As the 2024 presidential campaign cycle looms on the horizon beyond the November midterms, there is an abundance of speculation on both sides of the political divide, regarding potential White House nominees. However, the Democratic Party does have one definite contender, like it or not – and that is President Biden. He has insisted that he’s running for reelection in 2024, but his fellow party members have refrained from supporting his decision. With embarrassingly low approval ratings and an upcoming 80th birthday, the president may not be the best the Democrats can put forward.
Democratic Party Fractures
Perhaps even more so than among Republicans, prominent Democrats vary in their stances on policy. Far-left progressives such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are potential contenders – in contrast to more traditional Democrats such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. However, if President Biden definitely runs, fewer challengers are expected. For example, Sanders said he would not run if Joe Biden did.
Obviously, the bottom line for the Democratic Party is finding someone who can beat the Republican candidate. However, there is no clarity on who that could be either. Former President Trump, Florida Governor DeSantis, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are all potential GOP candidates. Yet, could Biden win, no matter which Republican opposes him? His own party doesn’t seem to think so.
A Sinking Ship
Big-name Democrat politicians are not explicitly stating that they do not think Biden should run or do not want him to. Most have simply avoided questions regarding the manner or have discussed it with a monotone, apathetic attitude.
When asked their thoughts, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Sen. Manchin (D-WV) claimed they’re more focused on the present and the 2022 midterms. Rep. Craig (D-MN) said last week, “I would say we need new leaders in Washington up and down the ballot in the Democratic Party.” Her fellow Minnesota representative, Dean Philips, took what Craig said even further: “I think the country would be well-served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats who step up,” when asked if he would support President Biden’s reelection campaign.
Do people want drastic leadership changes, not only for the Democrats but Republicans too? In polling conducted by the Associated Press on Americans ages 15 to 34, 79% said leaders from their generation would do a better job running the country. Most were disinterested in voting for a candidate described as a lifelong politician.
Winning Back Young Americans
In another poll by Harvard from last year, the majority of young Americans shared they were more fearful than hopeful about the future of this country. The current president does exceptionally poorly in approval ratings with young people. He has lost millennials and Gen Z voters, and his likelihood of winning them back as the economy continues to show little sign of improvement is slim to none.
Some younger Americans struggle with the idea that older, wealthier politicians can effectively lead this country when they are so out of touch with modern American life. With technology significantly advancing each year, is it appropriate for politicians like Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), who can recall life before the internet, to be responsible for crafting social media and technology policy?
The current Congress is one of the oldest in U.S. history. The average House member’s age is 58, while the average senator’s age is 62, with leaders in both parts of Congress well into their 70s and 80s. President Biden seems to be everything young Americans don’t want: a lifelong politician who is out of touch with the reality of America – especially when it comes to economic reality and the destructive effects of inflation – and who is set to turn 80 in November.
With an approval rating consistently hovering around a mere 40%, Biden may have become a political liability just at a time when young Americans want new, younger leadership. Although the White House is adamant that the president will run again, and it would be somewhat embarrassing for him not to, it appears more and more obvious that Democrats – elected officials and voters alike – are hoping he doesn’t.