In the event of a serious failure by Joe Biden, his vice-president Kamala Harris should, logically, become the “natural” candidate of the Democrats. But things are not that simple. Because this former best female hope of the party has disappointed a lot. To the point of breaking records for unpopularity in his position today. It must be said that Joe Biden, contrary to his 2020 promises, never left him much political space. And that he entrusted him with the most difficult issues to resolve, such as that of migration control at the Mexican border. First woman vice-president, a mixed-race one at that, Kamala Harris has never managed to take the spotlight, with speeches considered unenthusiastic. And would be immediately contested if Joe Biden were to throw in the towel during the campaign.
In this strange campaign, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, would almost appear as a ghost candidate. Two events stood out in the fall: his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a televised debate with Ron DeSantis (who was then still in the race for the Republican nomination). “An unusual activity for someone who is not a declared candidate,” observes the American news agency Reuters. If he seems rather programmed for the 2028 presidential election, this ambitious fifty-year-old could quickly appear as the best Democratic asset in the event of Joe Biden’s failure. Progressive on social issues, but centrist on economic issues, Gavin Newsom has mastery of the issues. But a big handicap: the negative image of California in the rest of the country.
3 Gretchen Whitmer
Governor of Michigan, a key state in the presidential race, Gretchen Whitmer is the other rising star of the Democratic Party. Her national notoriety dates from the start of the covid crisis, when she decreed some of the most severe restrictive measures in the country. Drawing the wrath of Donald Trump, then president. Since then, she has had the aura of “an Iron Lady” of the American left. And will be, whatever happens, an important relay for Joe Biden’s campaign, with the particular mission of mobilizing the Democratic electorate in the defense of the right to abortion.
4 Michelle Obama
“There are three certain things in life: death, taxes and the fact that Michelle will not be a candidate for the White House,” assured Barack Obama in 2016. But the great popularity of the former first lady regularly revives speculations. Asked what keeps her up at night, Michelle Obama recently said she was “terrified by the potential results of the next US presidential election.” Without departing from his usual role: that of supporting Joe Biden.
5 Dean Phillips
He is the last nationally known Democratic candidate still running against Joe Biden. Dean Phillips, who serves in the US Congress as a representative from Minnesota, has no hope of dislodging the outgoing president. In the South Carolina primary, this heir to a rich ice cream company had to make do with crumbs (1.7% of the vote). But he continues to press where it hurts. Thursday, after the publication of special prosecutor Robert Hur’s report on Joe Biden’s management of classified files (and his memory problems), he invited Democrats “to face the truth.” According to him, “the report only affirms what most Americans already know, namely that the president cannot continue to be our commander in chief beyond his term which ends on January 20, 2025”. Not a plan B, but a hell of a stone in the shoe.