Democratic Challenger Dean Phillips Shakes up 2024 Race, Adds Pressure on Biden’s Campaign
President Joe Biden is now facing a primary challenger, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, who has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. The announcement has sparked debate and speculation about how this challenge will affect the President's re-election prospects. While Dean Phillips faces an uphill battle, the implications of his candidacy are significant, particularly in the context of modern Democratic politics.
Phillips, a third-term congressman from New Hampshire, announced his presidential candidacy outside the New Hampshire State House in Concord, surrounded by supporters. He stressed the importance of change, expressing concern that President Biden might lose the next election to former President Donald Trump. Phillips first tried to persuade Biden not to run for re-election, instead encouraging other Democratic candidates to run in the primary. When that didn't happen, he decided to run himself, motivated by his desire to serve his country, reports The Sun.
The historical precedent of sitting presidents facing primary challenges is one of the key arguments advanced by top political experts. According to Frank Luntz, a respected political analyst, when a sitting president faces a primary challenge, they're significantly weakened, often foreshadowing electoral defeat. He cited Pat Buchanan's 1992 challenge to George H.W. Bush, Ted Kennedy's 1980 challenge to Jimmy Carter, and Eugene McCarthy's 1968 challenge to President Lyndon B. Johnson as examples. After a poor showing in the 1968 Democratic Party primary in New Hampshire, LBJ even dropped his re-election bid.
The importance of these historical parallels cannot be overstated. While each election is different, the fact that Phillips is challenging President Biden suggests an undercurrent of discontent within the Democratic Party. Concerns have been raised about Biden's approval ratings, as well as his ability to win a nationwide general election against Trump. Phillips has argued that if Biden wins the nomination, a competitive primary will make him a stronger candidate, reports CNBC.
Team Biden barely responds to Democrat Dean Phillips' longshot primary challenge https://t.co/PHDujf2znu— CNBC (@CNBC) October 27, 2023
Phillips' challenge comes at a time when several potential Democratic challengers, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Bernie Sanders, have decided not to run against President Biden in 2024. While Marianne Williamson's campaign has begun, it is regarded as a non-credible threat to Biden's nomination by Matt Bennett, the co-founder of the Third Way think tank, reports The Sun.
Critics of Phillips' challenge argue that the stakes in this election are too high to focus on a primary challenge that may or may not have a significant impact on the outcome. For example, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens dismissed Phillips' candidacy as a "side-show vanity project" that detracts from the party's focus on what's best for the country.
One of the key factors influencing the debate over Biden's re-election bid is his age. If Biden is re-elected, he will be 82 when he takes office and 86 when he leaves, making him the oldest sitting President in US history. This has raised questions about his ability to effectively lead and connect with voters, especially in a high-stakes general election.
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