Opinion | What could almost ensure that Biden will face a serious primary challenge
Whether or not Joe Biden is a viable 2024 Democratic presidential candidate depends on three important factors.
By Arick Wierson, Emmy Award-winning television producer and communications consultant and Bradley Honan, CEO of Honan Strategy Group, a polling and analytics firm
Following the various setbacks and missteps by the Biden administration, talk among Democrats that President Joe Biden should step aside to let a younger, more nimble politician lead the party into the 2024 election cycle is increasingly out in the open.
Pouring a bit of gasoline on this simmering debate within the party is Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said Wednesday that it is “certainly possible” that Biden will face a Democratic primary challenge ahead of 2024. Then came some eyebrow-raising comments on the very same day by Vice President Kamala Harris. During a flight aboard Air Force Two, the vice president said that “the president intends to run and if he does, I will be his ticket-mate” — the “if” in her remark fueling fresh speculation that a second Biden bid might not be such a sure thing.
But it’s not just elected officials who are questioning whether Biden should or will throw his hat in the ring for a repeat — recent polling by YouGov suggests that as few as 4 in 10 Democrats are convinced he should run again in 2024. Biden, for his part, has apparently become increasingly irritated by fellow members of his party who regularly bring up the matter of him stepping aside while at the same time working overtime to sell his viability for a Round #2 to party leaders.
So, will he or won’t he run again 2024? That depends on three crucial issues and one “X-Factor” — all of which will pretty much play themselves out in the coming months.
First, there is Biden’s approval rating. Right now it sits below 40%. For a president in the modern era, that’s pretty much rock bottom, and reflects a widespread view that Biden has not been leading the country in the right direction.
To be fair, he has accomplished several important things since taking office, such as building an international coalition to fight Vladimir Putin in Ukraine while keeping China on the sidelines. His aggressive push to get more people in the U.S. vaccinated has also been a huge success — 67% of the population are now fully vaccinated, and 78% have received at least one dose. Another major win was his signing into law the first major gun safety measure in more than 30 years. And finally, perhaps most importantly, Biden has returned a sense of normalcy to the presidency after the tumultuous Trump era.
However, in other key areas, the president has failed to meet the moment by not adequately addressing important kitchen table issues across the country. His anemic response to concerns about rising gas prices has been a point of contention that cuts across party lines, as have his plans for combating inflation, of which now nearly 3 in 4 Americans disapprove, according to an ABC News poll.