Who Is Leading the Democratic Party?

Who Is Leading the Democratic Party?
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

If I were to ask you who the leaders are in the Republican Party, who would you name? If you’re like most who pay attention to conservative politics, you likely thought of former President Donald Trump, perhaps Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and maybe some others like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Note, I didn’t say you liked all of these folks, but some might see them as prominent figures on the right.

But if I were to ask you the same of Democrats, what would you say? Better yet, how do you think a Democratic voter would answer if I asked them?

It’s hard to say, isn’t it?

President Joe Biden, as the current occupant of the White House, should be the leader of the Democratic Party by default. It is customary for people to view the president as the leader of their party. But Biden isn’t exactly one who inspires people to follow him. He does not have nearly the level of influence among Democrats as Trump has among conservatives and Republicans. Indeed, Democratic candidates seeking re-election or to be newly-elected are not exactly clamoring to get his endorsement like GOP candidates are with the former president.

In fact, Biden has become toxic for Democrats – especially those hoping to hold on to their seats. During his tenure in office, he has shown a remarkable level of incompetence. He has fouled up nearly every single problem the country has faced. He has failed to develop an adequate solution to the migrant crisis he caused. He botched the military withdrawal from Afghanistan and empowered the Taliban. Economic problems continue to stack up as Americans are dealing with sky-high prices at the gas pump and grocery stores.

To make matters worse for the embattled president, even some Democrats are starting to criticize him, specifically over his attempt to lift Title 42, a measure that allows authorities at the border to turn away or deport migrants from areas that have had difficulties with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Democrats seeking office have tried to distance themselves from Biden. In February, Robert Francis O’Rourke, an Irishman who pretends to be Latino, wasn’t so keen on having the president come to Texas to help him in his gubernatorial campaign. He emphasized that his campaign “is not going to be about Joe Biden.” Georgia’s Democratic wunderkind Stacey Abrams said she had a “scheduling conflict” when Biden came to the Peach State to give a speech about voting rights – her pet issue. Of course, to the discerning eye, it was a blatant dodge.

Even in January 2022, Democrats were avoiding Biden like the coronavirus. Axios reported:

Swing-state Senate candidates like Abby Finkenauer in Iowa, Val Demings in Florida and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, who might face tough general election races if they win their primaries, have avoided tweeting about Biden.

These people wanted to “develop a brand distinct from Biden and the national Democratic Party” according to the news outlet.

With his approval ratings sinking to ever new depths, it is no wonder candidates are not eager to get the nod from Biden. But this begs an important question: If Biden isn’t truly the leader of the Democratic Party, then who is?

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

The civil war between the moderate and progressive factions of the party continues to rage. If the primaries for the upcoming congressional elections are any indication, the establishment still has the upper hand. But what is interesting is that there are no Democratic senators, representatives, governors, or anyone on the national level who has amassed enough influence on the left to be considered a leader of the party. Folks like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have gotten a lot of press, but not to the extent that would matter.

Perhaps the reality is that at the moment, the Democratic Party is leaderless. There is nobody casting a vision for the party and motivating its members to move forward. The party appears to be in utter disarray with nobody to serve as a rudder.

What is even more noteworthy is the fact that the party does not even seem to have any viable prospects for leadership. Who will they run in 2024? Nobody believes for a second that Biden is going to seek a second term and Black Hillary, whose approval ratings are even lower than that of her boss, has no chance of winning even if the GOP decided to nominate a bowl of Texas chili as its presidential nominee.

Perhaps there is a charismatic leader waiting in the wings, flying under the radar. Maybe there is someone who will take the party – and country – by storm. Stranger things have happened. You remember that Barack Obama guy, right? At this point, this scenario is likely the best chance Democrats can hope for. Otherwise, they are screwed.

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