OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
While it’s nearly a certainty that President Joe Biden will be the Democratic Party’s pick for 2024, he looks increasingly likely to lose at least the first two primaries to rising challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
That’s “if they’re in the traditional first-to-vote states of Iowa and New Hampshire — a scenario that seems increasingly likely,” Axios reported.
That’s because Biden’s campaign has announced that they won’t put his name on the ballot in either of those two states if they have their primaries before South Carolina, which is reportedly his preference.
“Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire could defy Biden and move ahead with their contests — even as the party warns it will strip them of their national convention delegates if they jump the gun,” Axios reported further. “That sets up a scenario in which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or another long-shot Democrat could win those states — and embarrass the president.”
Following Biden’s unexpected announcement in December designating South Carolina as the initial state for Democrats in the 2024 season with a primary, which is scheduled for Feb. 3, New Hampshire Democrats have openly criticized both the White House and the Democratic National Committee.
While the revised calendar placed New Hampshire and Nevada as the second states to vote a few days after South Carolina, New Hampshire Democrats have countered that their state law mandates it to hold the nation’s first primary. And several within the party have expressed their determination to do so, according to Axios.
“Iowa Democrats haven’t been as publicly hostile over Biden’s move. But in the past two months they’ve quietly moved to hold their contest the same day as Iowa Republicans — in January, but with a mail-in option for ballots,” the outlet reported.
“That could put Iowa first on the Democrats’ calendar — but New Hampshire lawmakers and party officials have signaled they may then attempt to move ahead of Iowa,” it added.
Prominent Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats expressed their frustration with the Democratic National Committee’s extensive process of determining the primary calendar. They criticized the lengthy procedures involving written proposals, presentations, and travel, as mere theatrics that appeared to have a predetermined outcome.
“I believe the DNC’s process was flawed and that top party officials had their own agenda from the start,” said Sen. Jean Shaheen, a Democrat and New Hampshire’s senior senator.
A senior Iowa Democrat told Axios something similar: “We are rule followers and want to be part of the process, but we did everything the DNC asked, and we got no consideration.”
While a series of polls over the past several months have indicated that most Democratic voters do not want Biden to run again, the die seems cast. And in fact, according to several Democratic insiders, keeping Biden in place could be just a ploy to pave the way for a President Kamala Harris at some point.
“The DNC’s strategy to ensure the Democrat establishment remains in power is to re-elect Joe Biden, no matter how old or capable he is, and then get him to resign or step aside and install Kamala Harris as president,” said former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Independent who ran for president in 2020 as a Democrat.
“She will be untested and unelected and ready to act as the Democrat Establishment’s puppet president. She will then have the advantage and power of incumbency to run in 2028,” she told Fox News Digital. “None of this is possible if Biden doesn’t run.”
“Democrats may be happy with Kamala Harris taking over, but the rest of the electorate almost certainly is not,” Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster who is also a founder and partner of Schoen Cooperman Research, said. “Harris has lower approval ratings than Biden, and remains very much an open question to the electorate whether she is ready and indeed able to govern.”