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An Early Look at Potential Biden Replacements in 2024

Posted on Monday, May 9, 2022
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by Daniel Berman
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AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

With Joe Biden fading almost by the day, discussion is ongoing within the Democratic Party and the country over whether Biden will even be on the ballot in 2024. Biden insists he will be, but the very fact that he felt the need to make clear to Barack Obama that he plans to run again is evidence of the doubts around the prospect. His supposed justification for running again is that he “thinks he is the only one who can beat Trump.” The implication is clear: Biden is only saying he will run because he believes there is no one else.

But is that true? It is worth profiling the candidates.

The Unacceptable Heir Apparent – Kamala Harris

If Biden believes, as a source told the Hill, that he is the only one who can beat Trump, it is an indictment of his Vice President, Kamala Harris. It suggests that Biden believes that she cannot beat Donald Trump or that no one who can is capable of beating her in the primary. Harris has had a rocky tenure as Vice President, with polling numbers that make Biden look popular. The broader problem she faces is that the President’s lack of confidence in her ability to step into the presidency appears to be shared widely across the political spectrum.

When it comes to Harris, for most Democrats, it is not a question of whether they think she is a good candidate or can even win, but whether it is possible to get rid of her. If not, then Biden has to run.

It is easy to list her liabilities. A polarizing figure from one of the most left-wing states in the nation, Harris oversaw a dysfunctional campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The infighting and toxic work environment have carried over to a Vice President’s office that continues to hemorrhage staff, most recently the deputy chief of staff.

On average, Harris polls around 3-4% worse than Biden. She would undoubtedly struggle in a general election in which she would be unappealing on both personal and ideological grounds. But it would be dangerous to suggest she would stand no chance. Al Gore polled horrifically as vice president, often 15% or more behind Republican candidates, before effectively tying George W. Bush in the 2000 general election.

The problem for the Democratic Party is that displacing Harris would cut strongly against the party base’s commitment to promoting African American women in public life—a commitment exemplified by Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, which was instrumental in his victory in the South Carolina primary.

No Democrat seeking the presidency wishes to provoke the ire of a Democratic electorate tightly in the grip of identity politics. These challenges will confront anyone who runs against Harris for the nomination. The strategy adopted by her detractors appears to be a coordinated campaign of leaks to keep her from running in the first place—either by forcing her to forgo presidential ambitions voluntarily or by convincing the wider Democratic electorate that there is no choice but to abandon her.

The Challenger in his own mind – Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete, the Secretary of Transportation, seems to genuinely believe that he is engaged in a power struggle within the administration with Vice President Harris for the succession. Outside of the Beltway press corps, which may simply be enjoying the leaks, the only other person convinced Pete Buttigieg is a credible challenger to Harris, much less a possible general election winner in 2024, is Harris herself, whose paranoia about Buttigieg may explain why Biden is reportedly pushing the idea.

Stepping away from the media bubble, Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of 50,000, and may or may not have won a single state in a caucus. He was a McKinsey analyst who left before age 30, usually a tell-tale sign of a failure to make it into management, especially with a Harvard pedigree. He combines all of the social elitism of Democrats that comes with an Ivy League degree and a stint at McKinsey with a managerial approach to centrism which will offend both left and right. The right will see in him the same sort of technocrat who shut down the country for COVID. The left will see him as a corporatist with little chance for African American support.

Why, then, is he being pushed as a potential contender? A possibility is that Biden is hoping that by encouraging Pete to go after Kamala, there is a chance the two might eliminate each other. And Buttigieg is either vain or foolish enough to go along thinking he may come out on top. But it does not seem likely that Buttigieg is anymore a viable successor than Harris.

The Queen Across the Water (Or on Martha’s Vineyard) – Michelle Obama

Suppose Mayor Pete lacks appeal to a major faction of the party base and reminds millions of voters of their most annoying college roommate, all while discarding Kamala risks offending women and African Americans. In that case, there is one figure who provides an answer to both problems. Such an obvious answer is that she will likely become the center of Democratic fantasies and a major draft campaign. That is Michelle Obama, the former first lady.

