Democratic prayers are with the highly improbable candidacy of Michelle Obama. She is very popular and would be a major force, but she doesn’t like politics.
In a way, Labor Day in the U.S. on the first Monday in September in the year leading up to the election marks an important political moment: when potential voters start to take a real look at the White House hopefuls. It’s the informal start of the presidential campaign.
And this year marks an election season in which many in both parties wish their most likely contenders — former President Donald Trump for the Republicans and incumbent Joe Biden for the Democrats — were other people.
Trump faces a series of scandalous legal problems that may well complicate his chances of returning to the White House.
The former president has a 50-55% favorable rating among Republican voters, the strongest of his eight main contenders. Florida Gov. Ron de Santis has less than 20% and must overcome an increasing number of obstacles.
But many Republicans, at least in the traditional structure, believe that Trump’s dominance and his candidacy would be a serious problem for the party; his personal baggage and pompous rhetoric could discourage independent and center-right voters from participating in the general election, with negative repercussions for Republican challengers, from Congress on down.
One analyst compared Trump to Adlai Stevenson, a Democratic challenger who dominated the party in the 1950s but was defeated by Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.
For the Democrats, the situation is equally as complicated.
Biden is respected, but he turns 81 next November and is already the oldest president in U.S. history.
His age will play a huge role in the campaign, because of both his alleged tendency to doze off at public events and get confused during speeches, and his increasingly frequent stumbles. Of course, faced with the alternative …
But Biden has other problems: The Republican majority in the House is debating the possibility of a constitutional impeachment of the president for his alleged involvement in acts of corruption involving his son, Hunter. “Impeachment” would go nowhere, when faced with the Democratic majority in the Senate, but it would make noise in the election campaign.
There is open speculation as to who might be a replacement candidate, and the names of Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg are being thrown around. Two contenders already in the race, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and author Marianne Williamson, are both polling under 20%. In political terms, Democratic prayers are with the highly unlikely candidacy of Michelle Obama. The former first lady is very popular and would be a unifying force, but she doesn’t exactly like politics.
It looks like Democrats and Republicans will have to make do with what they’ve got.