Democrats may have avoided complete annihilation in the midterm elections, but if they don’t get it together soon, they may have only bought themselves some time. The 2024 election season is already upon us as politicians, and members of the chattering class are focused two years ahead.
The Republican Party is dealing with an identity crisis of sorts. They are still trying to sort out what went wrong during the midterms. Speculation as to the presidential contenders has begun in earnest, especially after former President Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the White House.
But what about the Democrats? After having lost the House, albeit by slimmer margins than originally expected, they are also dealing with an identity crisis, and everyone can see it.
Radio talk show host Charlamagne Tha God gave a rather astute assessment of the situation in which the Democratic Party finds itself during a recent appearance on Fox News in which he pointed out the reality that it does not have much in the way of a viable contender for the presidency in 2024. He suggested that if President Joe Biden is the standard-bearer to run against Trump, it might not go like last time.
“I think it can go either way. Like, I don’t think it’s a sure thing, which is sad, right?… It’s sad that we’re saying it’s still a toss-up between [Trump] and President Biden,” he said. “I think that’s more indicative of what, you know, Democrats aren’t doing. And for me, I just don’t see the bench that the Democrats have. I personally don’t see the person that they could put up in 2024 that could really galvanize and energize people. I mean, the fact that Biden is still their safest bet- ugh. I think that’s sad too.”
Later in the conversation, he said the Democrats’ only possible saving grace would occur if someone unknown comes out of the woodwork to energize their base. He said:
“Maybe there’s somebody that we’re not even thinking of that is going to decide to throw their hat in the ring and, you know, energize the country the way, you know, President Obama did. You know, maybe it’s somebody that we’re not even really thinking about because they haven’t been in that long or, you know, but other than that, any of the players that we know, I don’t see it, man.”
Even the prospect of Vice President Kamala Harris as a contender didn’t make Charlamagne less bearish on the Democrats’ prospects for the White House.
“No, I don’t think the vice president stands a chance against Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis unless something magically changes over the next two years, and she pivots greatly, you know, but based on what we’ve seen so far, no,” he said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has also been floated as a potential candidate, also didn’t strike Charlamagne’s fancy.
“You know, he’s part of the LGBTQ community. So I think that gives him a lens of empathy that, you know, a lot of people may not have, so he’ll be able to see things from a lot of different people’s sides but, you know, I just don’t know if America will embrace him because of those same reasons,” the radio host observed.
Charlamagne indicated that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis might have a better shot at the presidency than people seem to believe, noting that “people are sleeping on Ron DeSantis.” He continued:
“I can’t even believe the conversations I’m hearing with people saying ‘I don’t think he can win the national election.’ Why not? What will make them think that he can’t win a national election? Sorry to tell y’all, man. I’m from the south. I’m from South Carolina. More of the country is more like Florida than we may want to believe. The majority of America is more, you know, rural and, you know full of conservative values like in a place like Florida than there is, you know, other places. I think when you live in New York or California, you might be fooled to think that’s the world. That’s not the world. The world is more Southern and Midwest than anything.”
The talk show host also suggested that DeSantis might be in a good position to challenge Trump in the primaries. He said his “gut” makes him believe that the governor might have a good chance of becoming the nominee, but also acknowledged that celebrity still has a “stranglehold” on the American psyche, which would work in Trump’s favor.
From where I sit, Charlamagne’s analysis is on point. This past year has shown us that the Democrats still don’t have a viable candidate to challenge Republicans for the White House in two years. Everyone they have on the bench is a weak prospect. I have said on several occasions what Charlamagne brought up: Democrats might need an Obamaesque figure who comes out of nowhere and captures the base’s imagination in a way that galvanizes them to show up at the polls.
The only other option would be California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has already been testing the waters nationally. He is the only high-profile Democrat who might have the charisma and political aptitude necessary to pull off a victory.
But whether it is a newcomer or Newsom, it is clear the Democrats will have quite an uphill struggle when it comes to their prospects for 2024. If the Republicans learn their lessons from 2022, they might just be in a position to take advantage of their opponents’ weakened state.