But if not Joe Biden for President in 2024, then who? That’s the question millions of Americans want to have answered.
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If he does run, he might get a primary challenge, but the field would likely be one other candidate. If he decides not to run, it could be a wide-open field.
Here are a few possible candidates to consider as we wait for the Biden decision:
Vice President Kamala Harris would be the immediate frontrunner but also a fairly vulnerable one.
Much like Hillary Clinton in both 2008 and 2016, she would be a frontrunner facing likability problems, with voters questioning her authenticity.
But worse, she’s been unable to articulate responses to even softball interview questions and has become known for a trademark cackling laugh.
In 2019, she soared to a top-tier candidate by aggressively – and very coherently – targeting Biden in a primary debate.
But as the spotlight increased, she plummeted to single digits and dropped out of the race before the Iowa Caucus. Being vice president doesn’t seem to have caused her to grow into the job.
She is nevertheless a heavy favorite for the nomination, as she checks off so many intersectional boxes for a party obsessed with identity politics.
Mayor Pete was a strong enough campaigner to win the Iowa Caucus in 2020 and did well in other states.
Now he is Secretary Pete. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg would have more gravitas to add to his stage presence, even if the Transportation Department is hardly the most august assignment. It beats leading the city of South Bend, Indiana as a line on his resume.
Like Harris, he would also appeal to the Democratic Party’s identity politics wing, which might want to elect the first gay president. At the same time, he could garner support from moderates in the party, as he ran largely as a pragmatist in the 2020 campaign.
The PAC from his campaign, Win the Era, is still running without his involvement. But he could have an infrastructure in place should he run. But what about that little Southwest problem?
As I’ve noted before, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is getting some chatter.
He’s jumped on the national stage and was actually helped by his survival in winning big in a recall election last year.
He could outshine other Democrats by touting that he has imposed a progressive agenda in the state.
But, he would likely be unelectable in a general election, when looking at the decline of California. Moreover, a big question is: would he challenge Harris, a fellow San Francisco politician?
The answer is likely yes. He’s ambitious and would seize an opening if he thought he had a decent chance at the nomination.
While we’re on governors, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker could be strong.
He’s made the talk-show rounds after the mass shooting in his state on July 4, and dropped hints at going national; Illinois is a big state. Pritzker is a big politician, both in girth and wealth. He’s a billionaire and could potentially finance much of his campaign while his opponents are chasing donations.
Governors have historically been better presidential candidates – Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. However, there is also a record to consider.
Pritzker has the same problem as Newsom. A lot more people are moving out of both California and Illinois than are moving in.
We can’t let this one pass without a little speculation.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whatever one thinks of her, has a following.
While she often proves to be a punchline, she seems to have taken up the Trumpian view that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Since nothing is stopping her from running for her safe House seat, if she loses the presidential primary, she could go for it.
A more likely candidate from the same ilk as AOC is Rep. Ro Khanna of California.
Yep, this is shaping up to be heavy on Californians.
Khanna has been aggressively pushing himself into the national spotlight by going after oil companies and holding investigative hearings. He was a co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in 2016, so he might take up that mantle. That is if Sanders does run.
We end with a long shot. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was touted as a potential Democratic candidate for 2024.
The selling point was that as a red state governor, he would be a strong general election candidate, and would return to the days of Bill Clinton’s centrist coalition.
Beshear has worked with a Republican legislature and gained some national attention for his handling of COVID-19 in the state.
Democrats have traditionally had a better history of nominating long shots than Republicans—before 2016 anyway.
However, Beshear says he won’t, and already filed to run for a second term as governor in 2023. To effectively run for president, he’d have to spend most of 2023 doing it.
That said, if Biden announced he won’t run, many politicians will change their plans. Beshear might decide not to attempt to renew his day job.
Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.”