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Let us pause on this holiday weekend (Father’s Day today, Juneteenth tomorrow) to bask in the glory that is our supremely eloquent president:
How can anyone think this can go on much longer?
If you look around very closely, you can find a few perceptive Democrats who are worried that Democrats aren’t just looking at a bad election this year, but also in 2024, when the Senate map is much less favorable to Democrats than this year, and perhaps beyond 2024. Looking at Biden’s weakness, the slippage among hispanic voters, and the unpopularity of the progressive agenda that the media and the faculty lounges won’t let Democrats abandon, a few worried liberals fear the Republican Party may be on the cusp of a decade-long run of political dominance, not unlike the dominance Democrats enjoyed in the long New Deal era. (Apply the usual caveats on how the GOP can and likely will blow it, but save that for another time.)
Hence here’s the latest media recognition of this grim scenario for Democrats, in the Wall Street Journal:
Democratic insiders in Washington and key primary states expect President Biden to follow through on his intention to stand for re-election and appear to have little appetite for casting him aside, though they expressed concerns about his advanced age and persistently low poll numbers. . .
Plummeting approval ratings, a stalled legislative agenda and surging inflation have fueled questions about whether Democrats would be better off in 2024 with a different standard-bearer. Roughly half of all adults and one-third of Democrats in a March Wall Street Journal poll said they didn’t think Mr. Biden would run again, with many citing his age as the main argument against him running. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll last week found 40% of 2020 Biden voters said he shouldn’t run again compared with 37% who said he should, a reversal from a month earlier.
The fun is only beginning:
Key Democrats also said they doubted many top-tier candidates would try to push Vice President Kamala Harris aside if Mr. Biden chose not to run, and early polls suggest she would likely be the initial front-runner in such an event. But her own poll numbers aren’t better than Mr. Biden’s, and Democrats have mixed views of how strong she would be leading a ticket.
Who else have they got? This one is really fun:
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a weekend trip to New Hampshire, the state that typically hosts the second nominating contest in the presidential primary, after Iowa’s caucuses. He gave the keynote address at the state Democratic Party’s annual convention Saturday and on Friday attended its splashy annual fundraiser.
Pritzker? He’s less appealing than Jabba the Hutt, and it’s unlikely that “progressive” Democrats could really embrace a billionaire. It goes against their DNA.
On the other side of the partisan ledger, I have a sense, for which a number of anecdotes as well as some survey data are starting to accumulate, that Donald Trump is slowly losing his iron grip on the Republican electorate, or at the very least that other possible nominees could be just as effective at attracting the marginalized voters that propelled Trump to victory in 2016, and might even be able to beat Trump in a primary contest. Keep your eye on a certain governor of Florida, who at last check had raised a staggering $160 million for his re-election campaign this year. Those are presidential campaign numbers.
We’re sure to discuss and debate this question a lot over the next year and half, right up to the moment he decides whether he’s a candidate for 2024, or decides instead to rededicate himself to his golf game.