- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2022

House Democrats agree with their party’s voters who say President Biden should consider stepping aside and allow another nominee to run in 2024.

Mr. Biden, 79, has been fending off speculation about his reelection prospects since his polling and the economy have spiraled downward. Many Democrats say he is too old and unable to competently message and deliver wins for his party.

“The stress of the office and running at 82. I don’t think that’s realistic,” a veteran Democratic lawmaker said.

A CNN poll released Wednesday found that 75% of Democrats said they want someone else as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2024, while 25% chose Mr. Biden.

“I think there’s some inevitability to that,” another longtime Democratic lawmaker told The Washington Times.

The CNN poll had 1,002 respondents, and the survey had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist pollster asked the same question at the end of last year, and 41% of Democratic respondents said Mr. Biden was the best Democratic candidate for the next election while 41% wanted “someone else.” Another 18% were unsure.

When asked about the poll at the daily briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House is “not worried about polls.”

“The president has said — has been clear that he intends to run. But we are so far away from that time from, you know, even being close to be thinking about that.”

Democrats who think Mr. Biden should not run for reelection are willing to say so only anonymously.

Other Democratic lawmakers say their support for Mr. Biden depends on who is running in 2024.

Former President Donald Trump has yet to announce his intentions to run for another term but has dropped strong hints that he is getting closer to a decision. California Gov. Gavin Newsom appears to be testing the Democratic primary waters.  

One Democratic source wondered aloud, “The question is, does he even have command?” The source said Democrats have found themselves in a conundrum of “paralysis by analysis.”

“But how would it look if the Democrats did this after one term? It’s never been done successfully,” the source said.

The most recent failed attempt was more than 40 years ago by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts when he challenged President Carter in the Democratic primary.

Other Democratic lawmakers who were asked on record their thoughts about whether Mr. Biden should run in 2024 avoided the question entirely.

“I don’t want to get into any of that,” said Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee. When asked about Mr. Newsom’s apparent interest in becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, he replied, “Kimberly Guilfoyle would know more about that than I do.” Ms. Guilfoyle was married to Mr. Newsom for five years when he was mayor of San Francisco.

Several Democrats, including Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, deferred to talking about their own races rather than Mr. Biden.

“I’m worried about today. I’m not worried about 2024 right now,” Mr. Bowman said. “I have my own primary. We have midterm elections, and we have bills this week that we got to deal with. I’m not trying to think two years ahead.”

Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. of Georgia defended Mr. Biden, whom he says he supports for reelection in 2024.

“I think that the talk about Gov. Newsom throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate for president in 2024 is something that many involved in disinformation have been propagating in an effort to destabilize Democratic voters,” he said.  

Mr. Johnson conceded that Mr. Biden is underwater in his popularity ratings — his approval rating is at 38%, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average — but he said there is a long way to go before the 2024 race.

“I don’t think there’s much difference between my colleagues and me in the House of Representatives on the Democratic side” on this issue, he said.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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