There Has to Be a Backup Plan. There’s a Backup Plan, Right? is the title of New York Mag’s exploration of the 2024 Democrat crackup.
The short version is what I’ve been writing for months now, Biden wants to run, no one outside his inner circle wants him to, and there’s no real Plan B.
This untenable state of affairs — in which Biden insists he wants the job until he’s 86 but much of his party won’t listen…
And thus the crackup…
The result is a bizarre disconnect within the Democratic Party, with two factions talking past each other. One group consists of Biden and his loyalists, who are convinced that while the ticket’s numbers are undeniably bleak, they’re historically unsurprising for a president and VP facing their first midterm and will surely bounce back. The second group comprises a broad swath of the Democratic elite and rank and file alike, who suspect that vectors of age, succession, and strategy have created a dynamic with no obvious parallel in recent history.
Biden’s own donors want out.
In the past few months, though, many of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors — even as they pledge to back Biden’s reelection in earnest — have quietly started to poke around for alternatives in 2024, partly out of a sense of responsibility just in case Biden steps aside. Several have bombarded Obama’s old associates with pleas for insight into some sort of top-secret real plan that must exist for the next presidential contest.
Is there a plan? His own incompetent Secretary of Transportation, Bernie Sanders, Warren, and all the old gang are keeping their campaigns alive.
Last fall, a rumor started to spread within the West Wing. Some of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg’s 2020 donors and fund-raisers had started to meet privately to debate his future and map out a possible path toward the presidency — perhaps as early as the next election. The whispers were mostly true, if sometimes egregiously overstated. Plenty of attendees thought a 2028 campaign would be premature, let alone a 2024 one, and instead just wanted to use the sessions to kvetch with like-minded liberals. But Buttigieg knows he has to nip such rumors in the bud to allay any suspicions that could complicate his relatively charmed life in the government. As Insider prepared to reveal the meetings’ existence in October, Buttigieg’s staff warned the White House the story was coming, and some of his supporters went on record to clean up the mess: These donors were freelancing without his knowledge, and he had no thoughts of running for president.
The short-term migraine was averted, but that wasn’t the whole story. Buttigieg has kept in sporadic touch with some major donors from his campaign and has indicated to them that he is aware of the brutal dynamics pummeling the president. He is always careful to avoid even the appearance of wanting to discuss his own political future on these calls, according to people familiar with the conversations. But he hasn’t shut down the PAC and nonprofit associated with his old campaign — they’ve been kept dormant but alive by ex-aides — and he hasn’t shied from some of the kinds of meetings a presidential aspirant tends to chase. This spring, when the Democratic National Committee’s finance council met quietly in Charleston and both Biden and Harris passed on attending, Buttigieg went. His presence was explained to some of the donors, somewhat implausibly, as simply due to his being the highest-ranking Cabinet official who could spare the time. Shortly thereafter, he formally brought one of his top political aides from the campaign onto the DOT payroll.
Buttigieg is the most visible 2020 Democrat candidate to be doing this, especially since he’s literally sitting in the cabinet of the guy he wants to unseat, but the others are on it too.
…recent federal filings show that Klobuchar, Booker, and Warren are all still spending heavily on digital investments or fund-raising consulting.
… The same is true of Sanders, though only in recent weeks did the idea of his running in 2024 reignite within his orbit. It was prodded in part by a sense of concern that he was being written off — and his political leverage thereby sapped
Meanwhile, the people around Sanders who are a little more realistic want AOC to run.
Without Sanders in the picture, Khanna still would not be a consensus choice on the left. Many close to the Vermont senator would prefer to convince Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to consider running,
She’s got a 33 percent very unfavorable rating and only a 16 percent very favorable rating. So sure, why not.