WaPo opinion writers rank who wins Democratic nomination ‘if Biden doesn’t’ run

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A group of Washington Post opinion writers ranked who they believe would be the Democratic nominee for president in 2024 on Friday if President Biden doesn’t run for reelection. 

“Well, President Biden is who we’ve got, and he’s who the Democrats have got going into 2024. Unless …” the article said. The opinion columnists on the “Post Pundit Power Ranking” ranked Vice President Kamala Harris as most likely to win the Democratic nomination. They describe her as the most obvious choice, but columnist Megan McArdle said she was also “charmless, gaffe-prone and not particularly beloved by voters.”

Jennifer Rubin wrote that “it would be shocking if the incumbent vice president didn’t run.”

The second most likely to win the Democratic nomination, according to the Post columnists, is Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

BIDEN’S 2024 INTENTIONS DON’T STOP POTENTIAL DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS FROM RAISING THEIR PROFILES

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting with Guatemalan justice sector leaders, in the Vice President's Ceremonial Office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting with Guatemalan justice sector leaders, in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ((AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta))

“Nobody is smarter, nobody is better in a debate. The deficiencies that hampered Buttigieg in 2020 — he was so young, he had never run anything bigger than a small Midwestern city — are taken care of,” Eugene Robinson wrote.

Hugh Hewitt praised Buttigieg’s ability to answer questions from the media. 

“He’s still smooth as silk on air and online, and he has a campaign in waiting. Democrats need someone who can win arguments, not sputter through cliches and talking points, all while being under 60,” Hewitt wrote. 

Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against the president’s bid for reelection in recent weeks as some are concerned with Biden’s age and plummeting approval rating. A New York Times/Siena College poll from June found that 64% of Democratic voters want a different nominee in 2024. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif, was next on the Washington Post columnists’ list. 

“Given his state’s makeup, Newsom is free to sign all kinds of progressive legislation, contrasting the national party’s failures,” Greg Sargent wrote, adding that his efforts to respond to the Supreme Court’s abortion decision will appear to voters angered by recent decisions. 

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a bill signing ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 09: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a bill signing ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DEMOCRATS GRUMBLE OPENLY ABOUT BIDEN’S AGE, EFFECTIVENESS AS 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION LOOMS

Columnist Matt Bai argued that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich., was the party’s strongest candidate. She was ranked as the fourth choice, followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-G.A., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. 

“If Biden doesn’t run (and I really think he won’t), hypothetically, the party’s strongest candidate would be Whitmer,” Bai said. “She’s media savvy and has a record to run on. Only one person pushes every button. Nearly being kidnapped by crazy extremists doesn’t hurt, either.” 

Columnist Greg Abernathy said Ocasio-Cortez as a potential candidate should not be dismissed. 

“AOC is a media darling and social media superstar with a knack for getting attention. She’s intelligent and well-spoken and a perfect fit for the selfie generation. In a culture that demonizes older leaders like never before, she’ll be just old enough, constitutionally, to be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2025,” he wrote. 

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference to discuss legislation that would strengthen Social Security benefits, on Capitol Hill October 26, 2021, in Washington, D.C. 

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 26: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference to discuss legislation that would strengthen Social Security benefits, on Capitol Hill October 26, 2021, in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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The president is reportedly annoyed by the growing questions surrounding his 2024 bid coming from members of his own party. His aides told the New York Times in June that they see it as a “a lack of respect from their party and the press.”