“Replace Biden 2024!” would make a so-so campaign theme for a Republican, but now that Democrats are embracing the idea, it’s time to talk about who their nominee might be.
Let’s dispense with the notion that Presidentish Biden is going to have the displeasure of running in ’24.
Democrats haven’t even received their all-but-certain midterm shellacking yet, and already it’s become fashionable for the very best Democrats to speak openly about how Slow Joe might not be up for a second term.
(He wasn’t up for a first, Bub.)
Maybe — after a few pointed words, in private, from trusted advisors — Granpa Handsy will decide that his health isn’t up for another run. Maybe he’ll get primaried.
Maybe Biden will get a good look at the polls and, in an increasingly rare moment of lucidity, decide “Hell, no!”
Let’s also dispense with the notion that I’m necessarily correct about Biden getting the old heave-ho, even if it is made to appear voluntary. Maybe Biden will make a not-so-great comeback. Maybe his would-be usurpers will self-destruct or prudently decide to wait for 2028.
But as of June 29, 2022, it looks like the Dems’ 2024 bumper stickers will read: “Anyone But Biden-Anyone But Harris ’24.”
The problem for Democrats is like the problem Republicans have. “Generic Republican” usually out-polls Actual Known Democrat before the primaries, but then we have to go and nominate an Actual Known Republican. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well for us.
Democrats can’t nominate “Anyone But.” They have to nominate someone.
And right now, there are already two Democrats maneuvering for the early advantage to become the Not-Biden of choice.
The first is California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or as I like to think of him, the Prince of Hair.
Newsom is feeling pretty good these days, having won his recall election and his state being so flush with bailout bucks that he can send “inflation relief” checks to his fellox and syster Californians. Never mind that it won’t help; it will look good in the TV spots.
SPOILER: Using free money to fight inflation is like hiring a San Francisco homeless person to disinfect your operating room.
Speaking of which, Newsom himself got the “Newsom ’24” chatter going himself, surreptitiously: Why is California Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign buying TV ads on Fox News in Florida? Move fuels 2024 speculation.
The ads will start airing July 4 on Fox News in Florida, SFGate reported. The airtime cost the Newsom campaign about $105,000, mediumbuying.com tweeted.
“Stay tuned,” Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom’s re-election campaign, told SFGate.com when he was asked about the content of the ads.
I have a pretty good idea of what the ads will contain: A flattering portrait of Newsom (who isn’t at all running for president, he swears!) compared to Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who is a likely 2024 contender).
It’s a small buy. No big deal. It won’t even “work” in terms of changing Florida voters’ minds. But it will work — in fact, it hasn’t even aired yet and it’s already working — at getting people to talk about “Newsom ’24.”
The Governor who said he has “subzero interest” in running for President will reportedly air ads in a state …*checks notes* …2,700 miles away from his own. https://t.co/0O02izBOiI
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) June 27, 2022
Now let’s look at my home state, Colorado, where Gov. Jared Polis is also considered a viable “Anyone But” to replace Biden.
Joshua Sharf reported on Tuesday for Complete Colorado:
In the last month or so, the Colorado governor’s publicity people have been busy. Polis has written an op-ed in the Washington Post defending charter schools. Libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie recorded a glowing podcast profile for Reason. There was a holiday weekend puff piece in The Hill. And recently, the Wall Street Journal praised Polis for standing up to the climate lobby.
All of these pieces have one aim: to make the progressive Democratic governor look as though he’s not all that progressive.
What it all means is this: Governor LGBTQIABBA2S+ is preparing the playing field to run as a genial moderate.
ASIDE: My libertarian friends at Reason are cringy fanboy morons when it comes to Colorado lefties. Clueless, probably stoned. But that’s a column for another day, my VIPeeps.
In fact, Polis is a dyed-in-the-wool Woke Progressive who, as Sharf wrote, prefers to let “others advance the progressive agenda” while he keeps his own hands clean.
Newsom is a known quantity and not much liked outside of California. Polis is an unknown, working hard and smart to define himself nationally as something he isn’t.
Polis is the more dangerous of the two, and so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Democrats jump on the “First Gay Nominee EVER!” bandwagon and replace Biden with Governor LGBTQIABBA2S+.