There’s a rising sentiment among some Democrats about considering alternatives to President Biden for the upcoming election. With primaries looming, the window to introduce a new contender is quickly narrowing.
While it isn’t too late to introduce an alternative, the clock is ticking.
For Biden, it’s a crossroads of facing a tough primary challenger or possibly choosing not to run. Both actions would be unprecedented in recent times.
The Democrats do have a system to nominate a new face for the general elections: the presidential primary. From January to June next year, Democrat supporters will select their favorite to contest the presidency.
Currently, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson are competing against Biden. But there’s a lack of enthusiasm among Democrat voters for them.
The ideal contender would be someone with significant recognition and appeal among the party base. Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, emerges as a strong contender, especially given his proactive stances on national issues and challenges to other prominent figures like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Despite the public acknowledgment, there are murmurs within Biden’s close advisors regarding Newsom’s increasing influence. Other names gaining traction include Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary, who previously emphasized generational change in his 2020 presidential run.
If anyone from this roster plans to contest, they have limited time to announce their candidacy without risking their prospects.
Many states require candidates to officially declare their intention by a stipulated deadline to be included on the primary ballot. Nevada, one of the earliest primary states, has its cut-off in a month, and fourteen other states wrap up by the end of the year.
Securing delegates from each state is crucial, and delayed entries can impact the total number a candidate can amass.
Initiating a presidential campaign involves extensive groundwork, from fundraising to strategizing. Though the media might hint at potential candidacies, no concrete reports suggest any significant contender is about to jump into the fray.
Historically, a sitting president hasn’t lost his party’s nomination when aiming for re-election.
Biden remains the prime candidate, but he can choose to opt-out at any juncture. The best scenario for such a move would be at the Democratic National Convention in August. If Biden secures the most delegates but wishes to retire, he can endorse another candidate, which would significantly influence the delegate vote.
If no clear majority emerges, the convention becomes a battleground where prominent party figures try to sway votes until a candidate secures a majority. Such scenarios, termed as contested or brokered conventions, have been rare. Notable instances include the Democratic 1980 race and the Republican 1976 challenge.
Given the complications, Biden’s second run in 2024 remains the most probable eventuality. Potential challengers would have to move swiftly, recognizing the enormity of the task ahead.