If Biden announced on the Monday after Thanksgiving that he would be retiring, it would give 2024 presidential contenders fewer than 100 days to declare their candidacies and define their image before 14 states pick delegates on Super Tuesday, March 5. And 11 other states will be holding Democratic primaries later in March.
Organizing a campaign and raising the money at that pace would be gruelling [sic] enough. But candidates would also face high-intensity scrutiny from the media and the voters without any benefit from a learning curve. It would be the equivalent of opening a musical on Broadway without a single tryout and just three days of rehearsals.
Unless you have run for president or witnessed a campaign close up, you have no idea how daunting it is. A statewide campaign, even against fierce Republican opposition, offers only limited preparation. And it is even harder if you are coming out of a one-party state like California or Illinois. Regular appearances on Sunday morning shows or a few tough interviews on Fox News are barely comparable to spring training, let alone the World Series. Even a naturally charismatic candidate like Barack Obama seemed lost in the wilderness in the fall of 2007 until he belatedly found his footing against Hillary Clinton. The leading names being bandied about as theoretical Biden replacements, moreover, are all governors who have not run for president before: Newsom, Illinois’s J.B. Pritzker, and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer. Although all three have done a major chunk of cable TV hits during Biden’s three years in office, many Democratic primary voters would not recognize any of them if they shared a small elevator.
[All of these are real problems, but Shapiro does get to the heart of the matter too: Kamala Harris and her inability to campaign effectively. It’s worth noting that the Left sees the same problems there as the Right does. Also, Shapiro clearly doesn’t see Gavin Newsom as a slam-dunk Plan B. At this stage, Shapiro makes a very compelling case that it’s simply too late to develop a Plan B … which means that Democrats will have to Weekend-At-Bernie’s Biden along until the national election. — Ed]