Saturday, 10 June, 2023

US Presidential Election 2024

Democrats who might run if Joe Biden does not

Democrats who might run if Joe Biden does not

He's the oldest US president ever and his approval ratings are mired in the low 40s. Doubt is creeping in whether Joe Biden will run for re-election, reports BBC.

Those closest to Biden, 80, insist his 2024 campaign launch is imminent, but the president himself does not appear to have made a final call.

And while polls show a majority of Democrats want the party to nominate someone else, top prospects say they will not challenge Biden if he runs.

But what if he decides he will not

The list below includes two long-shot candidates who have already launched their 2024 bids, and several more who could. Self-help guru Marianne Williamson was the first Democrat to jump into the 2024 race, with a formal campaign launch in March.

Williamson, 70, is a long-time social justice activist, best-selling author and former spiritual advisor to Oprah Winfrey who made her first foray into politics in 2020.

She transfixed audiences with a frenetic performance at two Democratic primary debates, in which she declared that the only way to defeat Donald Trump was to harness love for political purposes.

The fringe candidate ended that campaign before voting began but she has remained an outspoken voice for the progressive left.               Her 2024 policy platform backs universal government-run healthcare, free childcare, at least $1tn (£800bn) in slavery reparations to black Americans and a federal agency called the Department of Peace.

Anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy Jr has filed paperwork to run for the White House and will launch his campaign later in April.

The nephew of President John F Kennedy and the son of slain US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, he is at least the 12th member of the Kennedy dynasty to run for political office.

The long-time environmental lawyer once won plaudits for campaigning on issues such as clean water, including working to clean up the Hudson River in New York.

But Kennedy, 69, has been publicly shunned by much of his family over what they call his tragically wrong conspiracy theories about vaccines.

Kennedy's vaccine scepticism long predated Covid-19, but he found a new audience during the pandemic, when revenues to the anti-vaccine non-profit he founded in 2011 doubled.

Perhaps nobody should benefit more from an aging president stepping aside than his deputy Kamala Harris.

A former prosecutor who went on to serve as California's attorney general and as its junior US senator, the 58-year-old broke glass ceilings in 2020 as the first female, first black and first Asian-American vice-president in US history.

In November 2021, she briefly served as acting president for the 85 minutes it took Biden to undergo a colonoscopy - but it may be the closest she gets to the Oval Office.

Harris is even less popular than the president and has faced a slew of negative stories for months.

Since taking office, she has been assigned some of the administration's trickiest portfolio items, including the influx of immigrants at the southern US border. High staff turnover and awkward public appearances have only made matters worse.

But the vice-president's supporters insist she is unfairly maligned with misogynistic and sexist slander, and the White House has recently stepped up efforts to push back against the attacks.

If VP Harris was once a shoo-in to succeed President Biden, it is another California politician - Governor Gavin Newsom - who consistently now garners the most presidential buzz.

Newsom, 55, first gained national attention when, as mayor of San Francisco in 2004, he issued same-sex marriage licences in violation of state law.

A wine entrepreneur by trade, he was elected governor of his home state in 2018 and established himself as a progressive bulwark against the conservative Trump administration.

He earned praise for assertive leadership at the beginning of the pandemic, but a caught-on-camera dinner in which Newsom flouted his own Covid rules gave rise to an effort in 2021 to recall him as governor before his term ended.

Ultimately defeating the Republican-led recall, the governor handily won a second term last year.

Newsom has a massive campaign war chest and the backing of major Democratic donors, but it is his willingness to pick fights on the national stage recently - from launching ads in Republican-held states like Florida and Texas to criticising his own party for its weak messaging - that has drawn attention to his future ambitions.

If Biden's age is a deal-breaker for voters, nominating Bernie Sanders - the 81-year-old lawmaker from Vermont - may not make sense to many.

But many voters still see the long-tenured politician as the standard-bearer for a burgeoning American left.

An independent senator who votes with Democrats, Sanders nearly beat the odds in the 2016 presidential nominating contest against Democratic heavyweight Hillary Clinton.

Placing second again in 2020 behind Biden, the self-described democratic socialist has since worked to influence administration policy, with moderate success.

But his message that Democrats do too little to convince young voters and the working-class to vote for them continues to resonate, and supporters of another White House run may be hoping the third time is the charm.

JB Pritzker The billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel chain, Pritzker, 58, was recently described by the New York Times as an in case of emergency candidate. He has a strong political operation, a progressive record as Illinois governor and forceful political instincts.

Phil Murphy A Goldman Sachs financier and former US ambassador to Germany, the New Jersey governor, 65, is believed to have his eye on higher office - but says he is 1,000pc behind President Biden.

Amy Klobuchar The senator from Minnesota, 62, was a late dropout from the 2020 presidential race, but has been a key Democratic power-broker in the Senate during the Biden administration.

Elizabeth Warren An early pace-setter in the 2020 race who then faded away, the 73-year-old senator from Massachusetts has channelled female voters' anger over the overturning of abortion rights in the US.

Cory Booker Another candidate in the 2020 presidential race, the black New Jersey senator, 53, drew praise last year for an emotional speech, in which he wiped away tears as he celebrated the historic nomination of the Supreme Court's first black female justice.

Pete Buttigieg The gay 41-year-old mayor from small-town Indiana made an unexpectedly strong showing in the 2020 race, but has been heavily criticised in his current role as Transportation Secretary.

Gretchen Whitmer This Michigan native, 51, faced a kidnapping plot in her first term as the state's governor, then breezed to re-election last year and has scored a string of big victories.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Known to her legions of adoring fans as AOC, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress will turn 35 - the minimum age to be US president - one month before the 2024 election.

Every election cycle, pundits opine that former First Lady Michelle Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a twice-failed presidential candidate, could join the race. But while both women remain popular with Democratic voters, neither have so far indulged in stoking the speculation. In fact, Mrs Obama recently told BBC News it was her least favourite question.