Commentary: Biden Can Save the Country Again… This Time by Not Running

AP Photo/ Susan Walsh

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Washington, DC – President Biden has tanking poll ratings with the NY Times Poll, giving him just 33 percent support. Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters believe he should not run again and just 26 percent of Democratic voters said the party should renominate him in 2024.

Let’s put it bluntly, shall we—60 percent of the public believes that Donald Trump committed criminal offenses on January 6 and yet, in the recent poll he is running neck and neck with Biden.

Don’t get me wrong—Joe Biden did this country a great service when he defeated Trump. We saw the tumult sewn by four years of Trump as President. We have since read that it might even have been worse than we thought, thanks to some of his handlers preventing his worst excesses and yet we also saw what he would do to retain power last January 6.

As The Atlantic put it in a newsletter, “Biden’s pitch in 2020 was that he would bring a return to normalcy. To him, Donald Trump’s presidency was an aberration, a view that set him apart from his Democratic rivals who saw Trump as the culmination of long-running currents in American society and Republican politics. But for an electorate exhausted by the roller coaster of the Trump years and then COVID, Biden’s reassurance that politics could be boring again was pretty appealing.”

Sadly he has not been able to deliver normalcy. For sure, not all of it is his fault. COVID has proven more difficult to manage than anyone imagined. Inflation concerns that were with us before were magnified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The right-wing judiciary is out of his hands.

But Biden has made enough unforced errors and has failed to deliver a coherent counterattack.

As the Atltantic put it, “Biden seems to have made the worst of a bad situation.”

Biden benefitted in temperament to be able to contrast with Trump. He was able to run a quiet campaign, allow Trump to self-implode at times, and he took advantage of the COVID moment to avoid making any serious campaign mistakes.

But in 2020, he ran against Trump’s record and that he could promise a return to normalcy. In 2024, he would have to run on his own record and that doesn’t look good. And at nearly 82, even his strongest supporters would be forgiven if they wonder if he has it in him.

At the top of the list of reasons why Democrats want a new candidate, 33 percent said age and 32 percent say job performance. Among young people it is even higher—94 percent of those under the age of 30 want someone else.

The poll shows that Biden leads Trump in a hypothetical rematch but only 44 to 41, though Democrats would rush back to Biden’s side—with 92 percent of them supporting him over Trump.

In short, the mood is not Biden, but also not Trump either. Hard to predict how that one works out. I suspect a large number of people don’t want to find out.

So, is there an alternative? One answer may be California Governor Gavin Newsom. He already seems to be running for President and there were reports that he has already made some ad buys in Iowa. He has also run some ads in Florida.

Last week the Chronicle reported, “Newsom, as he has often done over the past 25 years, is playing the long game. The ads are the latest move in what his advisers say is Newsom’s effort to stand up nationally for Democratic values.”

“I’m resolved to wake all of us up to what is going on in this country,” Newsom said recently. To “what is happening in real time that is not getting the attention it deserves in red states across America. (Conservatives are) aggressively and successfully rolling back rights that all of us have come to take for granted.”

But of course there’s another side to this. “He is warming up in the bullpen for the 2024 presidential campaign—just in case Joe Biden decides not to seek re-election.”

The Chronicle parenthetically added, “Biden insists that he’s running. And Newsom insists he wants Vice President Kamala Harris to be Biden’s successor.”

Kamala Harris obviously has an inside track, but a lot of people feel that she would not stand much of a chance against Trump.

The problem if you are on the left is that there is no obvious alternative to Biden, but there is a strong alternative on the Republican side to Trump—the Florida Governor.

Nevertheless, someone can and probably will emerge. The NY Times article was a clear shot across the President’s bow and 2024 is still a ways away.

We always say this election is the most important—the problem is, after January 6, the stakes are too high to get it wrong.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Keith Olson

    Biden Can Save the Country Again…

    LOL, are you serious?  Runaway inflation, exorbitant energy prices, economic recession, immigrant border chaos, etc…  (the list is long)

    That’s considered saving the country?

    Kamala Harris obviously has an inside track

    I don’t know how you wrote that with a straight face?  She has absolutely no chance.  I hope the Democrats run her.

    here is a strong alternative on the Republican side to Trump—the Florida Governor.

    Yes, Ron DeSantis wins easily.  He’s strong, decisive and doesn’t back down to the left.  Most of all, he doesn’t have Trump’s baggage.



    1. Bill Marshall

      Yes, Ron DeSantis wins easily.  He’s strong, decisive and doesn’t back down to the left.  Most of all, he doesn’t have Trump’s baggage.

      LOL, are you serious?  I don’t know how you wrote that with a straight face!

      De Santis has shown to be an ideologue, playing to his/Trump’s base (and yes, double entendre is intentional)… has somewhat the same morals, ethics as Trump.  And I assume you include in “baggage”, tax evasion, violations of labor laws, ego-mania, narcissism, and conspiracy to violate the representative democracy process.

      If given a choice between Trump and De Santis, I’d choose the latter, while holding my nose.

      If between Newsome and De Santis or Trump, I’d be looking for a “none of the above” option…

      Same if between Harris and De Santis or Trump…

      Liz Cheney I could vote for… a conservative who actually has ethics and morals… same for Kasich… John McCain is not eligible to run…

      I’d prefer someone who is not an ideologue either way… and who looks at reason, facts, judgement, ethics, true ‘public service’, rather than someone focused on “getting elected”, playing to their “base”…

      Yeah, I know I’m not going to have much luck with that…


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