Left-wing media outlets that support the Democratic Party have a message to worried activists: stop complaining, because you’re stuck with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the 2024 presidential election.
Democrats are worried, given a trend in recent polls that show former President Donald Trump defeating the incumbent president in a rematch of their 2020 contest. The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, an influential columnist who helped amplify claims of “Russian collusion” in 2017, wrote last week that Biden should drop out.
But left-wing outlets are pushing back, telling Democratic Party voters that they are stuck with what they’ve got.
“The Cake Is Baked. Deal With It,” said Slate.com’s David Faris in an article Monday with the subheadline: “Stop moaning about replacing Biden and Harris. This is the 2024 Democratic ticket, whether you like it or not.”
Faris focused on the question of whether Biden, the default Democratic nominee, should replace his running mate:
A slow late-summer news cycle has brought us fresh pontification about how President Biden, still battling gruesome polling and growing concerns about his age and appeal, should inject new life into his campaign by picking a new running mate for 2024. Like most recommendations brought to us by op-ed columnists with too much time on their hands, casting Kamala Harris aside is a dreadful idea—not only because it has almost zero chance of actually happening, but because it would clearly cause more problems than it would solve.
If Democrats could wave a magic wand and replace Harris with someone like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as New York magazine’s Eric Levitz suggests, without the ensuing backlash and “Democrats in disarray” news cycles, would that be a good idea? Possibly. (Not so much for Washington Post columnist David Ignatius’ bananas idea to swap in Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who was for a time the least popular governor in America.) But there are no magic wands in politics—only unappealing options and constraints imposed by choices made in the past, what social scientists call “path dependence.” The moment Biden selected Harris as his partner in 2020, he all but ensured that she would be more or less irreplaceable.
MSNBC, once a left-wing outlet but now essentially a Democratic Party organ, published an op-ed titled: “What’s behind the nonsensical campaign to replace Biden-Harris in 2024.” The subheadline read: “No candidate is perfect, but dumping an incumbent is generally a terrible idea.” Author Michael Cohen went on to mock the very notion:
Biden announced his candidacy for re-election earlier this year. He’s already raised $77 million as of July, and has no serious primary challenge. He remains broadly popular among Democratic voters, even if he clearly has work to do in order to reassure wayward party members. When Lyndon Johnson abandoned re-election in March 1968, he had spent months dragging his feet on launching a campaign. When he almost lost the New Hampshire Democratic primary to Sen. Eugene McCarthy, his name wasn’t even on the ballot (voters had to write it in). None of that is happening with Biden. He has given every imaginable signal that he is running and that his heart is in it. Barring some unforeseen health event, he’s not dropping out. It simply isn’t going to happen.
Nor will Biden jettison Harris from the presidential ticket. While it’s true that Harris is not terribly popular, dropping her from the ticket would be a slap in the face to the most consistently loyal constituency in the Democratic Party — Black women. There’s a reason that Biden’s announcement video this past June was brimming with images of Harris, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (who was nominated by Biden) and dozens of women of color. They are the bedrock of the party, and in an election that will rely heavily on mobilizing Democratic partisans, motivating Black women will be crucial for victory. Anyone suggesting that Biden should drop a Black woman from the presidential ticket to help his re-election chances simply doesn’t understand how Democratic politics works.
Biden’s (or Harris’s) likeliest replacement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), said earlier this month that he will not run on the presidential ticket in 2024. Biden’s only serious challenger, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week arguing that the Democratic Party “rigs” its primary, using votes by “party leaders and elected officials” (PLEOs) to defeat any insurgency at the party’s convention, meaning he would have to win 70% of normal delegates in the course of the party primaries and caucuses to win enough delegates to prevail.
If Democrats were to replace Biden, they would have to act quickly: the first ballot deadlines arrive next month.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.