WASHINGTON, DC: Powerful Democrats could employ David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, to spread an anti-Biden message, aimed at persuading him to withdraw from the 2024 presidential race due to recent poll setbacks.
Tensions between the Biden and Obama teams came to the fore when Axelrod, a close political adviser to the former president, openly suggested that President Biden should consider stepping down for the good of the country.
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The growing criticism of David Axelrod
Axelrod’s criticism grew in prominence as he intensified his criticism of President Biden, advising him to “get out or leave.”
The escalation of Axelrod’s disapproval was fueled by a Politico report alleging that Biden called Axelrod an “asshole” for making negative comments about his re-election strategy.
In an interview with CNN, Axelrod, known for his role in Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012, expressed concerns about Biden’s viability in the 2024 election.
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Referring to a New York Times/Siena College poll showing voters favoring Donald Trump in key states, Axelrod said the poll results should raise “legitimate concern” among Democrats.
He highlighted the risk associated with changing course so close to the primary campaign deadline, but highlighted the abundance of leadership talent within the Democratic Party.
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“The stakes of a miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore,” Axelrod said. “Only Joe Biden can make that decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he has to decide is whether it’s wise, whether it’s in his best interest or in that of the country?”
While Axelrod clarified that he did not explicitly call for Biden to abandon, he defended his comments by saying, “Either you leave or you leave.”
He told CNN: “Look, I understand he was irritated because I raised concerns that many, many Democrats had. And again, you know, my feeling is either go or go .”
Underscoring the seriousness of the upcoming election, Axelrod stressed that “the stakes are so high” that Biden will likely face Trump. “It’s a fundamental question of what American democracy will look like in the aftermath of the next election,” he said.
“So the stakes are very high. He knows that. What I think he needs is for him to take a sober look at the whole landscape. And yes, he is determined to move forward. I understand , he should do it, but he should do it. then look at what his campaign is doing and what they need to do, get out of this kind of referendum framework and go after Donald Trump every day because Donald Trump will be the Republican Party candidate.
Democratic party dynamics
The interaction between the Biden and Obama teams has always been characterized by tension, according to sources on both sides. Although tensions exist, respect and support are also recognized.
Given this, Axelrod’s views do not represent the entire Obama team, and tensions between the two camps are a lingering aspect.
A former Biden 2020 campaign staffer told The Hill: “Before [Axelrod’s] comments, there was always tension between staff at all levels. There is a tension there between the two camps, for sure, that has always existed,” said a former member of the Biden 2020 campaign.
Describing the dynamic between Obama and Biden aides, a former Obama administration aide told the outlet that the tension is the result of an Obama White House with “sharp elbows” and an inner circle that was “difficult to penetrate” for the Biden team.
The source explained the dynamic, saying: “You have a lot of ego, and so there’s the warm-up and then the main show. The undercard and main event. There is always this dynamic between the presidency and the vice-presidential staff. »
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama (left) and Vice President-elect Joe Biden greet supporters after Obama delivered his victory speech at an election night event at Grant Park November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Axelrod’s ability to get under Biden’s skin is nothing new, given his active presence on social media and cable television. His role as a political analyst is reflected in his willingness to make harsh criticisms of his own party. This time, Axelrod’s comments could be indicative of the underlying sentiment within the ranks of the Democratic Party.
The catalyst for Axelrod’s comments was the New York Times/Siena poll that predicted Trump would win more than 300 Electoral College votes, surpassing the 270 votes needed to become president.
Conducted among 3,662 registered voters in six key states from October 22 to November 3, 2023, the poll indicated a margin of sampling error of between 4.4 and 4.8 percentage points for each state.
Subsequent polls, like the one from Stack Data Strategy reported by Politico, echoed concerns about Biden’s electability. Even if Biden won the popular vote, the poll suggested Trump would prevail in the Electoral College, by a margin of 292 to 246.
Voices of apprehension
Prominent Democrats, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Dean Phillips, have expressed concern about Biden’s chances in 2024.
During a conversation with MSNBC host Jen Psaki, without explicitly calling for her removal, Jayapal highlighted the current conflict between Israel and Hamas as an important issue impacting voters and expressed her belief that the 2024 elections are in “great difficulty”.
“I think it’s important to recognize that we have a very divided country, as you well know. You said that the polls don’t really reflect where people are. I agree with you. But I I’m saying this, this is the first time. Jen, I felt like the 2024 elections were in big trouble, for the president and for our democratic control, which is essential to move forward,” Jayapal said.
“Because these young people, Muslim Americans, Arab Americans, but also young people, see this conflict as a moral conflict and a moral crisis. And they’re not going to be easily brought back to the table, you know, if we do that. not solve this problem,” Jayapal added.
In October, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota resigned as Democratic leader in the House of Representatives over his party’s support for Biden’s 2024 re-election bid.
Phillips, who has consistently said he does not believe Biden should run for office, explained his decision in October by saying, “My beliefs regarding the 2024 presidential race do not align with those of the majority of my caucus, and I deemed it appropriate to take action. outside of elected leaders.
Concerns about Biden’s candidacy have been circulating for months in private conversations among Democratic leaders. According to the Wall Street Journal, these conversations reveal a sense of anxiety hanging over the race.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine added his voice to the apprehension, saying he did not support Biden.
Drawing an analogy, Levine said: “It’s kind of like your grandfather was running the business, and you know it’s now at a point where the heirs could lose value if we don’t change direction. direction to the top.”
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