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Democrats Dissing New Hampshire: Biden Will Regret It

The panicked left calls Biden’s snub “political malpractice.”

One of the things a struggling president seeking re-election would seem certain to avoid is showing disrespect to the first group of voters prepared to cast their ballots for him. Nevertheless, Joe Biden, who was just jolted with a rock-bottom 33% approval in the latest poll by ABC News, has done exactly that to the people of New Hampshire. He announced months ago that he would shatter long-standing tradition in exchange for personal nostalgia by skipping the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary in favor of South Carolina, where his all-but-dead-and-buried campaign was resuscitated by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in 2020.

Evidently, Biden expected the New Hampshire Democratic Party to roll over and accept its fate. But removing the contest – and resulting attention – that has distinguished the state politically for decades was decried by Granite State Democrats, some or perhaps many of whom will vent their disapproval at the ballot box Tuesday in what has been deemed by the Democratic National Committee an unsanctioned primary. Meanwhile, the Republicans go about their merry way, garnering headlines for their contests in Iowa and New Hampshire as Biden strategists sit nervously on the sidelines.

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1At the same time, Biden wants to have it both ways, of course, by doing nothing to prevent an aggressive write-in campaign on his behalf, heavily funded by a PAC outside New Hampshire, hoping to avoid the outright humiliation of being outdistanced by new-age guru Marianne Williamson and/or little-known Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN). Perhaps it never occurred to the incumbent that anyone would dare challenge him, making the Granite State easy to skip. But unlike the many Democrats grumbling in panic behind the scenes about Biden falling further behind Donald Trump, Rep. Phillips was willing to put his money where most Democrats’ mouths have been, entering the race for the sole purpose of sending a desperate message that Biden is too old – and feeble – to prevail in November.

New Hampshire: Yet Another Problem for Beleaguered Biden

Recent polls show Phillips registering in low double digits, Williamson at 5%, and Biden at 59% in the Granite State, according to the Real Clear Politics average. If Biden remains at the same level of support, he will simply get a win everybody expected with little effect or notice. But if the two challengers can combine to hold the incumbent under 50%, it will generate humiliating headlines for a president already on the ropes. Phillips’ campaign director Jeff Weaver spins it that his man “has a better chance at this point of beating Joe Biden than Nikki Haley does of beating Donald Trump … [Biden strategists] say they’re not here but they’re here and they’re very, very afraid they’re going to lose here.” Indeed, Biden’s decision to skip New Hampshire has no upside and a potentially chastening downside. The nation’s oldest left-wing publication, The Nation, echoed the sentiments of many on the left in headlining Biden’s move “political malpractice” based on the rather basic premise that “avoiding a battleground-state primary is not smart politics.”

GettyImages-1948289507 Dean Phillips

Dean Phillips (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Kathy Sullivan, is still stunned by her state’s snub, complaining to The Nation that “No one in Washington stopped to think that this could create a big problem for the incumbent president … “What if the president loses the first primary? Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be? What if he doesn’t get a majority of the vote? Do you think that won’t be mentioned in the media? Republicans wouldn’t stop talking about it.”

As if that lapse in judgment and potential embarrassment wasn’t perilous enough for the free-falling president, there is now an urgent campaign by leftists in New Hampshire to write in the word “cease-fire” instead of Biden. And why not? The burning passion of the left on the issue of the Israel War has continued unabated since October 7, and there are no signs activists in the movement will return to supporting Biden. The chants of “from the River to the Sea” and the particularly cruel “Genocide Joe” will continue to ring out among those unrelenting souls bitterly opposed to this president’s instinctive and aggressive defense of Israel.

What a mess.

New Hampshire: Political Graveyard for Unpopular Democratic Presidents

New Hampshire has already proven to be a political burial ground for unpopular Democratic presidents. Harry Truman ended his 1952 re-election campaign after getting beaten in the Granite State primary. Lyndon Johnson, brought low by the Vietnam War and like Biden running strictly as a write-in, came close enough to losing in 1968 that he soon announced his withdrawal from the race. And in 1980, incumbent Jimmy Carter barely fended off a challenge from Ted Kennedy, beating him by ten points in New Hampshire on his way to a landslide defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan. Those episodes that still haunt Democrats stand as a reminder of how badly things can go off the rails right out of the starting gate for a president in decline.

Joe Biden had been written off as a serious candidate four years ago after finishing fourth in Iowa and then fifth in New Hampshire with a pitiable 8% of the vote. But Clyburn successfully threw his weight around, joining forces with the Democratic National Committee to force the remaining “moderate” candidates out of the race and generate a head-to-head match between Biden and Bernie Sanders in South Carolina and beyond. Clyburn was rewarded with the first primary of the presidential election season – likely a condition for his support in 2020. But at this point, that stands as, at best, a pyrrhic victory and, at worst, a distinct embarrassment, for as the saying goes, the emperor is in danger of demonstrating that he has no clothes.

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