(Headline USA) David Axelrod, who served as chief campaign adviser to former President Barack Obama adviser, suggested this week that President Joe Biden should drop out of the 2024 race, following polls that show Biden losing to former President Donald Trump in five key swing states.
Axelrod, now a strategist and popular left-wing podcaster, cited the new survey from the New York Times showing Biden trailing in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania—all states he won in 2020.
🇺🇲 SWING STATES POLLING AVERAGE
• North Carolina: R+5.1
• Georgia: R+4.1
• Arizona: R+3.7
• Nevada: R+2.7
• Pennsylvania: R+0.7
• Michigan: R+0.7
• Wisconsin: D+1.5
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) November 5, 2023
With the exeption of Nevada, Trump won the others in his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton.
Current projections gave Trump a 301 advantage in the Electoral College, safely beyond the 270 margin needed to win the presidency, even if one or two of the swing states were to break in Biden’s favor.
The Times poll was released on Nov. 5 exactly one year from Election Day.
“Only @JoeBiden can make this decision,” Axelrod tweeted. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
Only @JoeBiden can make this decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it's in HIS best interest or the country's?
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 5, 2023
Axelrod noted it’s “very late to change horses,” but argued the poor polling results will “send tremors of doubt thru the party.”
Those doubts, he argued, are “legitimate” concerns.
During an interview with CNN on Monday, Axelrod clarified that Biden’s biggest weakness now is his age.
Obama had “lousy polling numbers at this time in our campaign” when he was running for reelection, but “Obama was 50 and not 81, and we didn’t have Donald Trump on the other side,” Axelrod said.
“As I’ve said for like a couple years now, the issue’s not—for [Biden] is not political, its actuarial,” he continued. “You can see that in this poll and there’s just a lot of concern about the age issue—and that is something I think he needs to ponder. Just do a check and say, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’”
Axelrod’s comments come as several Democrats begin to ramp up their own challenges to the president. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., launched his own campaign against Biden last month, arguing the soon-to-be-81-year-old incumbent needs to pass the torch to the younger generation of leaders.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is also expected to mount his own bid if given approval from the Democratic establishment, though he has repeatedly denied that he has presidential ambitions.
Many, however, remain skeptical that Democrats don’t have a trick up their sleeve planned for the Democratic National Convention, taking place in late August.
Exactly one year away from the 2024 election, Trump is smoking Biden in five of the six swing states per @nytimes. You buy it? I still can’t believe Democrats are really going to run Biden. It feels super reckless given his mental and physical state, even for them. pic.twitter.com/VwDRoLxyw7
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 5, 2023
Because of the powerful role that superdelegates play in the DNC, the party elites might already have predetermined an alternative candidate who will run in Biden’s place and be running the current president as a decoy to avoid a divisive campaign season that would involve intensive scrutiny and vetting of their choice rather than focusing on former President Donald Trump.
The person in question—be it Michelle Obama or another surprise alternative—would need to have immediate name recognition and a ready source of revenue already at hand to compensate for the lost time. Nonetheless, a brokered convention at the DNC would effectively render moot the party’s entire primary season.