Democrats Who Could Have Outshone Biden in the Race

Examining the Democratic field for the upcoming presidential race

by Zain ul Abedin
Democrats Who Could Have Outshone Biden in the Race
© Sean Rayford/Getty Images

As President Joe Biden, at 81, embarks on his quest for a second term, questions arise about the future of Democratic leadership in the United States. Biden, the oldest serving US President, has made a bold move, but it's not universally celebrated within his party.

Recent polls indicate a divided sentiment among Democrats. A February 2023 Associated Press survey highlighted that only 37% of Democratic voters are enthusiastic about "four more years of Uncle Joe." This lukewarm response coincides with mounting speculation of a Biden-Trump rematch, as indicated by Reuters' January 2024 report showing Trump with a narrow lead over Biden.

Exploring Democratic Alternatives

The Democratic landscape, however, appears sparse in terms of strong contenders against Biden. Marianne Williamson, a self-help author and one-time spiritual advisor to Oprah Winfrey, is in the fray but is often perceived more as an eccentric figure than presidential material.

Similarly, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, despite being a more conventional candidate, is still seen as a long shot. Attention has also turned to other potential candidates. Vice President Kamala Harris, despite her dip in approval ratings, remains a significant figure.

Her demographic appeal as a younger, black woman contrasts starkly with Biden's profile. Meanwhile, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, a young, gay Millennial, brings a fresh perspective but faces skepticism over his relative inexperience.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and California Governor Gavin Newsom have also been floated as possible alternatives. Whitmer's blue-collar appeal and leadership style are noteworthy, although her lack of federal experience raises questions.

Newsom, despite his achievements in California, has expressed no interest in the presidency.

Potential Presidential Contenders

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire capable of self-funding a campaign, could be a formidable candidate but faces the challenge of the Democrats' recent aversion to billionaire contenders.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a strong voice in Congress, seems more inclined to continue her legislative work than to embark on a presidential run. Bernie Sanders, a veteran of the 2016 primaries, remains popular among progressives and the youth.

However, like Biden, his age is a significant factor. In contrast, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brings youth and a fresh perspective but lacks experience in national politics. As Democrats ponder their future, the question remains: who can embody the party's aspirations while presenting a formidable challenge in the upcoming elections? The answer, still shrouded in speculation, will shape the party's trajectory and potentially the country's future.