Ed Kilgore, a veteran Democratic strategist and progressive policy wonk, has a must read piece in NY Magazine. He coldly analyzes the pros and cons of Biden running for re-election and seems to pin his 80th birthday (Nov 20) as the day of decision for Democrats. This day comes 12 days after the midterms and if the Democrats lose as many seats as they are projected to and lose the Senate, it could be the day other Democrats start openly preparing for primary challenges or a pressure campaign to get Biden to step down.
Kilgore crunches the numbers and they are not good:
There’s not much ambiguity when you look at the poll’s internals, either. Liberals want a different nominee by a 78-21 margin, but so do moderates by a 72-28 margin. Seventy-eight percent of white Democrats want a new standard-bearer, but so do 73 percent of Democratic people of color. Sure, older folks like Uncle Joe more than younger folks, but even 69 percent of Democrats over the age of 45 want a different 2024 nominee. There’s just no silver lining in the numbers.
I added those italics for emphasis, just so the message is clear. This is a reality based blog and I think it is critical we make our decisions based on empirical evidence and not blind belief. This should be the thing that separates modern liberals from whatever has become of American conservatives. Biden is lower than any other president was at this point in his term, including Carter and Trump. A recession in 2023 is very likely and we know how the 91’ recession cratered HW Bush’s post-Gulf War approval ratings and made him a one term president. If Biden continues to poll below 35% for another year, the reality is he cannot get re-elected.
This should concern all of us especially as the prospect of a second Trump term or a first DeSantis term is becoming more and more likely. We cannot assume the Jan 6 cavalry will save us. We cannot bank on Joe Manchin saving us (although his about face or 3-D chess move was a huge shot in the arm to the administration).
So we have to have two parallel thoughts. We should do everything in our power to raise these approval ratings and support the President. This means calling recalcitrant Democratic lawmakers to support his agenda and working tirelessly on behalf of midterm candidates for the House and Senate. It also means getting ready now think about which alternative candidate can quickly win the nomination, unite the party, and pivot to another bruising primary against Donald Trump or one of his many neofascist clones in the Republican Party. Wishful thinking won’t beat back the Republicans any better.