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Democrats are nostalgic for the Obama years when they won Florida, Iowa, and Ohio twice. As the Democratic Party has been taken over by mediocrities or woke extremists, Obama has loomed larger as the last symbol of the party before the storm. Barack Obama cannot run again, but his wife could, and it makes sense that many would fantasize about her running to reclaim her husband’s crown and save the party from its troubles.

The problem is that Democrats yearn for Michelle to save them as an alternative to trying to save themselves. The appeal lies in Michelle Obama, the symbol, not the real woman who was divisive and far from universally popular when her husband was president. That is likely to make the fantasy more of an excuse not to reckon with the choices available than an alternative.

It is unlikely but not impossible Michelle Obama will run. But if she does, the reality will be less impressive than the myth. For one thing, Michelle Obama has shown little inclination to put in the work required on the political side. She has rarely campaigned for candidates or raised money. The impression is that while she might accept a draft for the nomination if it was offered to her, she would only consent to run in the event it was uncontested. This is not a unique problem; it has afflicted “savior” candidates going back to Wesley Clark in 2004 and Rick Perry in 2012. They polled well until they announced and then imploded when it became clear they only announced because they had polled so well they assumed they would not have to campaign at all.

Nonetheless, as 2024 approaches, expect chatter about Michelle to increase exponentially. The idea is far more appealing than that of Harris or Pete Buttigieg.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis

The above candidates are those with a national profile and base. If Biden does not run and Kamala Harris does, the odds are that only Buttigieg and Michelle Obama could realistically contest Harris, and only Obama has any real chance of success. If, however, Harris is removed from the scene, either by her own decision or through some intrigues on the part of Biden, then the field is open to a wider set of candidates. As a whole, Democrats are still suffering from the loss of an entire generation of up-and-coming “Red State” politicians in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Nonetheless, they have a few governors who might be viable candidates – perhaps chief among them Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

It is interesting to compare Jared Polis to Pete Buttigieg, and not just because they are both gay. That is about the only thing they have in common. While Buttigieg worked as an analyst for McKinsey and never advanced, Polis founded his own company at 21 while still in college, selling it for $750 million in 1999 at the ripe old age of 24. Not content to be a young millionaire, he founded a second company, ProFlowers, with the famed Arthur Laffer, the inventor of the Laffer curve, which informed Reagan’s tax cuts, selling it for nearly half a billion in 2005. He served a decade in Congress before being elected Governor of Colorado in 2009.

As Governor, Polis broke with Democratic orthodoxy on COVID-19, suggesting that there was no justification for further restrictions once vaccines were available and that safety was ultimately an individual choice. Polis is without a doubt left-wing, but he breaks with party orthodoxy on issues where it is unpopular, unlike Harris, and he has genuine accomplishments, unlike Buttigieg. He seems likely to cruise for reelection in a state about as blue as Virginia when it elected Glenn Youngkin.

Polis would probably be on the liberal side to win a general election, but if Democrats wanted a liberal and gay candidate, they could do a whole lot worse. His advantage in a primary would be close links with the tech sector as well as a Western base.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Whitmer has perhaps a less liberal policy record overall than Polis, but she is far more abrasive. If Democrats are dead set on a female candidate from a Midwestern state, Whitmer appears to have a substantial following. She gained national attention following a kidnapping plot that ended in no convictions for the accused and serious allegations against the FBI. Michigan will be key in any general election.

Whitmer’s major challenge, however, will be winning reelection. That will not be easy. Biden is deep underwater and, unlike Polis, Whitmer locked down her state hard rather than trying to reach a consensus with local governments, which allowed Republican areas to pursue their own course. If she wins, expect her to be the rapid favorite of the national media looking for a female who can win back the heartland for Democrats.

Kentucky Governor Andrew Beshear

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Democrats dreamed of a red state governor, preferably with a southern twang, who would rescue the party from its identification with coastal elites. Over the last decade, the breed has nearly gone extinct. Just three Southern Democrats remain as governors: John Bell Edwards in Louisiana, who is disqualified due to his pro-life convictions even if he was not engulfed in a law enforcement coverup; Roy Cooper of North Carolina, whose profile is held down by the weakness of the governor’s office in the face of a Republican legislature and Democratic frustration with North Carolina’s trends; and Andrew Beshear, the Governor of Kentucky who defeated a GOP incumbent in 2019, and despite a GOP legislature which can override his vetoes by a simple majority, has managed to earn widespread popularity. Morning Consult recently had him at a 59%-36% approval rating.

