Democrats Going Wobbly on Biden

Top Democrats are increasingly worried that the president doesn’t have what it takes for 2024

What’s happening: Top Democrats are increasingly alarmed about Biden’s re-election chances after taking stock of a recent slate of dismal polls. Some key allies are publicly calling for the president to drop out of the race. Still, others are laying the groundwork for a possible successor.

  • The concerns: David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, declared on X that “the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore.” Washington congresswoman Pramila Jayapal recently told MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki that Biden’s 2024 campaign was “in great trouble.”

Making moves: Rumors about Biden stepping aside in 2024 have been swirling for months. Last week, however, Axios noted a number of high-profile Democrat lawmakers have begun quietly taking steps “to boost their national profiles and position themselves to run for president in 2028 — or in 2024,” if Biden steps aside.

  • Governors: California governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker have each launched their own national political groups in recent months.

  • Congress: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Congressman Ro Khanna have been establishing connections in early-voting states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

  • Plus, Dean Phillips, a Democrat congressman from Minnesota, recently stepped down from a spot in House Democrat leadership to launch a long-shot primary challenge against Biden.

Just in case: With the exception of Phillips, the ambitious lawmakers on the Democrat bench insist they are all-in for Biden in 2024. But the behind-the-scenes maneuvering suggests some Democrats acknowledge the need for a contingency plan.