South Carolina Democrats get their say this Saturday in the presidential nominee selection process. U.S. president Joe Biden‘s expected easy win is the biggest political non-surprise since Ronald Reagan romped to reelection with 49 states way back in 1984.
And why shouldn’t it be? It was planned that way.
Biden and his obedient minions on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) made sure well in advance they’ll get the very outcome they want here – the saving of Biden’s bacon (again). Accordingly, they gleefully discarded the 100-plus-year tradition of New Hampshire’s primary as the first in the nation. Then they shuffled the cards and re-stacked the primary calendar to make sure things turn out in their favor.
Recall 2020: After disastrous showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina brought Biden’s moribund campaign back to life. And that ‘First in the South’ victory catapulted him to a huge Super Tuesday victory – and the Democratic nomination.
Between South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison at the helm of the DNC and House Democratic honcho Jim Clyburn’s time-tested ability to turn out the black vote — the bedrock of Democrat support in the Palmetto State — Biden’s victory is a foregone conclusion.
All that remains are a few pesky final details. How big a score will Team Biden put on the board? Will Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips match the solid 20 percent of the vote he scored in New Hampshire almost two weeks ago? And will anybody show up to vote for self-help guru and party gadfly Marianne Williamson?
Intriguing as those questions are, a bigger — and far more important — question lurks behind the scenes.
Is the whole primary campaign actually nothing but blue smoke and mirrors to mask Biden’s pre-planned presidential retirement?
Whispers are mounting that the party’s top movers and shakers have been plotting for months to dump Biden at this summer’s DNC convention in Chicago.
It’s easy to understand why they feel that way. Biden’s myriad problems can be quickly summed up in just a few quick words: 81. Losing it. Inflation. Border mayhem. Wars (Ukraine-Russia, Israel-Hamas). We could go on, but you get the idea. Oh, throw-in approval ratings so low they make Walter Mondale look like a political rockstar.
Add it all up, and it spells serious trouble ahead come November. Any politician worth his or her salt knows that when the top of the ticket is dangerously weak, it can hurt other candidates down the ballot.
So, the repeated whispering goes, old Joe will be forced to walk the plank this summer in order to save the SS Democratic Party from going down with him. Given the general lack of enthusiasm among everyday Dems for Biden-Harris 2024, an entirely fresh ticket could spark excitement and rekindle the desire to win.
But just who would head that new ticket?
Speculation has centered for months that it just might be the wife of Biden’s old boss: Michelle Obama.
The prospect has grown beyond gossip and is slowly seeping into the MSM. For instance, The New York Post carried this story on January 22, 2024: “Michelle Obama May Already be Working On A 2024 White House Bid.” Conservative pundits such as Bill O’Reilly say it’s coming.
Such a selection could prove to be a double-edged sword for Democrats. While a Michelle Obama nomination would certainly galvanize the party base, that vote is already in the bank. It would be like a salesman making a pitch to a customer who’s already bought the product.
But what about the rest of the citizenry? Republicans reflexively loathe the name ‘Obama,’ regardless of whether the first name is Barack or Michelle. So, there are no votes to be gained there.
That leaves independents. True, certain old-school concerns are no longer relevant. After having had a black president and the first woman major party presidential nominee, the concept of a black woman candidate wouldn’t appear to be as radical as it would have a decade ago.
But there are pitfalls in the claim that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 nomination cleared the way for Michelle Obama in 2024. True, both gained unique insights into the day-in, day-out workings of the presidency that only come from being married to the head of the free world. After that, the comparison quickly falls apart. Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton served in the U.S. Senate and as secretary of state prior to running. Michelle Obama? [Insert sound of crickets chirping.]
The Obamas remain darlings in Democratic eyes, a reminder of the party’s glory days of 2008. But does that attraction extend to the general public?
Democrats understandably want to win in November. The current team is problematic at best and potentially politically toxic at worst. Torpedoing Biden-Harris might not be a bad move. But sending in Michelle Obama as a replacement isn’t necessarily a panacea.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at email@example.com.
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