It would be a longshot race and could tear the Democrat Party in two, but could progressive darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seize the initiative and mount a guerrilla campaign for president in 2024 against Joe Biden?
Last summer it looked like AOC would have a shot. President Joe Biden was reeling in the polls due to high gas prices, inflation, and other maladies. Some Democrats, fearing a drubbing in the November midterms, actually were considering nominating someone else for president in 2024. Would AOC do it, and who else could challenge Biden?
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This scenario seems less likely now, after the Democrats performed better than expected in the 2022 midterm elections. AOC is not being mentioned as much for president in 2024. However, she may run for the Senate against junior New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is up for re-election in 2024.
There will be much speculation about the future of AOC’s career, but the Senate is a likelier target for her. She may be getting bored in the House. As a member of the minority with MAGA Republicans on the House Rules Committee, any future legislation sponsored by AOC will see a certain death and add to her frustration.
Gavin Newsom’s Priorities
Another progressive who is mentioned for president in 2024 is California Gov. Gavin Newsom. He has repeatedly said he would not run against Biden, and he is setting himself up for 2028 instead. Plus, Newsom has a mess on his hands in his home state. California has a budget shortfall, and there are glaring amounts of crime and homelessness in the state’s big cities. Newsom certainly has the ambition and is improving his name identification with various advertisements he has run in red states such as Texas and Florida.
Bernie Sanders Had His Shot Against Joe Biden
That leaves socialist Bernie Sanders as a progressive challenger. Sanders has run for president twice and lost. He performed better than expected in the primaries and drew numerous young people, new voters, and those who had no political experience to support his campaigns. But the moment for Sanders has faded. He is beloved by Democrats for taking the fight to the Republicans for many years, but he is 81 years old. That’s a year older than Joe Biden, and the party is searching for youth and minorities now, priorities put in evidence by the House Democrats’ choice for leader. Hakeem Jeffries is African-American and only 52. Not as young as AOC, Jeffries is nevertheless a fresh face and full of vigor.
Kamala Harris Falls Out of the Conversation
A 2028 primary between Gavin Newsom and AOC would be interesting. I don’t see Vice President Kamala Harris as a factor against these two. She already faltered in her own campaign for president and has struggled in the number two role.
Newsom Versus AOC
A matchup between AOC and Newsom would be an East-West contest. AOC is probably better known, but Newsom would have more executive experience, as the New York congresswoman lacks the knowledge of running a large organization. She could win election to the Senate in 2024 and run for president from that perch in 2028. Newsom could work on his national stature and build a cross-country fundraising network for his own 2028 push.
Thus, Newsom and AOC are likely to bide their time and stay out of a race for president against Joe Biden, who is seen as the leader of the Democratic Party. Newsom and AOC will have to wait, while Sanders has less influence and lacks a spring in his step. All three would likely have a higher approval rating than Harris. The progressive moment for president won’t happen until 2028.
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.