Jonathan Chait, the liberal columnist from New York Magazine, raised concerns about Democrats’ backing of President Biden on Thursday, suggesting that the situation was becoming “dire.”
Chait expressed that President Biden, despite being a “safe choice” in 2020 due to his association with the popular Obama presidency and his appeal to a broad voter base, now faced challenges arising from his low approval ratings.
“In 2020, Biden was a reassuring reminder of the beloved Obama era and had the ability to attract voters who were uneasy about the Democratic Party’s shift to the left. However, any positive distinctions he had back then have been overshadowed by widespread disapproval of his performance in office. Currently, he is far from being considered a safe choice,” Chait wrote.
Chait referred to a Politico column by Jonathan Martin, which argued that Biden had not done enough to address voter concerns about his age.
According to one Democratic lawmaker quoted by Martin, a primary challenge would be a positive development, as the party was failing to address voter apprehensions.
“An open and competitive primary in the presidential election could only yield positive outcomes. Disregarding public concerns about the president’s image is detrimental to all of us,” commented Rep. Hillary Scholten, D-Mich.
Chait characterized a primary challenge as a “high-stakes gamble.”
“Launching a primary challenge against Biden is a high-stakes gamble. The risks are significant: a defeated challenger could potentially harm Biden and likely undermine their own prospects. However, a defeated challenger might also offer Biden an opportunity to demonstrate his capacity to handle a demanding campaign. Furthermore, a successful challenger could rescue the party from the worst possible scenario,” he wrote.
Martin’s reporting also revealed that the president’s most ardent supporters would “nervously question” whether they would look back and realize that Biden was too old for a second term, a point Chait described as the “most disconcerting.”
“In their more candid moments, even the most steadfast defenders of Biden, those not on his payroll, will anxiously ponder whether they will one day reflect on this moment and recognize that the electorate had concluded he was too old for another term — and he had ignored the flashing warning signs to press on regardless,” Martin wrote.
Chait suggested that Democrats’ reluctance to support a primary challenge was rooted in fear and self-interest.