Beshear would likely have issues breaking through in a primary, especially as Polis and the candidates with coastal bases would find it easier to raise money. But the idea of the Governor of Kentucky heading the ticket would nonetheless appeal to panicked Democrats, and that by itself will provide him with an audience. His father, also a governor, was responsible for setting up a state healthcare exchange under Obamacare, which many Democrats see as a model nationally.

The Field

There are, of course, other candidates. AOC will still be too young to run in 2024, and it is hard to see other members of the Squad running as more than promotional schemes. As for the Senate, it is full of those who see themselves as future presidents, but the unpopularity of the institution among Democrats who wish to see it abolished, along with the perception that Senate Democrats have been ineffective, will hurt their appeal in the same way GOP senators struggled in the 2016 primaries. Finally, the leading Senators are getting old. Elizabeth Warren will be 75. Amy Klobuchar will be 64.

Regardless of who earns the Democratic nomination in 2024, they will likely face stiff competition from the Republican candidate – Donald Trump or otherwise. With unified control for the first time in more than a decade, Democrats have proven themselves both extreme on policy and woefully incompetent at governing. The Democratic primary contest may thus already largely be a battle for second place in the race for the White House.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.

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Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Excellent.

If President Trump doesn’t run either, it will be that times 2.

TIKA
TIKA
2 years ago

a wooden indian would be more useful the byeden.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Of the potential candidates mentioned in this article, Beshear would be the strongest in a general election but the person who emerges in 2024 is more likely to be someone on nobodies radar screen in 2022.

They can trot out a “progressive” from the Sanders camp in 2024 but that would be political suicide.

Janet
Janet
2 years ago

Strange, awkward headline to this article. In particular is, the word “replacement.”

No political journalist worth his salt would use that word. The correct phrase would be, of which primary contenders would Joe Biden be likely to face, were he to run, again?

Seems as though this article would have been written by a government insider, not a bone fide journalist.

Milton
Milton
2 years ago

Democrat’s leading candidate for 2024, Joe Manchin could give Trump a run for his money. He’s about the only one who can.

Rene
Rene
2 years ago

It’s scary that anyone would consider BUTTIGIEG or AOC as POTUS qualified. Both Incompetent individuals.

Rene
Rene
2 years ago

It’s scary that anyone would consider AOC or BUTTIGIEG for POTUS. Both who have achieved nothing politically except being elected to office

Hal
Hal
2 years ago

Biden thinks he is the only one that can beat Trump again??????? No, I think a large enough fraction of non-Republican Party voters realize how (pardon the expression) screwed up the Biden Presidency and Administration have functioned and realize that continuance with a DemocRat would be just extending a near disaster. But the voting system MUST be cleaned up so that it cannot be rigged again by the DemocRat Commies. And if you notice what is going on at the Southern border with immigration, you should realize that is just one step the DemocRats are setting up a one measure to help rig the next election.

Max
Max
2 years ago

Looking at the field of Demo candidates, Michelle Obama is the one to be most feared. She is a snake in the grass and a racist (secret service comments). Definitely not be trusted at all but pull out a victory through the cheating process if the voting process is not corrected.

Andrew P
Andrew P
2 years ago

AOC is not too young to run in 2024 because she will be 35 by the time the Electors vote. And Hillary is clearly running. She reactivated the Clinton Global Initiative so people around the world can give her money. My bet at the moment is 2024 will be a rematch between Hillary and Trump.

Boz
Boz
2 years ago

This is all getting way ahead of ourselves. 2024 is an E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y away. At least it’s going to feel like that over the next two years. But…

Here’s how it will most likely go down: Biden will be 25th’d, or have a fataI tumbIe down some stairs, or whatever… Kamal-breath wiII advance to P, will appoint Moochy to VP. A few months down the road, Kamal-breath will “resign”, take a stair tumbIe or whatever, Mooch will advance to P and she will appoint 0musIim to VP.

