David Axelrod, the Democratic strategist celebrated for orchestrating Barack Obama’s 2008 triumph, has sparked controversy by suggesting President Joe Biden consider stepping aside from the 2024 presidential race. Axelrod’s remarks come in the wake of a damning New York Times and Siena College poll showing Biden trailing behind former President Donald Trump in key battleground states. The strategist’s comments underscore growing concerns within the Democratic Party about Biden’s re-election prospects.
- Axelrod’s Assessment: Axelrod, a key figure in Obama’s political victories, drew attention to a recent poll indicating Biden’s lagging popularity in crucial swing states. The survey revealed Trump leading in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania—states Biden had secured in the 2020 election. Axelrod urged Biden to assess whether seeking re-election is in his best interest and that of the country.
- Democratic Party’s Dilemma: The data, according to Axelrod, sends “tremors of doubt” through the Democratic Party, generating legitimate concerns about Biden’s candidacy. The strategist emphasized that the decision ultimately rests with Biden and underscored the risks associated with changing course at this stage, given the limited time left for a primary campaign.
- Leadership Talent in the Democratic Party: Axelrod acknowledged the existence of a pool of leadership talent within the Democratic Party poised to emerge. While praising Biden’s achievements, he cautioned against underestimating the potential of other leaders within the party.
- Comparison with Trump: Axelrod juxtaposed Biden’s accomplishments with scathing criticism of Trump as a “dangerous, unhinged demagogue” whose disregard for democratic norms should be disqualifying. However, Axelrod stressed the importance of not underestimating the potential consequences of a miscalculation in the decision-making process.
- Poll Findings and Public Perception: The New York Times-Siena College poll indicated that Biden trailed behind Trump in all battleground states except Wisconsin. Respondents favored Trump on issues of immigration, national security, and the conflict in Israel. The survey also revealed a decline in support for Biden among young voters, Hispanic voters, and even traditionally Democratic Black voters.
- Concerns About Biden’s Age: A notable factor contributing to concerns about Biden’s candidacy is his age, with 71% of respondents considering him “too old” to be president. Axelrod acknowledged the Biden campaign’s efforts to counteract these concerns by highlighting Trump’s campaign trail mistakes.
- Optimism and Skepticism: While some Democratic officials express nervousness about Biden’s candidacy, others, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell, remain optimistic. Rendell believes that despite concerns, Biden can and will win, especially if pitted against Trump.
Axelrod’s suggestion for Biden to reassess his 2024 bid adds a new layer of complexity to the Democratic Party’s internal discussions. As the party grapples with potential challenges in the upcoming election, the decision ultimately rests with President Biden, who must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of pursuing a second term.