Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Democrats Are Worried

The announcement of Rep. Dean Phillips (DFL-MN) that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination has accomplished something. It made Democrats run for their worry beads and start using them. They expect the 2024 election to be close and are scared of anything that might cost Joe Biden 1% of the vote, elect Donald Trump, and destroy the country forever. Their latest fear is that while Phillips has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination, by talking about Biden's age all the time, he could convince a few thousand Democrats in key states to abandon Biden, either by voting for a third-party candidate or by not voting at all.

Top Democrats are pleading with everyone: "Stop looking for a Biden alternative. It is pointless and only serves to divide the party." The only condition in which looking for an alternative might make sense is if the Republicans nominate Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis, in which case a much younger Democrat might be called for. But the odds of that are small.

Many Democrats are now blaming themselves for asking "What if... " for so long instead of getting behind Biden a year or more ago. Gov. Tim Walz (DFL-MN) summed that up by saying: "Democrats by nature are a little bit skittish. They get themselves worried. They work themselves up. They talk in their groups, amongst one another. Just stop it." Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) said: "I deal in the real world. He is going to be the nominee, regardless of whether people think they can construct on paper a more attractive nominee or not." Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said: "Every time Democrats go on TV and say: 'The president's done a great job, but he's 80 years old,' all they're doing is feeding this appetite out there by some for a third-party run. That could be the worst thing that happens in a century."

Biden's advisers are frustrated with all the talk of finding someone else. They point to his many achievements in office and how he has herded the cats far better than anyone could have expected. They also don't believe for a second that a younger nominee, say Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), would suddenly pull millions of die-hard Trump voters into the blue camp. They believe that Trump has a floor of 45% and no Democrat will be able to change that. It is going to be a close election, no matter what, and Biden is the only Democrat around who has demonstrated that he can beat Trump. (V)

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