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Democrats Are Already Pushing the Exhausting ‘Fall in Line’ Strategy Ahead of the 2024 Election

Joe Biden speaking at a podium, making a pointing hand gesture.

As the next Presidential election continues to inch ever closer, Democrats are deploying a strategy that’s too familiar to many in the party. The call to get behind Biden at all costs, to fall in line or be called complicit with Trump’s fascism, is already making news.

In November, former Obama adviser and political strategist David Axelrod questioned whether Biden was the best choice for Democratic nominee. Top Biden strategist Symone Sanders fired back that if Biden wants to run, “that’s your nominee, baby!” and there cannot be any question of that decision.

But many people are questioning Biden’s decision to run and the party’s decision to run him. According to polling, two thirds of all registered Democrats think Biden is too old to run for a second term. Biden—who just turned 81 this month—is already America’s oldest president. Donald Trump, however, is only three years and five months younger.

Age is not the only reason some voters and registered Democrats are concerned about Biden. His approval of the Willow Project and his support of more funding of the war in Israel, among other issues, have divided Democrats. Young voters, who are upset about Biden’s failure to cancel debt and the increasingly high cost of living and lack of universal health insurance, are especially critical of the President. Young voters are the highest growing voter bloc.

The idea that participation in a party primary election is, at best, futile with the outcome predetermined, or at worst, disloyal to the party and dangerous to democracy may be the reason why more competitive primary candidates don’t step forward and we’re left with the likes of RFK. The Democratic establishment’s response to Dean Phillips’ candidacy in the primary has been to call him a “political sideshow.”

Party primary elections date back to the Progressive Era. Wisconsin Governor Robert La Follette advocated for primary elections as a way to break from backroom decision making and give voters the opportunity to have a say about the future of their party. However, they only work as a tool for voter empowerment if candidates can run without being dismissed or demonized. Biden as a foregone conclusion leaves the Democratic Party oblivious to new talent and compelling alternatives. In defending Biden as the only and inevitable choice, Symone Sanders said the quiet part out loud, noting that the process is not very democratic. Perhaps prioritizing democratic processes should become a Democratic Party goal. After all, it’s right there in the name.

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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