Struggling Democrats are now increasingly considering mounting primary challenges to embattled President Joe Biden in 2024 as his approval numbers continue to tank.
And the rumblings are not only coming from the party’s fringes, such as The Squad’s radical progressives on one side or a Manchin-type moderate on the other.
Rather, a strong challenge may be in the works from a more viable mainstream candidate to unseat the incumbent president from the ticket.
The liberal RootsAction network, which supported Biden in 2020, is already actively campaigning to replace the president on the Democratic ticket with a more electable candidate.
The move, were it to take place, is hardly unprecedented. Former President Carter faced a strong primary challenge from Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1980 for the Democrats. Twelve years later, in 1992, President George H.W. Bush was opposed in the Republican primaries by Pat Buchanan.
Both incumbents prevailed but went on to lose the general election.
If Biden decides to hang on and seek a second term, and assuming the administration’s fortunes do not miraculously change, who would be his primary challenger?
Some pundits look west to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democrat recently amped up his national profile by stirring a rivalry with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over social issues.
With DeSantis considered a strong GOP possibility in 2024, especially if former President Donald Trump does not run and perhaps if he does, the battle lines could not be clearer.
Still, what plays well in California will not carry the same weight in battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who briefly rose to prominence by winning the Iowa caucus in 2020, is also mentioned as a possible successor who carries an increasingly high profile.
Another possible challenger for Biden is Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who is technically an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats. His drawbacks include being even older than Biden, and he has a considerable amount of common issues with Newsom.
Meaning it is unlikely that Sanders would carry states that are borderline for tipping one way or the other. Republicans can only gleefully watch as Democrats, with the White House and slim majorities in the Senate and House, implode under the weight of ridiculously misplaced priorities.