If Not Biden, Who Would Top the Democratic Ticket in 2024?

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Joe Biden may be running for president again in 2024, but that doesn’t mean he will ultimately be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Polls indicate that roughly two-thirds of Democrats want someone besides Biden as their nominee, as his poll numbers are in the toilet and questions about his age and cognitive health and the details of his influence-peddling scandal become impossible to ignore. There have been reports of a whisper campaign to get Biden to bow out.

But what if he does? Say Biden’s handlers use the pretext of Biden’s health as the reason for him to exit the race, creating an open primary for the Democratic Party. Who would take over to lead the party? Do any of them have a chance?

Kamala Harris

Let’s get real. She’s the most unpopular vice president in the history of polling. Her approval ratings are even worse than Biden’s, and she’s a terrible campaigner. As the sitting vice president, she may have a leg up on her primary opponents in terms of name recognition, but it’s clear from public sentiment that the more they see of her, the less they like. Republicans are likely to pitch Biden’s campaign as a vote for Kamala Harris, which tells you that Kamala Harris being on the top of the ticket makes no sense for the Democrats.

Michelle Obama

I hate to even bring this up, but back in Biden’s first year in office, when the media was speculating about who might replace him on the Democrat ticket if he didn’t run, Michelle Obama came in a close second to Kamala Harris. Many disagree with me on this, but I have long stated my belief that despite the fact that Michelle Obama is popular for being the wife of Barack Obama, I don’t see her as a viable candidate, and I have little reason to believe she even wants to be president. There’s more money for the Obamas in the private sector, and they still have influence to wield behind the scenes to sate their desire for power.

Hillary Clinton

No. She’s done. Moving on.

Bernie Sanders

He’s 82 years old, and while he may be significantly sharper than Joe Biden, the Democratic Party isn’t about to trade one white octogenarian for another.

Elizabeth Warren

Without Bernie Sanders in the race, Warren would have a better shot in 2024 than she did in 2020, but she’s running for reelection to the U.S. Senate and has ruled out a presidential bid. Recent polls have shown that Warren could be vulnerable in 2024. In May, former Gov. Charlie Baker led Warren by 15 points, and a more recent poll showed former Lt. Gov. Karen Polito in striking distance. Warren will likely be laser-focused on keeping her seat rather than attempting another presidential bid if Biden drops out.

Gavin Newsom

There’s no doubt that Newsom has his eyes on the White House. He’s been slowly building up a national organization that would transition nicely into a presidential campaign organization if needed.

But as Newsom is the man who signed various pieces of radical LGBTQ legislation that trample on parental rights, it’s hard to see how he’d be viable in a general election. As Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race in 2021 showed, the issue of parental rights transcends partisan loyalties. Newsom is bound to be popular with a decent percentage of Democrat primary voters, but he’s a risky option as a general election candidate. Plus he’s white and heterosexual, which would only work against him.

For what it’s worth, PJM’s Jeff Reynolds disagrees and thinks President Newsom is inevitable.

Pete Buttigieg

There were rumors in the early months of Biden’s administration that he was grooming (no pun intended) Pete Buttigieg as his successor. But Buttigieg has been such a horrible Transportation Secretary that it’s hard to see how he’d be viable, save for the fact that Democrats clearly hope to elect the first LGBTQ president one day. Is such a thing inevitable? Probably some day, but Buttigieg tends to make headlines for the wrong reasons, and it is unlikely that he can overcome his stumbles as a Cabinet member in an effort to seek the top office.

Also for our VIPs: Joe Biden Is Really Screwed Now

Gretchen Whitmer

While neither Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, nor Hillary Clinton are likely to lead the party in the event Biden steps aside, the Democratic Party desperately wants to elect a woman president because of the patriarchy or something. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is getting some buzz as a potential presidential candidate, and many want her to run. Her record on leading her state through COVID could be problematic, but because she faced a lackluster Republican opponent in 2022, she managed to achieve a double-digit victory, boosting her national profile.

Stacey Abrams

Her name has been floated in the past. Why? Beats me. But, after her second defeat to Gov. Brian Kemp, don’t bank on her being among a list of contenders anymore.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Another joke, save for the fact she tied Hillary Clinton in a poll on potential Biden replacements back in 2021. She’d barely be old enough to be president, turning 35 mere weeks before the election. I can’t even see her as a viable running mate for a smarter and more experienced Democrat, let alone topping the ticket.

Amy Klobuchar

Though a Midwest Democrat, she sounds more like a coastal leftist, complete with the phony personality. You probably wouldn’t even know her name had she not run for president in 2020. Klobuchar is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2024 and will likely cruise to victory. She’s got a significant war chest and no viable GOP challenger as of yet. That said, she feels more like a ticket balancer to me. If Gavin Newsom were to win the nomination, be it in 2024 or in another cycle, she’d be the perfect fit for him. But she never even broke into double digits in 2020, and there’s little reason to believe she’d be able to now.


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