As President Biden plans to launch his reelection campaign, he is whistling past a graveyard of recently discarded Democratic Party icons, who have either left the scene willingly or are being gracelessly kicked out.
Nancy Pelosi. Steny Hoyer. Pat Leahy. Jim Clyburn. Anthony Fauci. Dianne Feinstein. Their combined age is 500 — and until a few months ago, they were running the country. Now they’re shadows of their former selves, headed to the greener pastures of retirement, book deals or the backbenches of the House of Representatives.
Over the past few months, the Democratic Party’s leadership has transitioned from the Silent Generation to a mixture of baby boomers and Gen Xers. This, of course, isn’t welcome news to America’s Silent Generation president, who it’s rumored will announce his reelection in the coming weeks.
Joe Biden will be eighty-two on Election Day in 2024 — and would leave the White House at the ripe old age of eighty-six were he to win a second term. He just defied history with a not-horrible midterm election, so things must be looking great for him, right?
Wrong. Recent revelations that Biden treated his garage like a CIA outpost, storing classified document after classified document there after his time as vice president, are “tak[ing] some paint off of the Biden presidency,” in the words of one of the White House journalists who covers him.
It’s quite unfortunate for Biden that these classified documents were stored there for years, were discovered days before the 2022 midterm elections, and yet were only publicly acknowledged weeks later, right before his planned 2024 announcement. This followed a poorly timed Christmas vacation in paradise while Americans froze to death.
Surely that’s as far as the bad news goes, right? Yet almost as if Biden sought to prove his critics right, he spent the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day fibbing and forgetting things, such as the name of MLK’s daughter-in-law, whom he was singing happy birthday to. So a normal weekend for the president. Then again, Biden is a serial fabulist who lies about everything, from getting arrested while trying to see Nelson Mandela (he was not) to quitting college football to visit his first wife (his father made him quit because he had horrible grades).
The best news for Biden, however, is probably that things are going to get even worse for most of his intra-party alternatives.
Assuming that Biden runs, polls indicate that the other credible candidates would include failed border czar Kamala Harris, the nation’s worst transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s fellow octogenarian Bernie Sanders, twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, California governor Gavin Newsom, and gas stoves’ public enemy number one Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A formidable crew this is not.
While there’s no guarantee that Democrats will wheel Biden over a cliff this cycle, it’s clear that they’re tired of waiting for the old guard to leave. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are still technically members of the House, but they were all simultaneously dethroned by a younger generation tired of waiting. This is a huge shift from how Pelosi normally scares her possible successors, as she did with Chris Van Hollen, who ended up running for the Senate because he knew she wasn’t going anywhere. Until now, it seems.
In an more jarring display of forcing retirement, Representative Katie Porter, perhaps best known for being one of the worst bosses on Capitol Hill, is so desperate to kick Dianne Feinstein to the curb that she announced her bid for Senate in the midst of historic storms that were ravaging California — without even waiting for Feinstein to make her 2024 plans clear. Porter kicked off a sprint to show Feinstein the door, with her fellow Democrats Adam Schiff, Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee scrambling to get their Senate plans in place as well.
2024 is set to be a massive problem for Democrats. So much of the party’s logical bench was wiped out during the Obama presidency that a normal farm team doesn’t really exist. There’s a reason Pete Buttigieg — a favorite of Obamaworld — is viewed by many as a long-term salvation, even though he’s better at inadvertently grounding thousands of flights than he is at winning over black voters.
And somehow the other alternatives are all even worse.