Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared for the first time on a Washington Post ranking of potential Democratic presidential hopefuls — that also showed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pulling ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris in the No. 2 slot behind President Biden.
Progressive lightning rod Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez remained at No. 10 in the newspaper’s survey of possible contenders in the 2024 election, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom jumped two spots to No. 7 right behind Sanders, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer debuted on the list at No. 8.
Biden wasn’t included in the rankings compiled in December 2021 because of speculation at the time that he would be a one-term president and because polls showed that Democratic-leaning voters narrowly preferred “someone not named Biden on the ballot in 2024.”
But the Washington Post began including Biden’s name to the list in its April rankings and in the most recent survey.
“The reason: There might come a time when the incumbent president isn’t the most likely nominee the next time around, for whatever reason. And his own 2024 maneuverings were suddenly very much worth evaluating in real time,” the newspaper said.
The report pointed out that the only way Biden, 79, motivates Democrats is if Donald Trump or another Republican the base dislikes is the GOP’s nominee.
“Even then, it seems a pretty big gamble to put up someone Democratic voters are so lukewarm on,” it said, referring to Biden’s tanking job approval numbers, even among members of his own party.
On Harris, the newspaper said the vice president’s image has been linked to Biden’s, along with their plummeting poll numbers.
“But the way things are going right now, she would need to somehow differentiate herself. And that’s not an easy trick when you’ve still got your day job,” the report said.
Noting that Sanders, 80, landed at No. 6 after being absent from April’s list, the report said that shortly after that survey, his campaign put out a memo stating that the independent from Vermont might mount a bid if Biden doesn’t.
“Ocasio-Cortez, of course, is very young. And we shouldn’t necessarily take this is posturing for a run; she also has an interest in assuring Biden caters to her wing of the party, after all,” the newspaper said.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who also ran in 2020, placed at No. 5 and No. 4, respectively, trading places with each other from April’s rankings.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper fell in the recent list, going from No. 6 to No. 9 in the survey from three months ago, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown disappeared from the group.