One of Joe Biden’s challengers from the left does not think the president is going to stick around. Independent presidential candidate Cornel West told an interviewer recently that he thinks Biden may soon be dropping his bid for reelection.
A revered leftwing professor, West left the Green Party in October, announcing his bid to run as an independent run. In a conversation with Politico he said that he thinks Biden will be “pulling an LBJ,” referring to when Lyndon Johnson made the shocking announcement of March of 1968 that he would not be seeking a second full term as president amidst increasing unpopularity stemming from the Vietnam War.
“I’m not even sure whether I’ll be running against Biden,” West said during an 80-minute conversation with POLITICO reporters and editors. “Biden — I think he’s going to have an LBJ moment [and] pull back,” he told Politico.
West, wearing a three-piece black suit, crisp white shirt and gold cufflinks bearing the African continent on them, also addressed skeptics that say he will be a spoiler for Biden if he continues his presidential bid. As for Biden’s ability to stay in the race, West said he didn’t think the president can sustain the mounting criticism he has been taking from the left on everything from the Israel-Hamas war to the economy.
West, 70, said he may very well be running against the “B Team” of Democrats, name-checking two blue-state governors: Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. (Newsom has said repeatedly, as recently as Wednesday, that he isn’t running for the 2024 nomination.)
“I’m just saying that I’m open to those possibilities, given the fluidity of the situation,” he said when pressed on the prospect of Biden terminating his presidential bid. “He’s running out of gas.”
Talking about the GOP, the independent candidate voiced more confidence that Trump would likely be the nominee but did leave room open for the chance that he could be running against a different conservative. He noted that things could change “if the weight becomes too heavy with the indictments and court processes.”
Earlier this week, Pew released an approval rating that has sent many liberals running for the hills. The poll showed that only 33 percent of Americans think Joe Biden is doing a good job as president.
“The dismal rating,” explained The New York Post, “is the lowest that Pew Research has measured since Biden, 81, took office and represents a 2 point drop since the organization’s last approval survey in June.
The president’s approval rating among registered Republicans and those that lean Republican stayed level at 7%, while his support among Democrats tumbled 4 points from June, to 61%.
The pollster notes that Biden’s job rating among Democrats has fallen 12 points since October 2022 and is “relatively low among most major demographic groups.”
Only about half of black Americans, 52%, say they approve of Biden’s job in the oval office. The president did even worse with Hispanics and Asians, with 33% and 37%, respectively, saying they approve of the way he’s handled the presidency.”
Biden has insisted, despite the fact that he would be 86 by the end of his second term, that he will stay in the race because he has a near-obsession with preventing another Trump term and thinks he’s the only one who can stop it.
“If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” Biden said at a fundraising event for his 2024 campaign outside of Boston. “We cannot let him win.”
If things change, however, or Democrats finally convince him to drop out, Biden would likely still control whom his party nominates this summer at the convention.
Josh Putnam, a political consultant at FHQ Strategies, told the Washington Examiner explained what would happen if Biden stepped aside.
“Those delegates would still be free at the convention to vote for whomever they please but would potentially be more likely to take some direction from the president [if he has a preference],” Putnam, whose expertise includes delegate selection, said. “That could/would theoretically cut down on the potential for a ‘free-for-all’ in Chicago,” where the Democratic National Convention will be held.
“But it all hinges on when Biden is no longer in the race. Basically, how much of primary season happens without the incumbent in the contest?” Putnam said. “All of this, of course, assumes that much or all of this happens after filing deadlines have come and gone, meaning that no other candidates will officially enter the primary phase of the race.”
He also listed several potential “short-list” candidates who could fill in for the president.
That list “includes Vice President Kamala Harris, Rep. Dean Philips (D-MN), Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).
All of these candidates, save Phillips, who is opposing Biden in the Democratic primary, are backing Biden’s 2024 run but have some type of infrastructure that could make them attractive to unpledged delegates at the convention.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has always seemed like the obvious choice, but between her word-salad speeches and deep unpopularity, she may face pushback.