In an interview released on Monday, Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, expressed his openness to the possibility of running against President Joe Biden in the 2024 election. Phillips cited worries regarding the electability of the current president and the absence of primary competitors as factors influencing his consideration.
Phillips has been in discussions with Democratic benefactors who are actively seeking an alternative to Biden, and has emerged as one of the most outspoken Democratic detractors of the president’s campaign for reelection. Despite Phillips’ apparent reluctance to confront Biden during an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune in late August, the congressman expressed to podcaster Steve Schmidt that he is currently “thinking about it.”
“It’s important for Democracy to have choices, to have competition, particularly in light of what I’m reading — the polling, the data — and what I’m sensing in my own intuition. And I’m concerned,” explained Phillips. “I’m concerned that there is no alternative. I’m concerned that something could happen between now and next November that would make the Democratic Convention in Chicago an unmitigated disaster. And for a party that is acting as the adults in the room, thank goodness, I’m concerned that we are not as it relates to our electoral strategy. So I’m considering it.”
According to a CNN/SSRS poll conducted in early September, it was shown that a significant majority of potential Republican primary candidates for the 2024 election would outperform President Biden in a general election. Additionally, a recent poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC, released on Sunday, indicated that former President Donald Trump is now leading President Biden by a margin of 10 points. Nevertheless, the majority of surveys indicate that Biden and Trump are relatively equal in a hypothetical scenario of a general election showdown.
Phillips acknowledged the existence of other possible Democratic candidates who may possess superior qualifications in terms of preparedness, name recognition, and political capabilities to oppose Biden. He further expressed his active efforts in pushing these individuals to pursue candidacy.
According to the RealClearPolitics average, which aggregated data from polls done between September 6 and September 18, 2024, it is evident that Joe Biden is currently leading the very limited pool of candidates in the Democratic primary with a support rate of 65.4%. Following after Biden are Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with 14.3% support, and Marianne Williamson with 5% support.
“I have thought about it, and I recognize there would be laughter, there would be distaste, there would be disgust amongst many, but I also have that sense that the country is begging for alternatives,” Phillips added. “Whether that’s me, whether that’s somebody else, time will tell. But I think it’s important that somebody recognize that this is the time — don’t wait until 2028, my goodness. Serve your country now when we need you, that’s my message.”
Phillips additionally expressed concerns on the “dangers” associated with President Trump’s potential reelection. He cited the potential candidacy of former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, whose favorable polling implies a significant advantage over President Biden in the 2024 election, as evidence that the public is inclined to transition away from the previous administration.
Never-Trumpers were hoping that South Carolina has the potential to serve as a key obstacle preventing the former president from securing his third Republican presidential nomination. However, it is noteworthy that thus far, none of the competing campaigns or their affiliated superPACs have allocated substantial financial resources towards directly criticizing him in their advertising efforts.
Currently, there is a lack of a prominent anti-Trump super PAC or substantial donor support aimed at removing him from his position as the leader of the party. Consequently, there is apprehension regarding the wisdom of expending financial or political resources to undermine Trump, as it may prove to be an unproductive endeavor.
Indeed, the two prominent external political entities that have been disseminating advertisements encouraging voters to distance themselves from Trump have thus far failed to fulfill the extensive anti-Trump expenditure campaign that several members within the party had anticipated.
With the primary election five months away, the opposition against Trump exhibits fragmentation and diminished strength since none of the Republican contenders can rival the former president’s popularity in the polls even his legal challenges.
Furthermore, this issue is not limited to South Carolina alone. At the national level, the potential faction within the Republican Party that opposes President Trump has not emerged, and political analysts from the GOP suggest that it may be too tardy for such a development.
Even in instances where a conservative faction attempts to criticize Trump, their efforts typically result in just a superficial impact, primarily centered around apprehensions regarding his capacity to outperform President Joe Biden. Indeed, throughout the summer, a particular position within one of these collectives was initiated by a voter expressing, “I love Donald Trump.”
“Where were all these people who were speaking a big game [about stopping Trump] when it came time to put rubber on the road?” One exasperated advisor for a presidential campaign not affiliated with Donald Trump expressed their discontent. “The bare minimum they could have done was make sure he was so damaged that he wasn’t sitting at 50% in the polls. But because they sat on their hands, they’ve essentially ceded the nomination to him, and it’s through inaction.”
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