crime wave in many cities since the 1990s and the worst recorded border crisis in U.S. history. The Times-Siena poll put his job approval at a dismal 33 percent.
Given that record, it’s a miracle any Democrats want him to run again. The problem is they have no good alternatives. Ask yourself: Why did Democrats nominate Biden in the first place? They ultimately settled on Biden because he was the “least-worst” choice — an inoffensive, genial moderate who was the candidate least likely to drive away moderate swing voters wary of the Democrats’ leftward turn.
Who can replace him in that role? Not Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. Not any of the left-wing also-rans from 2020, such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Not his vice president, who is just as unpopular as he is.
There is no moderate alternative palatable to the suburban swing voters who put Biden in the White House.
Biden does not seem to understand why the American people elected him. He did not beat Trump because voters wanted more spending, more regulation, more inflation and open borders. He was elected because he promised to end the chaos and division.
The reason people disapprove of him today is because he abandoned that promise and threw in his lot with his party’s progressive wing, which convinced him that if he rammed through their radical agenda he could go down in history as a new FDR. Instead he’ll go down in history as an unparalleled disaster.
If Democrats renominate Biden, his serial failures could sink their chances of holding onto the presidency.
But nominating an even more leftist standard-bearer provides no safe harbor for the moderate swing voters they need, who don’t like Trump but also don’t want socialism. Unless Democrats are ready to change their policies, and move to the center, getting rid of Biden won’t make a difference.
Marc A. Thiessen is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (aei.org) in Washington. A longer version of this article appeared in the Washington Post.