Prominent members of the Democratic Party are lining up behind President Joe Biden to endorse his reelection campaign – not because they think Biden is a worthy option, but because they dread a likely alternative: Kamala Harris winning the Democratic nomination and former Donald Trump, subsequently, winning the presidency.
The notion is becoming widespread but remains hush-hush.
Democrats are reluctant to air their fears publicly.
“Nobody wants to be the one to do something that would undermine the chances of a Democratic victory in 2024,” Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) told POLITICO a few months back.
“Yet in quiet rooms the conversation is just the opposite – we could be at a higher risk if this path is cleared.”
Phillips is one of the only Democrats openly acknowledging the growing sentiment within the party.
Phillips has been calling for Democrats to turn to a new generation for leadership.
Yet, few have rallied to Phillips’s cause.
Instead, most have “fallen in line behind” the Biden 2024 run.
“It’s fear, plain and simple,” Phillips explained, referring to the hesitancy of Democrats to call for a new nominee, and the unwillingness of prospective candidates to step forward.
“People are focused on self-preservation and their aspirations.”
Joe Biden is too old for a second term
I have been writing about Biden’s age for months. He’s too old to serve a second term. He’s already 80. He appears to be on the decline.
A second term would last through Biden’s 86th birthday. An 86-year-old president? It’s an absurd premise. The US life expectancy for a male is 76 years old. Biden is already four years past the life expectancy. Are we going to bank on Biden living ten years past life expectancy?
That’s what would be required in order for Biden to survive a second term. And what about campaigning? Is Biden cut out for the rigors of running the country, while campaigning full-heartedly, traveling from coast to coast, speaking publicly, shaking hands? A presidential campaign is a lot to ask of an octogenarian.
Phillips feels similarly. “If he were 15-20 years younger it would be a no-brainer to nominate him, but considering his age, it’s absurd we’re not promoting competition but trying to extinguish it.”
Kamala Harris is a poor alternative
As Phillips indicates, Democrats are willing to stand behind a sub-standard, geriatric candidate because the alternative is worse.
Vice President Kamala Harris’s tenure as Biden’s subordinate has not gone well. Harris’s popularity is low.
She has failed to make any trackable progress on immigration or voting rights reform – two big-ticket items Biden assigned Harris. And throughout Harris’s tenure as vice president, rumors have persisted that she is a horrible boss, whose deep-set insecurities and willingness to lash out at underlings, has made for a toxic office culture.
The result has been a staff exodus; Harris’s office is beset with high turnover, prompting observers to wonder whether the turnover is hampering productivity.
Whatever the full reason, Harris is unpopular. So much so that Democrats are unwilling to promote an alternative to their 80-year-old incumbent for fear that Harris, from her vice presidential loft, would be well poised to earn the nomination – which would likely lead to the election of Donald Trump.
Actually, Democrats have such little confidence in Harris, that some observers are asking whether she should be included on the ticket at all; in an election with an octogenarian, increased scrutiny will be applied to the vice president, who runs a higher than average chance of one day replacing a deceased president.
The mere premise of Kamala Harris waiting in the wings, as a contingent in case of Biden’s demise, is causing some Democrats to go mad.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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