Jeff Weaver, who managed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, predicted that President Joe Biden will face a progressive primary challenger in 2024, Politico reports.
“Will there be a progressive challenger? Yes,” Weaver told the outlet, adding that he was not advocating such a challenge.
Weaver argued that a challenge from the left would not necessarily be a “repudiation” of Biden.
“Progressives are ultimately ascendant,” he said. “And if nothing else, a progressive running who gets a lot of support will demonstrate that the ideas that the progressive movement embraces are, in fact, popular.”
But there is no evidence that Sanders, 2020 progressive presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, or any other top-tier elected officials are actively discussing such a challenge.
Still, progressive handwringing over Biden’s first year highlights the challenges Biden faces after failing to pass his Build Back Better proposal last year.
Lesser-known names could run:
Without any top-tier names in the mix, some progressives have floated lesser-known candidates.
“Someone like Nina Turner or Marianne Williamson. Doubt anyone currently elected," one progressive told Politico, referring to Sanders’ former adviser and the failed 2020 presidential hopeful.
“I think the president will definitely face a challenger in 2024,” Williamson told Politico. “The yearning to make government actually work for the people again is so intense now, and yes, absolutely, someone will emerge to make a stand for it.”
Some progressives believe that new names could emerge if the Democrats badly lose in the midterms as expected.
“He’s deeply unpopular. He’s old as shit. He’s largely been ineffective, unless we’re counting judges or whatever the hell inside-baseball scorecard we’re using. And I think he’ll probably get demolished in the midterms,” Corbin Trent, co-founder of the progressive No Excuses PAC and former communications director for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, told Politico. “People will smell opportunity, and D.C. is filled with people who want to be president.”
But some progressives also worry a failed primary challenge could hurt, not help, the progressive agenda.
“Progressives in the House, in the Senate, in the Progressive Caucus are not talking about primarying Biden,” an aide to a senior House progressive told Politico.
“I think it’s pretty unlikely that a serious progressive challenger would emerge if Biden stays in the race,” former Warren aide Max Berger told Politico. “It would so go against the sensibilities of rank-and-file Democrats that I don’t think it would necessarily be a great service to the progressive cause to have our ideas seem so marginal.”