Biden Should Not Seek Re-Election, Says Democratic Lawmaker In Congress

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U.S. President Joe Biden receives an update on economic conditions at the White House
U.S. President Joe Biden listens as he receives an update on economic conditions from his advisors in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2022.

A Democratic lawmaker in Congress has come out against President Joe Biden running for a second term in 2024. This is the first public call from a member of the President’s party to forgo a run, a sign of his struggles to hold onto the enthusiasm of his supporters.

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., appeared on WCCO’s "The Chad Hartman Show" on Friday, where he told the show's host that he did not support Biden seeking a second term in office and that he believed the U.S. would be served better by a fresher face in the party. Biden has served in politics for nearly 50 years.

Phillips praised his party's leader as "a man of decency, of good principle, of compassion, of empathy, and of strength," and credited him with serving with "principle and with decency at a time when we surely needed it," but this did not take away from his belief that the Democrats require newer leaders.

This criticism did not stop with President Biden, who will be 82 in 2024. In his interview, Phillips also pointed to other members of the Democratic leadership in his caucus, who he appeared to suggest should also make room for newer members. 

In the House of Representatives, the Democrats’ most senior members are all 80 or older. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is 82, as is the second ranking Democrat Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is one year older than both at 83. 

"I am part of a caucus here in Congress where three top leaders are over 80 years old, where the president will be over 80 in the next election. And I think it's time for a generational change," said Phillips.

Biden has already committed to running for re-election, but Phillips’ remarks laid bare the difficulties he is facing in keeping his party together. Mired in low approval ratings amid high inflation and weaker economic growth, Biden has seen his brand deteriorate among fellow Democrats. 

A New York Times/Siena College from earlier in July found that 64% of Democratic voters said they would prefer a different candidate than Biden compared to 26% who stuck with him. A separate poll by CNN from earlier this week found 75% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters saying they would prefer another candidate than Biden.

Mindful of Biden’s weaknesses, Democratic political operatives have been sounding out potential replacement candidates for 2024. In the wake of multiple mass shootings and the overturn of Roe v. Wade last month, other Democrats have made it a point to speak out more forcefully than the president on these issues, moves seen by observers as designed to illustrate a contrast with Biden. 

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