Behind the scenes, Biden aides are quietly preparing for a 2024 run

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s top aide is quietly building up the 2024 campaign effort, according to nine people familiar with the plan, with growing discussions about who might manage the operation, potential themes, and structure.

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The current plan is for a Biden re-election effort to rely heavily on the resources of the Democratic National Committee and only a small campaign staff, a cost-saving configuration that follows the model of then-President Bill Clinton’s re-election bid. and dramatically differs from the campaign of then-President Barack Obama, these people said.

Biden and his top advisers are also using homestretch for November’s midterm elections to test potential 2024 topics, people familiar with the discussion said, such as taking on wealthy special interests and calling their achievements “promises, Keeping in office as promised”.


“The implicit contrast on ‘Promises’ is clear and sharp,” said Sen. Chris Koons, D-Del, a key aide to Biden. “Former President Trump talked about fixing American infrastructure, so often it became a joke on late night shows. President Biden has actually got a bipartisan, strong infrastructure investment bill into law.”

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The behind-the-scenes 2024 plan goes further than Biden’s verbal assurances that he intends to run again, as some members of his own party question whether or not he should.

At the same time, people familiar with the discussion said the process is at best Biden in that it’s painstakingly deliberate, and key constituents remain untenable, leading some Democrats to still disagree that he will eventually run. The DNC-campaign dynamic in particular suggests an approach of going through the motions for a Biden 2024 bid, in which it sets up a political operation that he can do if he runs or replaces another nominee. can stand.

“He’s running and we’re building an infrastructure for him to run and win,” said Cedric Richmond, a prominent Biden adviser who moved from the White House to the DNC earlier this year. “Right now, this is an initial investment in 2024 while we are helping 2022.”

Some major campaign decisions on strategy and personnel are stalled past the midterms, and as polls show Democrats have a better chance of holding on to the House and Senate than they did just months ago. If the party retains control of Congress, the president’s priority will be on his legislative agenda, and Biden wants his top adviser to remain on long enough to help carry out the plans, people familiar with campaign discussions said. But, he said, if Republicans win one or both houses, it is likely to accelerate Biden’s re-election campaign.

He added that discussions about the 2024 campaign manager are focused on making sure that taking a member of Biden’s small inner circle into the role doesn’t leave a significant void in the White House, which has been left open to a Republican-led investigation. Will have to deal with the onslaught or advance the yet-to-be-defined legislative agenda depending on the mid-term outcome.

Should Biden settle on someone already serving in the West Wing, the likely time for a White House official to leave would be around February, he said, and there are ongoing discussions about who he could be, In which several Biden allies are under consideration. Jane O’Malley Dillon, who ran Biden’s 2020 general election campaign and now serves as the White House deputy chief of staff, is expected to play a major role in the 2024 re-election bid. Familiar people said.

Preparation for 2024 remains centralized among Biden’s core group of senior advisers, which includes Ron Klein, Steve Richetti, Anita Dunn, Mike Donilon and O’Malley Dillon – all of whom currently serve in the White House.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a Democratic National Committee rally on Aug. 25 in Rockville, MD.Drew Anger/Getty Images File

Biden has felt buoyed by recent legislative successes, which aides believe have helped stave off a potential primary challenge and maneuvers by other Democrats himself to step in if he doesn’t. to get into position. At the beginning of the summer, the president was dismayed by his falling polling numbers and felt he was not getting a break in the midst of growing crises. But now people close to him say that he is more excited. A new Associated Press/NORC poll released Thursday found that 45% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 36% in July.

While involved in planning for 2024 and receiving weekly voting updates, Biden is not expected to give a formal green light to run for re-election until after the holidays, people familiar with the discussion said. First Lady Jill Biden told Granthshala News this week that no formal “family meeting” on the subject has yet been scheduled on the calendar, but that “promised, promised” arguments are emerging for seeking another term. echoed.

“Look, Joe did it,” she said. “What he said is true that he will. And so I think he just needs to keep going,” he said.

The president has begun test-driving the potential “promises kept” theme in recent weeks and has featured it on social media. In a recent public appearance, he has been selected through a laundry list of laws he has signed into law and Tuesday a Video Following the same theme, it was posted on his Twitter account, “President Biden made promises to the American people and he kept them.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a liberal New York Democrat, said the theme was reminiscent of then-President Donald Trump’s “promised, promised” re-election logic. “The whole Trumpian type of ideal is entertaining,” she said with a laugh. “But I think what we can do is speak honestly about what’s given and talk about what else we want to achieve.”

party trust

Instead of focusing on his own political operations as Obama did, Biden directed allies as president to ensure that the DNC invests early in building infrastructure for the mid-term. Biden advisers see an opportunity, given how many 2022 battlegrounds the same state for the Senate and governor will likely decide the 2024 election.

Relying on the DNC for its 2024 operation would save a Biden campaign money, given that the committee already has several hundred employees, an established war room and a communications team that will be needed for Biden’s re-election. The focus could be refined, people familiar with the plan said. The DNC also isn’t subject to the tight fundraising limits of a presidential campaign—a single donor can give a party committee up to $875,000 per year, compared to the $2,900 cap on contributions to a candidate, according to a Democratic official. And the DNC can transfer an unlimited amount of money to state parties for coordinated operations on the battlefield.

So far, more than 250 full-time, paid DNC employees have been deployed in eight major states, most notably Pennsylvania, which exceeded the 270 electoral votes Biden needed to win in 2020. Relying on party machinery would be allowed. The Biden campaign is trying to create its own separate campaign infrastructure in each state.

The dynamic will also give Biden flexibility on the timing of an announcement because most of the work on building the campaign mechanism will have already been done by the DNC.

But while a DNC-focused campaign may seem a natural fit for Biden, relying on the committee poses risks. The DNC has been plagued by dysfunction in recent years and, as Granthshala News reported earlier this year, tensions between committee chairman Jaime Harrison and the White House have fueled the former’s sense of isolation in the job and Considered leaving early.

“I’ve been around for 40 years and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a good thing about the DNC,” said Joe Lockhart, a former Clinton White House press secretary. “People are always complaining about it.”

Using the DNC to complement a smaller campaign team is essentially the model Clinton used for her re-election in 1996. However, Obama had a major 2012 campaign campaign in Chicago, coordinating with but not relying on the DNC. ,

“Biden is more comfortable dealing with the DNC than Obama is,” said Alan Kessler, a longtime Democratic fundraiser in the Philadelphia area. “The Biden approach is the more traditional approach.”

Biden is more a creature of the Democratic Party than Obama. Obama came to power on the strength of a small-donor movement, inspired by his history-making candidacy and personal story. After taking office in 2009, Obama founded an outside group called Organizing for America, which sought to form a coalition in support of his legislative agenda – effectively shunning the DNC. Biden has shown a great deal of willingness to rely on existing party infrastructure.

A person familiar with the 2024 plan described the idea of ​​the official Biden campaign team as a “skeleton crew.” That team could operate out of Delaware or Philadelphia, which is home to Biden’s 2020 campaign headquarters, or potentially in the same building as the DNC in Washington, this person said.

Biden’s aides say no final decision has been made on campaign staffing, and they are not expected to be there until after the midterms.

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