The DNC Could Dump Joe Biden – But It Wouldn’t Be Easy – Two-thirds of Democrat-leaning voters don’t want to see President Joe Biden to run for a second term, a CNN poll released last month found. Biden remains unpopular with a majority of Americans in other polls, and voters are hesitant about the president’s age – as he’ll be 82 on Election Day 2024.
Only 33 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters were enthusiastic about a second Biden term.
Should the DNC consider running a different candidate, and could they?
Like a lot of relationships these days, it’s complicated!
The List of Losers
To date, 16 sitting presidents sought reelection bu t were defeated in their bids for a second term. That list includes John Adams (1800), John Quincy Adams (1828), Martin Van Buren (1840), John Tyler (1844), Millard Fillmore (1852), Franklin Pierce (1856), Andrew Johnson (1868), Chester A. Arthur (1884), Grover Cleveland (1888), Benjamin Harrison (1892), William H. Taft (1912), Herbert Hoover (1932), Gerald Ford (1976), Jimmy Carter (1980), George H.W. Bush (1992), and Donald J. Trump (2020).
The DNC certainly wouldn’t like to see that number increase to 17, so perhaps there is a good reason to replace Biden.
These Presidents Were Denied a Chance By Their Parties
Should the Democrats seek to run a different candidate, it wouldn’t be the first time that a U.S. political party said no to the president even before voters were given a chance to cast their ballots.
Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Johnson, and Arthur were all denied their party’s nomination.
Tyler and Fillmore were both “accidental presidents” – ascending the office after Presidents William Henry Harrison and Zachery Taylor respectively died in office – and neither of these vice presidents was arguably up for the job. Both were unpopular with the Whig Party, and in Tyler’s case he even attempted to return to his old Democratic party, but they didn’t want him either!
Franklin Pierce actually was the only person elected president not to receive the nomination for a second term. Though he actually expected to be renominated by the Democrats, his party saw that his chances of winning a second term were slim at best. Unliked in the North, the Democrats saw his electoral vulnerability and opted for James Buchanan – who then failed to keep the nation from heading to Civil War.
Johnson was another accidental president, perhaps even more so, as he was selected to be President Abraham Lincoln’s running mate to unify and heal the country. He ascended the office after Lincoln’s assassination, and while he remained popular among Southern whites, he had the stain of being the first president to be impeached and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate. Johnson was defeated for the nomination at the 1868 Democratic National Convention on the 22nd ballot, receiving just four votes, all from his home state of Tennessee!
Following the assassination of James A. Garfield, Arthur ascended to the presidency, but like the other accidental presidents, he wasn’t really up for the job. But unlike the others on this list, Arthur realized that he didn’t have the support of the party, in his case the Republicans and he decided against a serious campaign, while he kept up a token effort.
Could Biden be Replaced – Not Really
So far, no Democrat challenger has stepped up to be an alternative to Joe Biden – and already several of the most high-profile names have pledged to support the president. With the primary season less than four months away, it seems like time is truly running out.
The only “serious” challenger for the nomination, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has announced he’ll run as an independent – a move that actually plays in Biden’s favor as he could take votes away from Trump.
It is important to note that the filing deadline for Nevada, the earliest in the country, has passed and 14 more states have filing deadlines before the end of the year. That makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to challenge Biden in the primaries.
As such, Biden will appear on the primary ballot and is by far the most likely candidate to win the nomination. Yet, the current commander-in-chief could still opt to step down. The Democratic Party would then be forced to elect a candidate at its convention next year. It would be unprecedented in the modern era, to say the least
In other words, the window for the DNC to replace Biden is rapidly closing.
Biden thus won’t join the ranks of Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Johnson, and Arthur, unless he chooses to step out of the race. However, Biden could still become the 17th president who was denied a second term.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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