Commentary: Vulnerable Democrats try to avoid Joe Biden

As September opens, it's clear that many Democratic candidates, especially those in close congressional races, prefer the gaffe-ridden 79-year-old remain silent.

President Joe Biden speaks in the White House in April. (White House/Flickr)

The private thought among Democrats that President Joe Biden should remain quiet has become public.

As September opens, it’s clear that many Democratic candidates, especially those in close congressional races, prefer the gaffe-ridden 79-year-old remain silent on various topics.

I don’t do medical diagnoses on mental acuity, but I might feel more secure if Biden would more often use prepared statements, particularly on life-and-death subjects.

You may recall, for example, the uneasy situation this spring when Jake Sullivan cleaned up the president’s dubious comments about responding “in kind” to Russia’s potential use of chemical weapons. The national security adviser quickly clarified that “the United States has no intention of using chemical weapons, period, under any circumstances.”

No chemical weapons have been used in Moscow or Washington, but as Democrat candidates campaign for November’s elections, a striking number in tight contests don’t trust the president with any public appearances.

The Washington Post recently reported that Biden “goes largely unnamed on Democratic campaign websites and Twitter accounts. And candidates in key races in battleground states are either not asking him to come — or actively avoiding him when he does. Few candidates said they wanted Biden to campaign for them in their state or district, with many not responding to the question at all.”

That’s a harsh reality, and the same piece shares some reactions to potential visits from the Delawarean and his hapless assistant:

“‘We have not asked President Biden or VP Harris to campaign in Ohio and have no plans to do so,’ said a spokeswoman for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is the Democratic nominee in a tight U.S. Senate race. Pointing to a range of surrogates for Republican nominee J.D. Vance, the spokeswoman, Izzi Levy, added, ‘Tim has been very clear that he wants to be the face of this campaign, and that’s not changing anytime soon.'”

While some purple state incumbent Democrats are not wholly opposed to Biden appearing with them, they aren’t exactly thrilled by the idea:

“‘Well, I mean, I welcome anybody to come to Arizona and let me, you know, show them around the state and, you know, the issues that we’re facing,’ Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly replied when asked if he hoped Biden would campaign with him.”

In layman’s terms, Kelly extends the same privilege to the president as he’s willing to extend to you, me, and anyone else visiting the Grand Canyon State.

Other Democrats in tight races, like Maine U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, openly reject the embattled president. The 40-year-old congressman is no stranger to maverick maneuvers and bucking his party’s trends.

Hoping to win a third term in a rural district that Donald Trump carried twice, Golden’s recent ad explains, “I was the only Democrat to vote against trillions of dollars of President Biden’s agenda because I knew it would make inflation worse.”

Reuters discovered the same phenomenon last month.

When Biden finally returned from his August vacation to rant and peddle new schemes, the outlet interviewed senior party apparatchiks and campaign officials in battleground states, deducing that “some of those candidates may be nowhere in sight, fearing Biden is too much of a liability.”

Golden, Ryan and other Democrats on the fall ballot also criticized Biden’s recent student loan executive coup.

Midterm elections are usually brutal for the party in power and a referendum on the president’s first two years. Given Biden’s low approval ratings, it’s not surprising that vulnerable Democrats believe they are better off if Biden sits on the sidelines.


A.J. Kaufman

A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.