Left-wing operatives say it’s getting increasingly likely that the 79-year-old president’s re-election bid will be challenged by a member of his own party — a rare problem for an incumbent commander-in-chief, but a symptom of inter-party unrest and his own sinking poll numbers.
Jeffrey Weaver, who served as the Vermont senator’s 2016 campaign manager and an adviser in 2020, told Politico over the weekend that a primary challenge wouldn’t be a referendum on Biden but rather a result of where the Democratic party is heading.
Weaver said the odds of a Biden primary opponent only grew more likely when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin dealt a death blow to Democrats’ goal of passing the president’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill last month when he announced his opposition to the key piece of Biden’s agenda.
‘Will there be a progressive challenger? Yes,’ the longtime left-wing operative predicted.
He added that an opponent on the left would be more a symbol of progressives’ rising popularity than a rebuke of Biden’s presidency.
Jeff Weaver (left, pictured with Bernie Sanders in 2006) has worked with the Democratic socialist lawmaker for years and thinks Joe Biden will see another left-wing challenge in 2024
Discussing potential primary challengers this early in a sitting president’s term is a bad sign for Biden, who’s seen his poll numbers slide for months
‘Progressives are ultimately ascendant. And if nothing else, a progressive running who gets a lot of support will demonstrate that the ideas that the progressive movement embraces are, in fact, popular,’ Weaver said.
But rather than a big name challenger like Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker, one progressive is quoted in the report predicting lower-profile Democrats will come to the forefront.
‘Someone like Nina Turner or Marianne Williamson. Doubt anyone currently elected,’ they said.
Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was floated in the report as a potential Biden 2024 primary challenger
Turner was an Ohio state senator and national co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 campaign. More recently she lost the Democratic primary in the state’s 11th Congressional District, for last year’s special election to succeed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge.
Williamson mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Weaver’s fellow Sander alum, Corbin Trent, shared a more frank opinion of Biden’s impact on the White House and the Democratic Party.
”He’s deeply unpopular. He’s old as s***. He’s largely been ineffective, unless we’re counting judges or whatever the hell inside-baseball scorecard we’re using,’ Trent is quoted as saying.
‘And I think he’ll probably get demolished in the midterms.’
Trent, who worked as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director and then served her re-election campaign before abruptly departing in March 2020, said Biden is vulnerable to a left-wing primary challenge.
Corbin Trent (right, pictured with Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 when he worked as her communications director) co-founded Justice Democrats, the progressive group that discovered and backed the firebrand lawmaker’s successful primary bid against former New York Rep. Joe Crowley
‘People will smell opportunity, and D.C. is filled with people who want to be president,’ he said.
The last Democrat to face a significant primary challenge was President Jimmy Carter, whose 1980 re-election bid was threatened by late Senator Ted Kennedy’s popularity in the Democrats’ race. Carter eked out a victory but was defeated in the general election by Ronald Reagan.
But according to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight, Biden’s approval rating is actually lower than Carter’s was at this point in his term — and falls below that of every president since Harry Truman, with the exception of Donald Trump.
A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released on Tuesday shows Biden starting the year with a meager 40 percent approval rating — a two-point increase from November.
His Vice President, Kamala Harris, is faring even worse with a 32 percent approval rating in the survey taken December 27 through December 30.
Fifty-four percent of Americans say they disapprove of Biden’s job in office.
Only a third of respondents said they believe Biden is a strong leader, while 62 percent believe the opposite.
A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Monday shows Joe Biden starting 2022 with just 40% approval and Vice President Kamala Harris with a 32% approval rating