OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
President Joe Biden was giving a campaign speech Monday at a church in South Carolina when protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict interrupted him.
At Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where a white supremacist murdered nine people in 2015, a small group of protesters yelled out “ceasefire now,” but the supporters quickly drowned them out with chants of “four more years.”
“I understand their passion,” Biden said, acknowledging the protesters as well as a rift that’s divided some within the Democratic Party. “I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza.”
In his speech, Biden outlined one of the apparent main themes of his 2024 campaign platform: Democrats can vote for him, who is a staunch supporter of democracy, or they can choose for former President Donald Trump, who, according to Biden, “attempted to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence.”
“There’s some in this country trying to turn a loss into a lie,” Biden said Monday. “This time, the lie is about the 2020 election.”
He went on to criticize Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, for her refusal to acknowledge slavery as a contributing factor to the Civil War at a campaign event last month.
“Let me be clear for those who don’t seem to know — slavery was the cause of the Civil War,” Biden said. “There’s no negotiation about that.”
🚨 Pro-Palestine protesters SHOUT DOWN Biden at speech at Mother Emanuel AME Church pic.twitter.com/2pY16YfJhN
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 8, 2024
Biden’s speech comes as he faces weakening polling.
A leading strategist for JPMorgan Chase said over the weekend that President Joe Biden will drop out of the 2024 race at some point before election day, suggesting that there are already plans in place for that to happen.
Michael Cembalest, who leads the financial giant’s market and investment strategy unit in JPMorgan Chase’s asset management division, believes Biden, 81, will leave the race “sometime between Super Tuesday and the November election, citing health concerns.”
Super Tuesday, which is scheduled for March 5, involves primaries in more than a dozen states, including California, Texas, Massachusetts, Vermont and North Carolina. In the modern era, whoever wins the bulk of Super Tuesday primaries is considered the frontrunner and eventual party nominee.
Cembalest justified his prediction by citing Biden’s taking approval rating, especially for a president who can claim “around 10% job creation since his inauguration,” though much if not most of that was caused by Americans returning to the workforce after lengthy COVID shutdowns, which Cembalest noted in a forecast letter to investors and clients.
He didn’t predict who would take Biden’s spot but predicted it would be “a replacement candidate named by the Democratic National Committee.”
Conventional wisdom suggests that Vice President Kamala Harris would be the logical replacement, but she is extremely unpopular — more so than Biden — with a 55-percent disapproval rating according to political analysis site FiveThirtyEight.
That said, “Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and self-help author Marianne Williamson are the only other Democrats who have declared their candidacies,” the New York Post noted.
Cembalest is not the only one who has predicted Biden will leave the race — or should leave it.
In November, longtime longtime Democratic strategist and operative who helped Barack Obama win two terms is all but begging President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.
David Axelrod made his plea following the release of a New York Times/Siena College poll of registered voters that spelled excessively bad news for Biden. The poll found Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in five of six critical swing states a year out from the election and having only a 2-point lead over Trump in a sixth battleground state.
“Only Joe Biden can make this decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party,” Axelrod noted on the X platform. “What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
“It’s very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm. He’s defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party–not ‘bed-wetting,’ but legitimate concern,” Axelrod added, citing “conventional wisdom” in another post with a graphic of the polling data.
It’s very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm.
He’s defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party–not “bed-wetting,” but legitimate concern. https://t.co/g6zeWF0T87
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 5, 2023
Biden, at the time, was trailing former President Trump by margins ranging from four to ten percentage points in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Biden led only in Wisconsin and just by 2 percentage points. Across the six battlegrounds—all of which Biden carried in 2020—the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.
Axelrod pointed out the elephant in the room when it comes to voters’ biggest concern about Biden.
“The greatest concern is that his biggest liability is the one thing he can’t change. Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: the age arrow only points in one direction,” he wrote in another X post.
In the Times/Siena poll, discontent is pervasive; most respondents claim that Biden’s policies have negatively impacted them personally, the New York Times reported.
The survey results reveal a wide range of Biden’s shortcomings, and worries about the president’s aging and mental capacity are just the beginning. Sixty-two percent of respondents felt that Mr. Biden lacked the “mental sharpness” necessary to be an effective leader.