Gavin Newsom, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Gretchen Whitmer, Cory Booker, to say nothing of Kamala Harris, and a cast of dozens of potential Democratic candidates for president are eager to run in 2024.
But none dare declare or even explore the possibility of running as long as the enfeebled, senile, demented Joe Biden clings to the office like a life preserver. So committed is the party to the fiction that the emperor has nice clothes that none dare speak the truth and run.
It reminds me of 1967-8 when opposition to the War in Vietnam was getting so intense and widespread that everyone knew that President Lyndon Johnson’s re-election fortunes were dim, but Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a phalanx of anti-war Democratic Senators stood on the sidelines while they tried to summon the guts to run.
Then, a total long shot, a ridiculous non-entity, Senator Eugene McCarthy emerged from obscurity to jump into the race. As Johnson’s vulnerability became evident in the New Hampshire primary, Kennedy was finally emboldened to run.
A similar stage is set today. All it will take is for a young, promising Democrat to emerge to test the waters, appealing for a younger, more viable alternative to Biden. Like narrowly defeated Democratic Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan or even a Beto O’Rourke to break the code of silence and test the waters. Even a member of the progressive Quad — like AOC — could do it.
Politicians, like nature, abhors a vacuum.
Would it split the Democratic Party and potentially elect Donald Trump president? Very possibly. In 1968, the Democratic Party divisions led directly to the election of Richard Nixon.
But fear of the damage it might ultimately do to the Party will not forever hold the ambitious challengers in line and in check.
Someone will break the barrier and then, as Biden’s vulnerabilities become evident, one of the heavyweights — Newsom, Sanders, Hillary, Warren — will come into the race and force Biden out.
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