Congressman Dean Phillips challenges Biden by launching into the Democratic primaries | International
Minnesota Democratic Congressman Dean Philips has been saying for months that US President Joe Biden should not run for re-election. He alleged his age (80 years now and 82 at the time of starting a hypothetical second term) and his low popularity and encouraged others to come forward and challenge him. Now, Phillips, 54, has decided to take the step himself, as he had been hinting at in recent weeks. The congressman has registered his candidacy for the primaries of the presidential elections on November 5, 2024.
Phillips is in his third term in the House of Representatives for a district that covers part of the outskirts of the city of Minneapolis. He was first elected in 2018, when Democrats took numerous seats from Republicans in Donald Trump's midterm congressional elections. His chances against the tenant of the White House are slim due to the projection that the presidency gives to whoever occupies the position, due to the financing accumulated by Biden's campaign, the support of the party apparatus and because Phillips himself is barely known by the Big audience.
All in all, his candidacy is practically the only serious alternative in the Democratic primary race. The most popular candidate was Robert F. Kennedy Jr, son of the former senator of the same name assassinated in 1968. Kennedy decided to withdraw from the Democratic Party and run directly for the presidential election as an independent. He has no chance, but it is not clear what impact this alternative candidacy could have in subtracting votes from the Democratic candidate or, perhaps, the Republican candidate, given the anti-vaccine postulates and hoaxes of all kinds that he has propagated.
Apart from Phillips, Marianne Williamson, a 71-year-old author of self-help books who already tried without any success in 2020, and the leftist political commentator of Turkish origin Cenk Uygur, 53, born in Istanbul, are also running in the Democratic primaries. and who emigrated to the United States at the age of eight. Uygur can run in the primaries, but he does not even meet the constitutional requirement of being born on American soil to serve as president. The presence of Williamson and Uygur in the primaries is nothing more than anecdotal.
It remains to be seen if Phillips's is also. A millionaire heir to the family businesses and a businessman himself, Phillips entered the race so late that he can no longer even register his candidacy in time for the Nevada primary, the second state to vote in 2024 on the Democratic calendar, where the deadline registration has expired.
“I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country. But it's not about the past. “These are elections about the future,” Phillips said this Thursday in an interview with CBS. “I will not remain still or silent in the face of figures that say so clearly that we are going to face an emergency next November,” in reference to the polls and the possibility that former President Donald Trump will be elected for a second term.
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Biden's low popularity
The new candidate is trying to take advantage of Biden's low popularity, which in October has fallen to the lowest level since he assumed the presidency in January 2021. The approval rating has fallen four points in a month, to 37%, equaling the minimum that it reached last April, according to data released by Gallup, a leading pollster firm on the subject. What has now sunk Biden's popularity has been the withdrawal of support from Democratic voters after their closed support for Israel in its response in Gaza after the Hamas attack on October 7.
Approval by Democratic voters has gone from 86% to 75% in one month, a record decline of 11 points in the month of the conflict in the Middle East. The field work of the survey was carried out between October 2 and 23.
Immediately after the Hamas attack on October 7, Biden promised “solid and unwavering” US support for Israel, and subsequently visited the country on October 18 to reiterate that message. But Biden has drawn criticism from some members of his party for aligning himself too much with Israel and not doing enough for the Palestinians. Earlier this year, Gallup's own poll showed that, for the first time, Democrats' sympathies for Palestinians surpassed those they have for Israelis.
“Although the poll is not designed to allow statistically reliable estimates for any subset of the three-week polling period, the daily results clearly suggest that Democrats' approval of Biden fell sharply following the October 7 Hamas attacks and the promise of Biden's full support for Israel that same day," Gallup said in a statement. Biden's current 75% approval rating among Democrats is well below his own party's 86% average throughout his presidency.
Support for the Palestinian cause is especially strong among young people, one of the Democrats' strongest electoral niches. The defection of voters among them could constitute a serious problem for Biden in the 2024 presidential elections, in which Donald Trump leads the Republican primaries with a great advantage and is emerging as his likely rival. In the case of the new candidate Phillips, a Jew who has forcefully defended the United States' support for Israel, this aspect does not give him any advantage over Biden.
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