THAT is the most nightmarish scenario I can think of. THAT is why it is very possible.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
2 years ago

DIMMs have no “farm team.” Either hippie-aged Marxists or youngsters who cannot run their cities or states. Then a “legacy” in Beshear who won governor by 1/2% because he was daddy’s boy!

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 years ago

If this is a joke it’s almost funny

Bob L.
Bob L.
2 years ago

If these people are all the Dems have, they are in a world of hurt.

D.P.
D.P.
2 years ago

While this article centers on the dems in particular……I still ponder the direction of the repubs…….somehow the consensus seems to be that Trump is a shoe-in and there are no other potential like -minded people available. I for one am not sure Trump should run…..rather he could put his backing with another and draw a wider base into the electorate….and perhaps run for house or senate as a power base to counter the left in those seriously troubled arenas. I like Trump, but I am not sure others cannot do as well or better in the coming elections and tromp the dems across the board…..AMAC….how about an in depth article about the conservative choices and their potential?
That would be both helpful and informational to us all.

TIKA
TIKA
2 years ago

Gov. Scott(Tx) is a RINO!

Morbious
Morbious
2 years ago

Were it not for the war, dems would be in russia begging them for some of lenins cells to clone. Seriously, its the vice presidents to blow. Its way early and she’s not going to just step aside. We should actually hope she hangs in. The alternative is another savior in the person of michelle o. Our best bet is a catfight between the vice president and the former first lady with harris eventually winning. That will offend easily offendible groups.

Deb Rockwell
Deb Rockwell
2 years ago

You forgot Bruce (oops, I mean Caitlyn) Jenner, the new bi-sexual Bond, and the woke version of Mickey Mouse. All highly qualified candidates who are sure to be a hit with the libs.

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
2 years ago

The choices for the demo/marxists are, across the board, so frighteningly awful as to defy the imagination. I could not think of more disgusting, baby-killing, Godless, lying, Marxist candidates in my nightmares. They are all so filled with hate for our country, our military, our constitution, and all people in general. A complete list of Satan’s spawn.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
2 years ago

Heaven forbid if AOC was put in to run. What a lark that would be. Goodness, grief. I’d rather put in, almost anyone from Odessa, Texas who is a Democrat in the running for President over her. They’d win in a jiffy. The nomination, I mean. I’m talking liberal ones, as well. They may not win overall, as far as the Presidency, but over AOC, um, yes. That woman has NO common sense, what so ever. I mean, none. I’m talking ANY Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, other races, legal and non-legal aliens in my hometown…oh my. They also know more laws and our constitution, lol.

Donna
Donna
2 years ago

And trust me, I live in Colorado and Gov. Polis is a horrid, left wing, progressive, “ruling” by Executive Order and to hell with the citizens of Colorado. Everyone in Colorado knows the office is President is his wishful next step up. We have had at least two recalls but unfortunately, Gov. Polis who came from California and has been working to turn Colorado in to California 2, is no better than the CA. gov. We have him to thank for the “do nothings” Hickenlooper and Bennett in Congress who are also supposed to represent the citizens of Colorado. They too only represent those “like thinking” citizens. Unfortunately, it seems there are more of the left wing, progressive citizens than the conservative citizens.

No Name
No Name
2 years ago

Defund the Demonrats. Get rid of that corrupt party and replace with a group that has shown love for our country and Constitution such as the Tea Party or the Libertarians. Commies/socialists/fascists have no place in our society nor our gov’t. Send them all to China or Russia with a one-way ticket.

Ann
Ann
2 years ago

Harris is NOT eligible to run for president She is NOT a natural born citizen. In order to be a natural born citizen, both of one’s parents have to be born in the U. S. It is widely known that Harris’ parents were not born in the U.S.

Mike Kennedy
Mike Kennedy
2 years ago

Keep up the great reporting

Will
Will
2 years ago

Gavin Newsom has his eyes on 2024. Heaven help us.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

I read that Harris is not African American It stated she is of Asian decent

David Millikan
David Millikan
2 years ago

The FASCIST liberals are ALL TOTAL LOSERS.
That says it all.

