By Arab News
By Dalia Al-Aqidi*
In his third year in office, US President Joe Biden is diligently preparing for a critically significant round of elections aimed at securing a second term, despite facing challenges stemming from his relatively low approval ratings and perceived subpar performance.
Prior to contending against his Republican opponent in the general election, Biden must successfully navigate the Democratic primaries and secure his party’s official nomination. This process necessitates garnering support from within the Democratic Party, rallying party members, and triumphing over fellow contenders in a competitive and rigorous selection process, all in an effort to solidify his candidacy and pave the way for a robust campaign in pursuit of a second presidential term.
Alongside the emergence of seven Republican contenders vying for their party’s coveted nomination, Biden confronts a distinct challenge from within his own party. A cadre of fellow Democrats, each possessing their own unique strengths and policy platforms, has stepped forward to compete against Biden in the race for the party’s nomination.
As the primary season unfolds, the landscape of Democratic candidates comes into focus. Each contender brings attributes, be it a proven track record in public service, a charismatic and compelling persona, or a bold policy agenda to address the nation’s pressing challenges. The upcoming battle for the Democratic nomination promises to be a riveting display of political competition, with Biden navigating the complex landscape of party politics, facing not only external opposition from Republicans but also an internal struggle against his fellow Democratic contenders.
Ultimately, the fate of the Democratic Party’s nomination rests in the hands of voters as they weigh the merits, qualifications and promises of each candidate, deciding who possesses the vision and leadership qualities required to secure their party’s nomination and potentially unseat Biden from the pinnacle of Democratic politics.
Candidate No. 1 is President Biden, with Kamala Harris on the ticket. In a poignant video unveiling his candidacy, Biden drew on the resonating themes that defined his initial presidential bid, highlighting the continuing struggle for the very essence and character of the US. With an official declaration that ended widespread speculation, he has unequivocally announced his intention to embark on a quest for a second term in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections.
Recalling his steadfast declaration from four years ago, Biden invoked the prevailing notion of America being locked in a consequential battle for its soul, thereby underscoring the enduring urgency that continues to permeate the national consciousness. He emphasized that the crucial question confronting the nation in the years to come revolves around the fundamental principles it is built on: Preserving and expanding individual freedoms, safeguarding fundamental rights, and the overarching vision for a more inclusive and equitable society.
Ironically, Republicans are running to achieve the same goal, away from the far left.
Biden’s resolute declaration heralds the commencement of an arduous yet essential journey, wherein he seeks to persuade the electorate that his steadfast leadership will steer the nation toward a future marked by enhanced freedoms, expanded rights and a thriving society that embodies the values and ideals symbolic of a united and prosperous US. Nevertheless, he had his turn and failed; what would make his second term successful?
This raises an intriguing question: Who are the other two candidates, and what do they bring to the table in their bid to wrest the nomination from Biden’s grasp?
With their diverse backgrounds, they seek to capture the attention and support of Democratic voters, hoping to convince them that they offer a superior alternative to Biden’s leadership.
In a notable development, Marianne Williamson has become the first Democrat to formally announce her presidential bid, demonstrating an unwavering determination to enter the electoral fray.
Williamson’s decision to enter the race positions her as the foremost primary challenger to Biden within the Democratic Party. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that her chances of securing the Democratic nomination are widely perceived to be highly improbable. At the age of 70, Williamson brings to the table her credentials as an esteemed author and spiritual adviser. Having previously pursued the Democratic nomination during the 2020 presidential election cycle, she encountered limited success in gaining significant traction amid a fiercely competitive field of contenders. After withdrawing from the race, Williamson extended her endorsement to Andrew Yang during the pivotal Iowa caucuses.
While Marianne Williamson’s candidacy adds a new dimension to the political landscape, it is essential to recognize the prevailing skepticism regarding her potential to emerge as the Democratic Party’s nominee. Nonetheless, her entry into the race signifies a continuing commitment to engaging in the democratic process and shaping the national discourse, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of ideas and perspectives that define American politics.
The second candidate is renowned as a scion of one of America’s most illustrious political families. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an activist espousing anti-vaccine sentiments, officially declared his candidacy for the presidency on April 5, signaling his intent to challenge incumbent Biden for the party’s nomination. However, Kennedy’s endeavor to secure the nomination in opposition to the president is widely regarded as a formidable undertaking, with limited prospects of success.
At the age of 69, Kennedy, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the son of Robert F. Kennedy, initially established himself as a bestselling author and an accomplished environmental lawyer, focusing his efforts on critical issues such as preserving clean water resources.
Kennedy veered down a controversial path more than 15 years ago, becoming deeply entrenched in the belief that vaccines pose inherent risks. Since then, he has emerged as a prominent figure within the anti-vaccine movement, a stance that has drawn criticism from public health experts and even members of his own family, who have characterized his work as misleading and hazardous to public health.
Notably, his anti-vaccine advocacy has intensified in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent development of vaccines, culminating in a notable surge in revenues for his anti-vaccine charity, which reportedly doubled to reach $6.8 million.
In 2021, Kennedy released a book, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” in which he leveled accusations against the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, alleging that he played a role in an unprecedented subversion of Western democracy. Furthermore, Kennedy used his platform to endorse unproven treatments for COVID-19, including the administration of ivermectin, primarily prescribed for parasitic infections, and the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
While Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s entry into the presidential race adds a distinct facet to the political landscape, it is essential to acknowledge the controversial nature of his anti-vaccine activism and the ensuing skepticism surrounding his candidacy. Nevertheless, his decision to pursue the presidency contributes to the broader tapestry of ideas and perspectives that define American democracy, prompting continuing discussions about public health, scientific consensus and the boundaries of political discourse.
In adherence to electoral tradition, it is highly uncommon for prominent Democrats to challenge a sitting president. However, if circumstances transpire wherein President Biden chooses not to pursue re-election, whether due to concerns surrounding his age, which has sparked detailed discussions within his party or for other unforeseen factors, the political landscape could potentially witness the emergence of alternative Democratic contenders.
Ultimately, the unfolding political trajectory remains uncertain. However, the prospect of alternative Democratic candidates entering the race injects a sense of anticipation, compelling us to recognize the potential for a strong and diverse field of contenders who can ignite a spirited exchange of ideas and take the position away.
• Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy