The narrative this week HAS been polls showing the standing President slightly ahead of a ex-President that has been arrested FOUR Times…..
THAT means media AND others ARE thinking about what would happen if Joe Biden decided to NOT seek a 2nd term or was physically unable to….
Joseph R. Biden IS on record as saying he’s GOING for a second term of four years….
He DID beat the leading opponent against him last time….
Biden has NOT stepped into the campaign mode , while Trump IS plastered ALL over the media almost everyday….
(Biden & Co. ARE out with 2 campaign ads in the last few days)
THAT has people exploring possible choices for Democrats should a Biden replacement is needed….
The TWO top tier names ARE Vice President Kamala Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom….
By all appearances, Mr. Newsom is a man with an eye on the White House, building a national network of supporters and accumulating the kind of good will among donors, party operatives and voters that could prove critical should he decide to move beyond Sacramento. Mr. Newsom said in an interview that he was not running for president, and that the time has come for Democrats to rally around President Biden.
“The train has left the station,” Mr. Newsom said. “We’re all in. Stop talking. He’s not going anywhere. It’s time for all of us to get on the train and buck up.”
But it may be difficult for Mr. Newsom to quiet speculation about his own future. He has spent months positioning himself as one of his party’s leading voices during a time of deep Democratic worry and lingering unease about the political strengths of Mr. Biden, who is 80, and his vice president, Kamala Harris.
A CNN poll released on Thursday found that 73 percent of all respondents were “seriously concerned” that the president’s age might affect his mental and physical competence. Some 67 percent of Democrats said the party should nominate someone else.
Mr. Newsom has, by his account, sought to reassure the White House in both public and private that he is no threat to Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign. And in turn, Mr. Biden’s team has appeared to pull him closer. The governor will be a top Democratic surrogate defending Mr. Biden when Republican candidates debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library later this month.
This dance — of raising one’s profile without undercutting the president — is the challenge for a class of Democrats-in-waiting, which also includes Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. But Mr. Newsom, a 55-year-old telegenic, popular-in-his-own-state leader, has made himself the most visible in this group, and he may serve as a reminder of Mr. Biden’s shortcoming as he seeks re-election.
“He’s got to be careful about it,” Joel Benenson, a pollster who advised Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, said of Mr. Newsom’s effort to raise his profile. “You don’t want to be too cute by half. If you are going to run, do it. If not, go out there and make the connections and talk to Democrats, learn about these states. The worst mistake would be the way to do it and seem sly about doing it.”….
Another look at the top and second tier of Democratic possible sweepstakes contestents if needed…
A CNN/SSRS poll released this week showed just 39 percent of adults approving of Biden’s job performance, his lowest number in more than a year.
Almost three-quarters of the population, according to the poll, believes Biden lacks the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president.
Even among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 67 percent asserted the party should choose someone else as its standard-bearer in the 2024 election.
Despite all that, most Democrats believe Biden, 80, will indeed be the party’s nominee in the next election.
It is extremely difficult to defeat an incumbent president in a primary, and the president’s two declared opponents, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, are going nowhere fast.
Even so, plenty of Democrats are at least daydreaming of alternatives, just in case Biden would decide to step aside or circumstances would change unexpectedly….
top image….Dog Millis/NY Times
bottom image….The Hill