Democrats don’t want to back Biden

Correction: This table has been corrected to indicate that Mandela Barnes and John Fetterman are Lieutenant Governors and not Senators. Data: Axios search; Table: Axios visuals

A surprising number of lawmakers from President Biden’s own party have been unwilling to say in recent days that he should seek re-election in 2024, amid nagging fears that he is too old or unpopular to win.

Why is this important: Supporting your own party’s first-term president is usually so automatic that no one would bother to ask. But behind the scenes, there is real concern that going all-out on Biden could be a mistake.

Reality check: Some Democrats privately don’t want Biden running again, for three reasons:

  1. He is deeply unpopular. Many Americans associate it with inflation, high gas prices, entrenched COVID-19 and an inglorious end to the war in Afghanistan.
  2. Progressives want to move away from centrism and convention.
  3. Many Democratic voters want generational change. Biden was older when he took office than Ronald Reagan when he left office. If re-elected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term.

Driving the news: Just this week, two high-ranking New York Democrats cast doubt on the president’s future.

  • During a Democratic primary debate for the 12th congressional district, Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney were asked if Biden should run again in 2024. Neither would answer in the affirmative.
  • This followed Sen. Joe Manchin’s (DW.Va.) refusal to commit to Biden ’24 while trying to get a climate change deal to the finish line, and a resounding “no” to Biden ’24 from two House Democrats. in Minnesota during local interviews.

Yes, but: Some strategists see the whole thing as misdirecting the nervous energy of Democrats.

  • “The chatter right now is more about anxiety about 22 than 24, and that’s not really helpful for Democrats,” David Axelrod, director of the University’s Policy Institute, told Axios. of Chicago and former senior adviser to President Obama. “It’s a Washington board game.”
  • “Now is not the time to argue. What voters say about an election in two years and change is about as meaningful as the Farmer’s Almanac.”
  • Biden’s age is “an issue that he will have to consider and, if it comes up, he will have to deal with. But he doesn’t have to at the moment.”

The results of the November competitions and whether Democrats lose control of one or both houses of Congress is likely to shape Biden’s fate.

  • There’s no cross-party consensus on how to have a conversation about what’s next, or who might be the stronger alternative if Biden ultimately decides not to pursue a second term.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris has Biden’s No. 2 status but faces concerns about her popularity within her own party as well as her general election prospects.

By the numbers: Biden’s overall approval rating with Americans has fallen to 39%.

  • Only one in four Democratic voters said they want him to run again in 2024, according to a July poll from the New York Times and Siena College.
  • Age and work performance were the main factors. About 94% of Democrats under 30 don’t want him to be the nominee next time around.

What they say : Democrats running competitive statewide campaigns in swing states are quick when asked about Biden to refocus on issues they say voters want their party to address — like the access to abortion, the economy and inflation, crime and gun violence.

  • John Fetterman’s senatorial campaign told Axios, “Pennsylvania people care if they have a senator who is actually from Pennsylvania, understands their struggles, and will actually fight for abortion rights and to fight against the inflation.”
  • Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak told us he was “more focused on reducing costs for Nevadans and continuing our state’s rapid economic recovery,” but would support Biden’s re-election. .

  • “Biden is the leader of our party and if he runs again I will support him, but if he wants to win Ohio in 2024 I urge him to focus on cutting costs for working families. – which is exactly what I’m doing in this race,” Ohio gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley told Axios.
  • Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, takes the president at his word “that he’s running again. His campaign told Axios that Shapiro is more focused on whether his GOP opponent Doug Mastriano, if elected, would throw out legitimate votes in 2024 if he didn’t like the result.

A handful of vocal House Democrats have been clear, they don’t think President Biden should — or will — run again.

  • Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) told a local radio show last week: ‘I think the country would be well served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared and dynamic Democrats stepping in’, after answering ‘no’ when asked whether he would support Biden in 2024.
  • Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) told MinnPost, “I think Dean Phillips and I are in sync and aligned on this, and I’m going to do everything in my power as a congressman to make sure we have a new generation of leaders. .”
  • Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) told Axios that he had heard rumors on the Hill that some wanted younger leadership, although he disagreed with that. “If the president decides not to run again, obviously that will be the game,” Rep. Kildee said. “But he has to make that decision.”
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) said – on two separated occasions — that she doesn’t believe Biden will run for president again. She has since clarified what wanna to run, but said in a CNN interview on Thursday, “I think you [Biden] won’t run.”

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