According to a recent CNN survey, approximately two-thirds of Democrats feel their party should consider nominating an alternative candidate to President Joe Biden. Similarly, a Wall Street Journal poll highlights concerns among 73% of voters that Biden’s age and declining mental acuity are negative factors for his reelection campaign in 2024.
Florida Democrats, not to be swayed by pesky voter concerns, have found a way to ensure that Biden wins the primary. Florida voters were informed that there would be no Democrat primary vote in the state. Biden was elected as the winner of Florida’s Democrat primary before even one vote was cast. He now carries all of Florida’s delegates, effectively eliminating any challenges to his nomination.
Under Florida election law, voters cannot express opinions by writing in an alternative because only Biden’s name was approved. In fact, there will be no Democrat primary ballot or vote in Florida at all. George W. Bush secured Florida’s nomination this way in 2004, as did Obama in 2012. But backing a widely supported incumbent differs significantly from actively excluding challenges to a candidate who has garnered overwhelming voter disapproval.
This “no one but Biden” strategy is a different approach for Democrats, who have been frantically attempting to remove GOP frontrunner Donald Trump from ballots nationwide in an “anyone but Trump” movement.
Support for removing Trump from ballots comes from predictable sources like Laurence Tribe, who called for Trump to face charges related to the “attempted murder” of former Vice President Mike Pence. Prominent legal figures such as Floyd Abrams and Berkeley’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky argue that preventing voters from voting for Trump is necessary for “fostering democracy.”
It’s a strategy employed by dictatorships across the globe. In Tehran, the “Guardian Council” approved Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi as the only candidate on the ballot. A running joke emerged that democracy was protected because the “Guardian Council” would allow voters to choose among different spellings of Raisi’s last name.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin is expected to sail to another victory by aggressively removing any challengers to the presidency. Votes in Russia are cast to support Putin, not to give any alternative candidate a viable shot at winning. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, acknowledged that the upcoming presidential election is an “expensive bureaucratic process” rather than an exercise in democracy. Peskov predicted that Putin would secure next year’s reelection with more than 90 percent of the vote.
George W. Bush secured Florida’s nomination this way in 2004, as did Obama in 2012. But a popular incumbent is a far different story than deliberately removing challengers to a candidate of which voters overwhelmingly disapprove.
Biden’s challengers include Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-D) and Marianne Williamson, both of whom took aim at the Florida Democratic Party. Williamson called the move authoritarian, noting, “What an irony that the party called the Democratic Party, the party that claims to be the champion of democracy, has basically decided that Joe Biden will be the candidate.”
A spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party claims that the process for inclusion on the Florida ballot is transparent and on their website. While they pointed out that the party’s primary ballot submission deadline is November 30, 2023, the DNC had already locked their choice in place an entire month prior.
Additionally, the spokesperson mentioned that the State Executive Committee convenes every four years during the Florida Democratic Party’s State Convention to conduct a vote and determine the candidates to be placed on the presidential primary ballot.
Williamson appeared on Florida’s 2020 ballot because she had appeared in the Democrat debates. She is out of luck this election cycle because the Democratic Party does not plan to hold primary debates. She and Democrat rival Cenk Uygur are expected to file an “implementation challenge” to the DNC, although it’s unlikely to be successful.
As usual, the Democrat strategy will backfire. Removing any Florida Democrat challenger to Biden has raised the ire of No Labels, the organization debating launching a third-party candidate. If established, this “uni-party” ticket is expected to siphon more votes from Biden’s campaign than Trump’s.
No Labels fired back at the DNC party on X (formerly known as Twitter), calling Florida’s decision un-American and at odds with democracy. The organization asserted that the DNC is “rigging the primary” so that Biden will win and pointed out that a No Labels ticket is the only way to ensure voters have a choice.
The Democrats have been consistently, baselessly warning that a Trump second term will “destroy” democracy. But that’s only if there is any democracy left to destroy after they are finished stacking the deck in the 2024 election.