CV NEWS FEED // Rep. Dean Phillips, D-MN, said fellow Democrats should “take the chance” and challenge President Joe Biden for the party’s 2024 nomination.
“I would like to see a moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland, from one of the four states that Democrats will need,” the congressman said Sunday in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Phillips invited “anybody who wants to run” to challenge Biden, referring specifically to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, and Cornel West, both of whom have recently criticized the Democratic Party.
Manchin is weighing a third-party or independent presidential bid. He said last month that he has been “thinking” about leaving the Democratic Party “for quite some time.” West, a leftist icon who is currently running for the Green Party’s nomination, recently called the Democratic Party “beyond redemption” when it comes to its attitude toward working-class Americans.
Phillips praised the primary process, saying it does not “undermine the likelihood of returning, in this case, a Democrat to the White House.
“I’m actively inviting, encouraging to some degree, imploring, that people who are ready and know it’s probably time to do so take the chance.”
The Democratic backbencher has represented many Minneapolis suburbs since he was first elected to Congress in 2018, unseating an incumbent Republican. He has since developed a reputation for being a “centrist” or “moderate” despite voting with Biden’s stated position 100% of the time in 2022.
This is not the first time Phillips has made the case for his party to nominate a candidate other than the incumbent president. In mid-August, The Washington Post called him “the most vocal Democrat in Congress to challenge Biden’s electability, citing poll numbers and the president’s age as key factors in why he should pass the baton to someone else in the party.”
The Post added:
His concerns are sometimes expressed privately by other Democrats, but most disagree with Phillips’s decision to express his misgivings publicly. His criticism is a distraction, said several Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share their thoughts about intraparty tensions. They also worry his criticism of Biden’s age could be used by Republicans in attack ads during the campaign.
Phillips said at the time that his position was based on what he called “a grave risk” of former President Donald Trump winning back the presidency. “I’m doing this to prevent a return of Donald Trump to the White House,” Phillips said.
A week later, Phillips raved about his party’s “extraordinary bench,” saying “Gretchen Whitmer and Raphael Warnock on a ticket in 2024 would be a dream team. You’d have a female at the top of the ticket, in a year in which reproductive rights are going to be front and center.”
Referring to abortion by the left’s preferred euphemism, Phillips lamented that it “sadly, is probably the one issue that the president’s really uncomfortable talking about.”
Both Whitmer and Warnock are involved with Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign.
At the same time, Phillips this week made it clear that he would not be endorsing Manchin or West, saying, “Those people are absolutely helping Trump.”
Phillips also said that while he does not support Biden’s existing primary challenger, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he is “not someone to be dismissed.”
The Minnesota congressman mulled the possibility of challenging Biden himself, even going as far as meeting with potential donors. However, he announced late last month that he has decided not to take that course of action.
A bipartisan study published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) found that 73% of respondents – including two-thirds of Democrats – viewed Biden as “too old” to run for president. Forty-seven percent of respondents said that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who is three-and-a-half years younger than Biden, is too old.
If Trump or Biden were to serve a full second term, either one of them would become the oldest president in American history. Biden, who currently holds the distinction, will turn 82 two weeks after voters head to the polls next year. If elected, he would be 86 after the conclusion of his second term.
“Voters are looking for change, and neither of the leading candidates is the change that they’re looking for,” said a Democratic political strategist who conducted the poll alongside a Republican strategist.
WSJ reported Monday that the “negative views of Biden’s age and performance in office help explain why only 39% of voters hold a favorable view of the president. In a separate question, some 42% said they approve of how he is handling his job, well below the 57% who disapprove.”
The Democrats who are most critical of Biden are, on average, younger. A New York Times poll from early August found that 54% of voters surveyed between the ages of 18 and 29 disapproved of the president’s White House tenure.
This age group is considered to be a reliable Democratic-voting cohort that helped Biden’s party stave off a widely-anticipated “red wave” in the 2022 midterms.