One camp argues, essentially, why push? No one of note in the party is going to challenge Biden, and he may appear above the competition if he continues to be … president. They point to images of his daring trip to Kyiv, Ukraine. More recently, Biden received a hero’s welcome in his native Ireland. Some around the president say he has done little as a candidate over the next two months, likely to top the precious, emotional, optics. Donors are restless — but really, when aren’t they?
“What this matters is: Biden is going to run, and he’s going to win. The exact date he will ‘officially’ announce is completely meaningless,” the rep said. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).
Amid all the gasps, several Democrats outside the White House told POLITICO he’d be better off waiting until late summer or fall. They point to a chaotic Republican primary and a cable TV siren-dominated legislative fiasco revolving around former President Donald Trump as reasons for Biden to dry his powder. Some noted the sordid nature of Trump’s potential reenactment video on Tuesday, the first day of his Manhattan trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman decades ago. They ask on Facebook which story will get the most eyeballs.
Meanwhile, other potential Republican candidates — such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence — won’t make their own announcements for weeks or months. Biden’s schedule next week, which includes a state dinner for South Korea’s president and a White House Correspondents’ Dinner, doesn’t lend itself to an obvious flow of political momentum. A messy fight over the debt ceiling this summer could further drag on Biden’s poll numbers.
Now, as he spends the weekend at Camp David, the political world is once again waiting to see if the announcement will come on Tuesday, the four-year anniversary of his 2020 announcement. Few outside Washington are clamoring for it. Poll after poll shows mixed appetite among Democrats for another run, even as a majority in the party approves of the job he’s doing.
At the macro level, little will change next week when Biden releases a video announcing his bid — and then starts bombarding supporters with digital overtures for contributions. In fact, much of the motivation to do so amounts to housekeeping.
In addition to raising money, Biden’s aides will eagerly begin the process of building a legitimate operation. There will be many events. He will continue to travel to raise funds. His aides did not expect him to undertake any kind of sustained political campaign this early in the process.
What the launch can do is give some of the world of Biden and the broader party a chance to get swinging.
said Democratic strategist Mark Langbach. “It brings clarity to your work. Now we know we’re running. Now we can hire a campaign manager. Now we can get an office in Wilmington. Now we can start moving. I think that’s great for Biden and the party.”
Some in Biden’s inner circle are amused by wild speculation about the date. Yes, Tuesday was the anniversary of his 2019 campaign launch, and it turned out great. And, yes, Biden is a little superstitious. But Biden has been slow to make big decisions, and some would be dismayed if the timeline slips again.
For months, those in Biden’s orbit and many Democrats have begun building a campaign apparatus — including headquarters in the president’s beloved hometown of Wilmington, Del. — as they wait for the commander-in-chief to say “yes.” Some longtime friends have privately wondered if he did. They look at his age, the number of jobs any president takes, and the fact that Biden tires easily and is prone to verbal lapses.
But most always believed he would sign. Biden has spent more time running for the presidency than any other politician in history. His record is strong, they argue. Trump’s threat stems from a strong belief that Biden is the only Democrat who can beat him.
Those in favor of jumping now make two primary arguments. First, announcing a campaign would finally quiet questions from reporters and Democrats about whether Biden would run, confounding a storyline that could become a distraction if it drags on for months.
“You guys in the media go after him and say, ‘Isn’t he?’ “You’re assuming that,” Longabach said. “It puts all those stories to rest. Now he’s in, he’s announced, he’s filed his papers, he’s running. My personal opinion is that a lot of those stories are just distractions. Now those distractions are gone.
But mostly it’s about money. Several senior White House aides have noted that any months lost to fundraising ultimately cannot be made up. While Biden is a fundraising juggernaut, a delay in getting started could cost him dollars in the end, they argue. And while the full-scale campaign won’t begin for months, buck-raking will begin soon. It will be useful.
Former Obama Administration and former Sen. “The more time you have, the less rushed you feel,” said Patrick Martin, Evan Bay’s assistant. “They’ve reached the point where it makes sense to start a formal campaign.”
Shea Gabos contributed to this report.