"Don't run, Joe": Lefty group to launch campaign after midterms aimed at convincing Biden to retire

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Is it a good or bad midterm omen when parts of your base are calling for a new president four months before Election Day?

A Twitter pal summed up the vibe among Biden’s party this month, particularly after that black hole of a poll that the NYT dropped this morning:


Biden’s fortunes could improve before November. He’s polling so poorly right now that they’re all but assured to improve, in fact. But they’d have to improve to an implausible degree when there’s no relief in sight from inflation to spare his party from a midterm bloodbath.

And if that bloodbath happens, Biden will celebrate his 80th birthday in late November being deluged with mostly anonymous quotes in political media from Democrats urging him to announce as soon as possible that he won’t run for reelection in 2024.

One lefty group is calling for that already and doing it not so anonymously. RootsAction campaigned against Biden during the 2020 primaries, Politico notes, but then turned on a dime after he became nominee and urged progressives to support him in the name of defeating Trump. They’re getting out ahead of the curve in 2024 by announcing today that they’ll begin demanding Biden’s retirement as soon as the midterms are over.

Which means that they’re demanding it now, no?

In 2024 the United States will face the dual imperatives of preventing a Republican takeover of the White House and advancing a truly progressive agenda. The stakes could not be higher. The threat of a neofascist GOP has become all too obvious. Bold and inspiring leadership from the Oval Office will be essential.

Unfortunately, President Biden has been neither bold nor inspiring. And his prospects for winning re-election appear to be bleak. With so much at stake, making him the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in 2024 would be a tragic mistake.

The #DontRunJoe campaign will launch nationwide on November 9, 2022 — the day after the midterm elections. Until then, maximum efforts should be expended to defeat Republicans in congressional and state races across the country.

The shortcomings of the Biden administration should neither be denied nor used as an excuse to sit out the 2022 midterm election battles. “Moderate” policies have failed to truly address such pressing concerns as the climate emergency, voting rights, student debt, health care, corporate price-gouging, and bloated military spending in tandem with anemic diplomacy. Meanwhile, no Republican candidate on the horizon is worthy of being elected to any of the 435 House seats or the 35 Senate seats up for grabs this year.


That statement is posted alongside a giant “Add Your Name” button encouraging readers to sign RootsAction’s “petition.” It’s a PR stunt by a lesser-known lefty outfit designed to build out their mailing list, in other words. Beyond that, it illustrates Charles Cooke’s point about how eager progressives are to use Biden’s alleged centrism as a scapegoat for his failures. Imagine staring at his polling right now and telling yourself that a progressive president who’d spent much more, driving inflation even higher, would be faring better politically.

Still, the timing is shrewd. There are many disaffected liberals lately who have clearly had enough of the Joe show. RootsAction is striking while the iron is hot.

Whatever their motives might be, Biden will assuredly face intense pressure behind the scenes after the midterms from party elders to make a firm decision about 2024 and it’ll be clear enough which decision those elders think he should reach. Biden is famous for dithering in his political deliberations but Dems don’t want any dithering this time. If he’s going to bow out after one term, he should announce that early in 2023 so that prospective candidates have time to assemble their campaigns and the base has time to consider its Kamala Harris problem

Which is quite a problem.


A lecturer in African-American Studies at Maryland warned liberals not to snub Harris in a piece today at Newsweek. “Some Black people, especially Black women, will feel that they are again being passed over and taken for granted by Democrats should Vice President Harris be forced into early retirement,” writes Jason Nichols. “And that would be a disaster for the party. If even a small percentage of Black women stay home on election day in Fulton County, GA or in Philadelphia or Detroit, the gains made in 2020 will quickly disappear, setting up a potential electoral college blowout in 2024.” The title of his piece: “Sorry, Democrats: We’re Stuck With Joe and Kamala.”

He might be right. But reflect and marvel at a major party somehow maneuvering itself into ending up “stuck” with not just one but two unelectable nominees, either one of whom would likely lose to any Republican opponent not named “Trump.”

And maybe to Trump as well. Ross Barkan:

The next open Democratic primary for president can’t be an attempted coronation (like Hillary Clinton’s slog in 2016) or even a race to find a candidate who can simply beat one kind of Republican (as Biden’s 2020 campaign became). What’s damning for Biden is how little he seems to be promising as another presidential bid draws near. If he wants to run again, what exactly does he want to do, especially since Republicans are poised to take control of at least one chamber of Congress after the midterms?…

Trump’s resurgence would momentarily focus Biden, because there is no easier target in politics. Once more, Biden’s argument to the U.S. can be simple: Don’t elect that arsonist of democracy. Though Trump is alienating enough to drag moderate and swing voters into Biden’s camp, it may not prohibit Trump from returning to the White House. After all, Trump won the Electoral College once before, and he can do it again with a change of tens of thousands of votes in key swing states. In 2020, Biden successfully argued that he was the only Democrat who could unseat Trump, but in 2024, he could be the one to put him back in power.


Normally an incumbent president is a better election prospect than anyone else whom the party might plausibly nominate but Biden’s abysmal job approval is testing that assumption. On the other hand, the Dems’ putrid political bench arguably makes even unpopular 82-year-old Joe Biden a stronger hand in 2024 than any other they could play. For liberals, the next election is a straightforward case of picking their poison.

I’ll leave you with this … interesting tweet. I mean “Truth.”

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