Obama strategist David Axelrod is encouraging President Biden to think long and hard about running in 2024 after a new poll showed him losing to President Trump.
With the election about a year away, Biden is trailing his rival in the key battlegrounds of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georga, Nevada, and Arizona, the New York Times/Siena College poll found. The only battleground where Biden is leading is Wisconsin, by two points.
It's a remarkable turnaround from 2020, when Biden carried all of those states by narrow margins.
Remarkably, Trump is leading despite facing 91 criminal charges. Trump has dismissed the charges as politically motivated and a desperate effort to derail his campaign.
If the American people elect Trump again, "democracy" may never recover, Axelrod warned, without a hint of irony.
"Trump is a dangerous, unhinged demagogue whose brazen disdain for the rules, norms, laws and institutions or democracy should be disqualifying. But the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore," Axelrod wrote on Twitter.
It's very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden's team says his resolve to run is firm.
He's defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party--not "bed-wetting," but legitimate concern. https://t.co/g6zeWF0T87
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 5, 2023
But ultimately, "only Biden" can make the decision whether to drop out, Axelrod said.
"If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it's in HIS best interest or the country's?
"It’s very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm.”
Biden is facing what appear to be frivolous primary challenges from Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help guru Marianne Williamson.
Axelrod, who led Obama's successful 2008 and 2012 campaigns, later told CNN that Biden is running out of time to make a decision.
He rejected comparisons to 2012, when early polling showed Obama behind.
“Obama was 50 and not 81, and we didn’t have Donald Trump on the other side. So those are two factors that have to be considered,” Axelrod said.
Biden has given no sign he intends to step aside, however, and the party's elites have mostly continued to back him in spite of the murmurings of doubt.