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Biden Frames Himself as Underdog Amid Criticism from Democratic Elites

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

President Joe Biden, from his position as the nation’s highest officeholder, has recently started to frame himself as an underdog, particularly against elected Democratic representatives.

Following a period of relative silence and a poor interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Biden has taken a combative stance, claiming frustration with the Democratic Party’s elites. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he challenged his critics to run against him or challenge him at the convention, emphasizing that their past predictions were wrong.

In a letter to Congress, Biden urged Democrats to move past debates over his candidacy, asserting that the voters have already decided.

He portrayed his commitment to running as a fulfillment of the voters’ trust, dismissing the influence of the press, pundits, and big donors. Biden emphasized that the Democratic nominee should be decided by the voters alone, aligning himself against elite decision-making within the party.

However, there are contradictions in Biden’s anti-elite narrative. Despite his claims, Biden himself is an elite figure, and his quick rise during the 2020 primaries was heavily supported by party leaders and donors.

This strategic coordination aimed to counter Bernie Sanders’s strong support among younger, reform-minded voters. In the current election cycle, Biden has leaned into incumbency advantages, with primaries appearing largely ceremonial.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Biden’s criticism of the press and pundits mirrors long-standing right-wing narratives accusing the media of bias. This rhetoric, reminiscent of Trump and earlier conservative figures like Nixon, has been picked up by Biden’s supporters, though it lacks grounding.

Polls, contrary to Biden’s claims, overestimated his chances in 2020 and were fairly accurate in 2022. Misleading attacks on the media could be harmful to the Democrats’ electoral prospects.

Polls for the 2024 election show Biden trailing Trump, especially in key swing states. Despite Biden’s claims of representing the voters’ choice, many within his own party, including a significant portion of Democratic voters, favor replacing him.

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau and other critics argue that the dissatisfaction with Biden is not an elite or media-driven phenomenon but a genuine concern among the electorate.

House Democrats, particularly from competitive districts, are increasingly vocal about their concerns with Biden leading the ticket. His weak debate performance and poor polling numbers suggest potential losses for Democratic representatives.

The House, traditionally the power base for a party aiming to represent ordinary Americans, has seen its influence wane under neoliberal party leadership. Biden’s dismissal of House members’ concerns without proposing solutions underscores the ongoing elite capture of the Democratic Party, contradicting his anti-elite rhetoric.

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