Linda
Linda
2 years ago

I am a Democrat and I will not be voting for any one who wants to run for any office. I will be voting for republic party. Biden and Harris are trying to ruin our great country and they both should impeached. But then again the person who is next in line will be just as bad or worse.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
2 years ago

Easy to beat Trump. Just cheat like last time. Dont think they wont try it. Kyle L.

Alyson
Alyson
2 years ago

Why do they think they have to have a token black person in office? I know at least a dozen folks who are not Caucasian who would be more than up to the task of pulling off the office of VP, and who could step easily into the presidency. SMH

Jeff Noncent
Jeff Noncent
2 years ago

He lie the person replacing him is Michelle Obama

LarryFrom10EC
LarryFrom10EC
2 years ago

If Republicans have any sense (yeah, a doubtful prospect) they will crossover in the primaries to ensure Biden is the Democrat candidate. We can’t let them pull up another swamp creature and polish it up as a gold nugget. Let Biden run on his “accomplishments”.

Sid
Sid
2 years ago

This merry band of Bolsheviks will have no chance against Trump, unless they cheat again!

Susan Miller
Susan Miller
2 years ago

Biden or any Democrat couldn’t win without the cheat in 2020 and God help us if we have to wait until 2024 to get rid of the cheats.

McGannahan Skyjellyfetti
McGannahan Skyjellyfetti
2 years ago

You forgot the everlasting menace that will not go away until a stake is driven through it, Hillary Clinton.

Russell
Russell
2 years ago

The way things are going the UNITED STATES will probably seek to exist by the year 2024.

John D. Beach
John D. Beach
2 years ago

First, there are many who do not believe that Biden won an honest election in 2020. The fact that his policies have put many Americans in desperate circumstances and exacerbated the issue of indebtedness, brought us to the brink of war, has made us realize that the liberal left is an extremely dangerous group of people who have no principled stand with respect to justice, truth or the American heritage. They are reprehensible and that Biden would be allowed to run for office in 2024 is offensive.
If this is representative democracy in a constitutional republic, we would do just as well as a member of the British commonwealth.

Lee
Lee
2 years ago

Whitmer is an ego maniacal witch and it would be another disaster with her in office. Take it from a Michigander.you do not want a Trudeau in Washington.

Barb304
Barb304
2 years ago

All I can say is this, I will be voting only for Conservitives who agree with my principals and values. And I don’t care what ‘party’ they’re in! I don’t vote for parties, I vote for people. GOD BLESS the USA

Jerry
Jerry
2 years ago

If Bootiejig were to win, would his male spouse be a First Lady?

WILLIAM MCKENZIE
WILLIAM MCKENZIE
2 years ago

Xi? Putin? Castro? Even they couldn’t have done as much damage to the USA that Pedo Joe and his Marxist/fascist Rat Party have done in his short time in office after the unconstitutional and fraudulent coup.

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

I see Daniel Roman has exposed himself as Mr. Berman for this story…
At this point it is all speculation on who will or will not run in 2024 for POTUS…
Quite frankly, most the names mentioned here will not be running for president in 2024…
I don’t believe DJT has the desire or the will to put himself or his wonderful family through another ( 4 ) years of hell as a POTUS…I don’t believe HRC will be on the ticket either, but she could file to draw in the money in the meantime…
Until the 2020 presidential election fiasco gets cleared up & real people actually get arrested for the crimes committed, everything is simply speculation on who the next president will be…
I should think at this juncture, the American people have had their fill of the WOKE Democrat message, CRT, Afghanistan withdrawal crisis, a deliberate wide open southern border, inflation at it’s highest since 1982, a recession looming just around the corner, food prices through the roof, fuel prices all over the place, mostly upward…Democrats gave up ” energy independence ” for America.
In a nutshell, if I was a Democrat politician today, I’d be looking to get out of politics the moment my term was up, which thus far at last count was ( 30 ) Democrats stepping down when terms are up…
Bill… :~)

mary
mary
1 year ago

This whole article is negative, sarcastic and disgusting!

Secret Service agents rush Donald Trump off the stage.(AP: Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden greets President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California.(Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
President Joe Biden speaks on the phone with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to discuss his approval of a FEMA disaster declaration in response to the impacts of Hurricane Beryl, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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