The flurry of activity is likely to calm the nerves of at least some Democrats as Biden begins to show the urgency they felt was missing when he first announced he would run for re-election in April. But it almost certainly won’t appease fellow party members who are concerned that Biden is still not moving at the clip needed to face former President Donald Trump or, perhaps, a younger and more formidable Republican opponent.
“We see the cadence of the activity increase significantly. There are two big things that I think make it important. One is that it takes the president out there even more actively making a political case as well as a political one on a day-to-day basis,” said Robert Gibbs, who served as former President Barack Obama’s press secretary. ‘ time to build a campaign. It takes a while to raise the money they’re going to need, to get everyone in a fighting position and to get into the rhythm of it all. »
With 17 months to go before the election and no serious primary contenders challenging Biden, the biggest priority for the re-election campaign is fundraising. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden will fan out across the country over the next couple of weeks for major fundraisers.
The president will travel to Atherton and Kentfield, Calif.; Chevy Chase, Maryland; and Chicago for high-value events, according to invitations obtained by POLITICO. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) and JB Pritzker (D-Ill.) are among the names in bold who will be attending those receptions.
The first lady will travel to Minneapolis and Nashville, Tennessee, to cash checks, while Harris will be in New York City, Dallas and Potomac, Md., for fundraisers. The most expensive tickets to the events cost $100,000, with perks including platinum tables, photo lines, and a VIP pre-reception.
Events in the last few weeks of June are all timed around the end of the fundraising quarter, when Biden and other presidential candidates will have to reveal how much money they’ve raised. It’s especially important that Biden releases a high number to allay concerns within the party that there is a lack of enthusiasm for him among voters and donors. 70% of Americans – and 51% of Democrats – said Biden should not run for re-election in the days leading up to his announcement, according to a NBC’s April Poll.
A faster campaign pace could also help quell some questions about Biden’s age. The president, who is now 80, would be 86 at the end of his second term if re-elected. He tried to deflect the persistent comment about being too old through a touch of humour.
But a full Biden campaign likely won’t kick off for months yet, people close to the effort have said. Biden himself had at times signaled a desire to wait until the fall to launch the re-election effort, but relented when aides stressed the need to begin fundraising. Additional major campaign rallies may not begin until later this year or early next, following suit in other presidents’ Rose Garden re-election strategies.
While fundraising is the most pressing task at hand, the Biden campaign has also begun forming its communications team. Biden tapped Michael Tyler, a National Committee Democrat and Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) alum, to be its director of communications. TJ Ducklo, who previously served as Biden’s White House aide before departing under a cloud of controversy, will be the campaign’s senior communications adviser. Rob Flaherty, Biden’s director of digital strategy, will also leave the White House and is expected to join the re-election effort.
Biden’s allies have also unveiled the endorsement in recent days, with the AFL-CIO officially backing Biden this week, before it has ever voted to endorse a candidate in a presidential election, the group said. At the same time, four of the country’s largest environmental groups backed Biden on Wednesday.
“They are showing momentum behind the president and his campaign. I think they’re showing that she’s going to come out and make a powerful case for his candidacy. And that he has a lot of support from major constituencies,” said Ron Klain, former Biden chief of staff. “They are all signs of strength.”
Ray Zaccaro, AFL-CIO public affairs director, said the group’s endorsement unlocks « a mobilizing force unlike any other, » noting that union members will now be able to start knocking on doors and advertising to promote Biden. He disputed the notion that there is an enthusiasm gap among voters for Biden.
« I’ll tell you that’s just not true when it comes to work, » Zaccaro said. « Labour is incredibly enthusiastic about what this president has done. »
Biden will close out the week with a rally with union members on the president’s familiar playground in Philadelphia. The president will deliver a speech focused on his economic achievements, highlighting the jobs created during his term, the country’s low unemployment rate and a manufacturing « boom, » according to a Biden aide.
« The values of the labor movement – our values - are written in its heart, » said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and City Employees.
Along with the political events, Biden has spent the past week conducting something of a shadow campaign from the White House, according to four people familiar with the strategy but not authorized to discuss internal deliberations. Biden highlighted longstanding Democratic priorities like tougher gun laws, while also touting popular and easy-to-digest campaign starters as an effort to fight junk taxes.
His team believes those events showcased the kind of success formula Democrats can and will use in the future: a head-down approach that contrasts with a Republican Party filled with internal friction. Far-right Republicans battled their own party leadership in the House this week, and the top GOP candidate for 2024 was in federal court to be charged with alleged mishandling of some of the country’s most sensitive secrets. nation.
“They will have a carnival of chaos. We are going to have serious, thoughtful, grown-up, adult leadership that is touching the issues that people really care about,” said Pennsylvania Democratic State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, a member of Biden’s National Advisory Board.
Or, as one senior Democrat close to the White House put it: « The more people talk about Trump and the less about us, the better off we are. »