If Biden leaves, Raimondo for president?

Doubts about President Biden’s re-election prospects are fueling speculation, or perhaps just wishful thinking, that he won’t run in 2024, opening the door for another centrist like former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.

Biden publicly insists he plans to run again, but his low approval ratings and shaky performance in office say otherwise.

Biden will turn 81 in November 2024. Never in history has a candidate of that age been considered a serious contender.

If the Democrats are slaughtered in the midterm elections, Biden will be toast no matter what he says. He will get most of the blame if the Republicans take control of Congress.

Biden has now gone 100 days without a media interview. Polls show that only two in 10 Americans are happy with the direction the country is headed, a dismal number that shows how poorly Biden is doing.

The best possible outcome for Democrats is for Biden to gracefully step aside and simply finish his first term, clearing the way for others to get involved.

And if voters are looking for another moderate like Biden, rather than a far-left candidate, that could be Raimondo, who currently serves as Biden’s Secretary of Commerce.

Raimondo is known as a pro-business centrist who backed billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s doomed 2020 candidacy. Despite that mistake, she was considered for Biden’s vice president and was chosen to join the president’s cabinet after that he took office.

A new book reports that Raimondo actually suggested that Biden drop out of the race to clear the way for Bloomberg, a move that earned him mistrust from top Biden advisers and some progressives. Raimondo also clashed with labor groups as governor of Rhode Island.

Raimondo, educated at Harvard and Yale, is considered a centrist like Biden, and may not be liberal enough for the left. But she has earned praise for her handling of COVID-19 and would be an intriguing choice if Democratic voters reject the far-left policies of other liberals.

Biden’s most obvious successor is Vice President Kamala Harris, who would start as the likely front-runner. But her early missteps in office and failed 2020 run won’t scare off potential challengers.

That means we could see shunned Democrats like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and US Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders start showing up with their sights set on another race. Buttigieg and Warren are practically running again, even with Biden still in the mix.

That’s a pretty weak lineup.

Democrats need a serious infusion of new blood if they are to avoid a repeat of 2016 when another former presidential loser, Hillary Clinton, tried again.

Would Hillary try to make another comeback? Some Democrats think it’s possible, believe it or not. Republicans would be very lucky.

The biggest star out there is former first lady Michelle Obama, who would totally step onto the field if she wanted to. Obama would probably be the strongest candidate from the Democrats, but it is not clear if she would want to take the plunge and follow in her husband’s footsteps.

If Obama and Biden overlook in 2024, keep an eye on Raimondo.

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