Biden Heightens Reelection Rhetoric Despite Democratic Disarray
President Joe Biden has yet to make a formal announcement he is running for reelection. He's starting to campaign for reelection anyway – and with daunting challenges facing him.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, in a rare public appearance Friday, delivered what sounded almost like campaign kickoff speeches to an enthusiastic Democratic National Committee audience in Philadelphia, with Biden ticking off his accomplishments and slamming Republicans for threatening Social Security and advocating tax cuts for the wealthy."So let me ask you a simple question: Are you with me?" Biden said as DNC winter meeting attendees screamed "four more years! Four more years!"
He stopped short of asking for an official backing of a 2024 run, but his schedule and rhetoric are that of a man determined to keep his job for four years past its first expiration date. After delivering the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Biden and members of his Cabinet are going on the road to tout his record.
The president will head to swing states Wisconsin and Florida on Wednesday and Thursday to tout his economic record. Friday, Biden and Harris will host governors at the White House.
But Biden has several barriers to his yet-to-be-announced candidacy: a public that does not agree with his assessment of his record, a Republican Party determined to thwart him at every turn, and a Democratic Party still feuding about how it will conduct its nominating process.
While Biden has been crowing about his economic record – including a stunning 517,000 new jobs created in January and a 3.4% unemployment rate, the lowest since 1969 – Americans don't seem to share his optimism, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll released Monday.
Further, 60% do not think Biden has made progress improving roads and bridges in their communities (32% say he has), even after passage of a massive bipartisan infrastructure law and numerous Biden events bragging about it. A plurality of 47% think Biden hasn't made progress in lowering prescription drugs costs (30% think he has), even though monthly prices for insulin are, as of last month, capped at $35 a month for Medicare recipients. Further, the annual cap for all out-of-pocket prescription drug costs will be $2,000 for seniors – but that will not take effect until 2025.
The day after cheering Biden and Harris, divided national Democrats voted on a presidential nominating schedule at least two states are insisting they will not honor. The new primary schedule kicks Iowa out of its longtime role as host of the first caucuses and relegates New Hampshire, whose state law requires the Granite State to hold the first primary election, to second place.
Instead, South Carolina – the state that turned around Biden's then-struggling primary campaign in 2020 – will be first, a move intended to give Black voters an earlier and more magnified voice in the process.
New Hampshire and Nevada would go next, three days later, with New Hampshire hosting a primary and Nevada, caucuses. Georgia, a newly competitive state Democrats consider pivotal to winning the "New South," would follow a week later. Next is Michigan, key to Democrats' appeal to post-industrial America and a state where the party last November won a trifecta – control of the governor's office and both chambers of the state legislature – for the first time in 40 years.
The problem – aside from irritation by states used to being in the front of the pack – is that New Hampshire and Georgia are not on board, setting up the possibility of sanctions by the national party. And Iowa, too, is forced to resolve the DNC's vote with Iowa state law requiring the Hawkeye State to hold its caucuses before any other nominating contest.
"Our First in the Nation Primary makes our entire country & democracy stronger. Regardless of the DNC vote, New Hampshire will go first," Sen. Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire Democrat, tweeted. "The DNC's primary proposal asks us to violate our state law & puts Democrats' future success in our state at risk – it is deeply misguided."
The Granite State's Democratic Party chairman, Ray Buckley, warned that moving New Hampshire out of first place would cede the field and the media attention to Republicans, endangering Democrats in the swing state.
"Try to get to 51 without Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan," a miffed Buckley said Saturday, referring to the state's two Democratic senators.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairperson Rita Hart, in a statement released after the vote, said Iowa Democrats will follow state law, putting Iowa on a collision course with the national Democratic Party just as Democrats are endeavoring to present a united front against whomever the also-divided Republicans nominate.
“This uncertainty means that the matter is far from settled, and Iowa Democrats will continue to be part of the ongoing conversations about the calendar,” Hart said.Even Georgia, winning an earlier spot in the primary calendar, is a problem for Democrats, since state officials in the GOP-run state do not want to move up the Peach State's primary.
DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison said Monday the new schedule is more reflective of the diversity of the Democratic Party.
"I think it reflects the best of the Democratic Party and the best of America," Harrison told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday morning. "We are giving more people and more voices an opportunity to influence where we go as a party and where we go as a nation."
He suggested New Hampshire wasn't really losing anything, since it still retains its role as the second nominating contest. That is technically true, although New Hampshire law dictates that it must hold the first primary – meaning Iowa's previous role as the first-in-the-nation caucuses did not count.
The party is giving states until June to work out the conflicts. The yet-to-be-announced Biden-Harris campaign, however, has already begun.
Source: U.S. News