It’s no secret there’s an unusual move by the Democrats to position party favorites to ascend as the chosen one, not if, but when, President Joe Biden is either pressured or pushed out of office. Helen Keller could see the seismic shift underway just seven months into the current administration. Of course, it’s too early for anyone to make this much effort for 2028. But the time is right for 2024.
Vice President Kamala Harris is under the wing of some high-powered and monied women strategists and influencers. Still, she may want to take a glance in the rear-view mirror as someone else is capturing the attention of the activist media and the party faithful. Pete Buttigieg, secretary of transportation, is on Harris’ left flank and attempting to pass thanks to his prestigious promotional road trips touting his boss’ infrastructure package. One might say another faction of the new socialist-progressive-Democratic Party is vying to control the 2024 ticket. It certainly wouldn’t be a first if Biden stays put and declares for 2024 while Harris and Buttigieg then challenge a sitting president. But it would be interesting.
These five incumbent presidents fell to their party’s personality and issue squabbles:
- John Tyler (Whig)
- Millard Fillmore (Whig)
- Franklin Pierce (D)
- Andrew Johnson (D)
- Chester A. Arthur (R)
The American voter can be a fickle lot.
A Tale of Two Strategies
The former South Bend, IN, mayor appeared to materialize out of the ether to round out a colorful skin-hued and alternative-to-the-norm gaggle of candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Frankly, he smoked then-candidate Harris (not while listening to Snoop Dogg) and stayed in the running to nearly the bitter end. Harris serendipitously ending up in her position was nothing more than bringing a body back from the dead by the party bigwigs wanting excellent optics as promised – a woman of color. Harris did not have the steam or confidence to end up in the number two spot on her own.
Buttigieg’s lack of a national political reputation intrigued the electorate, somewhat like former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. He served with honor in the military. His countenance is young, energetic, and friendly, and he is the original openly gay candidate for president. And for a novice, the man is a natural at public speaking. Buttigieg is likable. And for the most part, he hasn’t done anything memorable one way or the other. A similar lack of information is partly why former President Barack Obama was elected. There was no hot trail of corruption, mean behavior, infidelity, or financial malfeasance to hammer home on the six o’clock news.
Kamala Harris is decidedly unlikable but in a more prominent position. She may have street cred for putting thousands of black citizens in the California penal system. Still, now saddled with the two most explosive issues of the last administration and 2020 election, she appears out of her league. Did Biden’s advisers hang the border crisis and voting rights around her neck like a noose or a string of pearls? And are Democrats willingly grooming both members of the Biden Cabinet to challenge Scranton Joe?
Elevate, Isolate, Terminate
Within a few months, Harris, Buttigieg, or Biden will begin to campaign in earnest. And that might entail a retreat to the basement and heavily scripted, heartfelt success-story spiels, for one. Suppose Harris takes her position seriously and begins to follow the orders given by the women progressives of the party. What appears now as a stylish hemp necktie could instead be the VP’s latest gemstone accessory. But competence and popularity often do not go together – and the guy who charmed his way into voters’ hearts during the Iowa caucuses, embarrassingly beating Biden, is now heralding a near bipartisan victory as the go-to guy on infrastructure. And that’s a heck of a gift laid at the base of those Cole Haan penny loafers.
But do they have the audacity and cojones to run against a sitting president of their own party?
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.