At this point, it’s almost cliché to point out that Joe Biden is in deep trouble. In just under a year of successive disasters, Biden sits at an appalling 36% approval rating.
Republicans and left-wing radicals have slammed the president — albeit for different reasons — since day one, but now even the moderate Democrats that made up Biden’s base are starting to realize that the party is on a sinking ship going into 2022 and probably 2024.
Almost 65% of Democrats want to replace Biden with someone else in the next presidential election, and party insiders are starting to think the same thing. Major outlets have recently published a slew of reports quoting unnamed insiders and strategists who predict an apocalyptic 2022 for the Democrats and hope Biden does not seek reelection.
A party strategist’s observation that “We’re going to get slaughtered” seems to sum up the collective feeling in the Democratic Party at the moment pretty well. And once the Democrats take a shellacking in the November midterms, those quiet hopes and anonymous criticisms will most likely turn into public calls for Biden to step aside in the 2024 election.
Meanwhile, Republicans are cheering on the impending Democratic implosion.
But Republicans shouldn’t so quickly toast Biden’s potential downfall. With his senility becoming more and more apparent after each public gaffe and his administration racking up an almost impressive record of blunders, Biden is the ideal candidate for the GOP to go up against in 2024. In fact, Biden is so bad that any replacement on the ticket would make a Republican victory harder. By supporting Biden’s premature ouster, the Republicans risk facing a candidate who would not only have a better shot against the likely GOP frontrunners — Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis — but also push even more radical leftist policies.
A similar situation to what may happen in 2024 unfolded in the 1976 Republican primary. Even in his short two-year tenure in the Oval Office, incumbent President Gerald Ford managed to become deeply unpopular. He had first become vice president in the wake of the corruption investigation that forced Vice President Spiro Agnew to resign in 1973, and he then ascended to the Oval office after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 during the Watergate scandal.
His subsequent pardoning of Nixon caused his opinion polling to nosedive. He also presided over the worst economy in the U.S. since the Great Depression as well as the fall of Saigon in 1975 — crowning America’s humiliating defeat after a decade of war in Vietnam.
As you might imagine, things did not look good for the GOP going into the 1976 presidential election, and the conservative wing of the party began looking for someone to replace Ford on the ticket. Former Republican California Gov. Ronald Reagan stepped up to take on Ford, and the race between them was still too close to call by the start of the Republican National Convention in August 1976. With 52% of the delegates, Ford clinched the nomination on the first ballot.
The frontrunner in the Democratic primary in 1976, former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, presented himself as a squeaky-clean political outsider, i.e. the exact opposite of Ford.
However, even with Ford’s almost overwhelming unpopularity, the crises still facing the nation and the obvious rift within the Republican Party, Ford only narrowly lost to Carter that November. Carter received 50% of the popular vote to Ford’s 48%, and he beat Ford by 57 electoral votes. About 56,000 votes in Ohio and Wisconsin lost Ford a shot at a full presidential term.
It’s hard not to imagine that a Reagan-Carter matchup four years early would have ended much differently than it did in 1980 (Reagan trounced Carter in a landslide). A Reagan presidency in 1976 would signal the ascendancy of the the more radical, activist wing of the Republican Party (like it actually did in the 80s) and the defeat of the more liberal faction represented by Ford.
So, for the Democrats, the GOP’s decision to keep Ford as their candidate was the best outcome they could hope for.
The same is now true of Biden from the Republicans’ perspective.
While none of the Democrats currently maneuvering to possibly challenge Biden for the nomination are anywhere near the caliber of Ronald Reagan, a few of them could pose a challenge to Trump or DeSantis.
Instead of risking a divisive primary battle, Democrats may remove Biden from the ticket before the race even begins, thereby allowing Newsom or Harris free rein to prepare for the general election.
Some of the 2020 Democratic candidates might take another shot at the nomination with Biden gone. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are likely contenders and could possibly give Trump a run for his money. A Jimmy Carter-esque dark horse moderate, Roy Cooper of North Carolina or Sherrod Brown of Ohio, would probably do very well in a country sick of political polarization, but that would be a non-starter for the increasingly dominant left-wing of the party.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who has shared in Biden’s many blunders and created more than enough of her own, beats DeSantis in a hypothetical matchup 39% to 37%, according to a late June Harvard poll. However, the same poll predicted that she would lose to Trump 45% to 39%. Harris is definitely going to run at some point, and once she has the full might of the Democratic establishment and media behind her, which she did for a time in 2020, she could close the gap with Trump in 2024.
One of the more dangerous potential Democratic candidates appears to already be maneuvering for a 2024 run. California Gov. Gavin Newsom spent over $100,000 to air ads in Florida touting the “freedom” of his state as a direct swipe at DeSantis.
In prospective head-to-head matchups, Newsom barely beat Trump 40% to 39% in a Yahoo News/YouGov poll from late June. He beat DeSantis by an even wider margin, 39% to 36%.
Now imagine a President Newsom using the pen and the phone to implement catastrophic policies that have turned California into an open cesspit on a national scale. While the vast majority of Biden’s mistakes have been the result of sheer incompetence and the president’s fading grip on reality, the calamities America would face during a Newsom administration would come as a result of entirely calculated moves by a fanatical ideologue.
The short-term triumph of toppling Biden could very easily turn into a ruinous defeat for the GOP.
For the GOP, the next two years boil down to simple electoral logic. They want to put their candidate up against the weakest possible opponent in 2024 to maximize not only their chances of taking the White House, but also creating a wave effect that increases their chances of securing governing majorities in the House and Senate. And while people can make plenty of memes about Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsom, the Democrats’ weakest possible candidate in 2024 is undoubtedly Biden.
If they continue to pile on they risk getting someone worse not only for their electoral prospects, but for the American people as well.
Hayden Daniel is the opinion editor at the Daily Caller.