By P.J. Gladnick
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” -Barack Obama.
The former President now sounds like a prophet in regard to Joe Biden, especially in the matter of the New Hampshire primary.
For all of the modern political era, it was understood by both major political parties that New Hampshire would be the first state to hold a presidential primary election. Or at least that was the understanding until Biden for strictly personal political reasons decided to make South Carolina the first state to conduct a Democrat presidential primary in 2024. And the result has been utter, entirely avoidable, chaos that even the liberal Politico has branded as a “catastrophe.”
Politico‘s cataloging of poor Biden’s comedy of errors appeared on Thursday in “Democrats race to avoid a Biden embarrassment in New Hampshire.” And as you read their report, “comedy” is most definitely the operative word as you can almost hear the echo of Obama’s observation about Biden throughout the report: “Top Democrats are scrambling for ways to avoid a catastrophe in New Hampshire in which Joe Biden may not appear on the primary ballot, ceding the first unofficial contest of 2024 to a fringe candidate.”
Reporters Holly Otterman and Lisa Kashinsky placed the blame squarely on the President. “The bizarre predicament is one of the president’s own making, after he pushed for changes to the party’s presidential nominating calendar that stripped the Granite State of its first-in-the-nation primary. The move was designed to reward South Carolina, which catapulted Biden to the nomination in 2020,” they said.
Yup. This “catastrophe” was most definitely of Joe Biden’s own making.
And according to the report, Republicans in the state were Biden no favors in changing the law and it left Democrats scrambling for a solution:
But there’s a state law requiring New Hampshire’s contest be held a week before any others, and Republicans in charge of the governor’s office and state legislature are refusing to touch it. If they don’t, a primary may well be held without the sitting president putting his name on the ballot.
Now, national Democrats are searching for an off-ramp. With a June deadline looming for New Hampshire to make progress on changing its law or get kicked out of the official early voting lineup, Democratic National Committee members are privately considering giving the state more time.
On might call it: Biden’s self-own off-ramp to oblivion.
Oh, and Biden was getting no help from the New Hampshire Democrats that he angered.
New Hampshire Democrats, furious that national party leaders upended their prized primary, don’t seem to care what the DNC has to offer. They insist they’re going first — whether Biden’s on the ballot or not.
…The relationship between New Hampshire Democrats and national party officials began to deteriorate after Biden moved last year to slide South Carolina to the front of the line and bump New Hampshire back to second on a shared date with Nevada.
But it has hit rock bottom as the DNC’s June 3 deadline approaches and as Biden’s reelection launch renews questions about whether he’ll campaign in a rogue state or risk losing the first unofficial contest to the other declared Democratic candidates, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson. Neither pose an actual threat to Biden’s renomination, but they could present an embarrassing distraction at the start of the nominating process.
That intraparty iciness was on stark display at New Hampshire Democrats’ iconic McIntyre-Shaheen dinner this past Friday. In the past, the major fundraiser has drawn dignitaries including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. This year, state party officials pointedly picked Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), one of the only Democrats outside of New Hampshire who has staunchly defended the state’s primary, as the headliner.
…Meanwhile, Democrats in the state are shutting down the idea of a party-run primary before they’ve even formally been approached about it. Buckley said a party-run primary would be a logistical nightmare and extremely expensive, costing upwards of $7 million.
“Absolutely impossible,” he said. “Where would I rent 2,000 voting machines? Hire 1,500 people to run the polls? Rent 300 accessible voting locations? Hire security? Print 500,000 ballots. Process 30,000 absentee ballots.”
And yet more of the damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t predicament that Biden has put himself in:
New Hampshire Democrats also argue they’ve made a good-faith effort to meet the second part of the party’s requirements to stay in the official early-state window — expanding voting access by pushing Soucy’s legislation to create no-excuse absentee voting in the state, albeit to no avail.
But outside of New Hampshire, Democrats have literally laughed off the prospect of Biden flouting his own calendar and campaigning in a rogue state.
“That would be awfully weird,” rules committee member Elaine Kamarck said, chuckling. “While we followed Biden’s lead on this, the committee itself was torn about whether [we should let] New Hampshire go first. It was really his decision that tipped the hat on this.”
It looks as if nothing good will happen to Biden as a result of trying to defy years of political tradition by attempting to remove New Hampshire from the first in the nation presidential primary: Ignore New Hampshire, and he is sure to hand the primary victory in that state to Robert Kennedy Jr. or another Democrat. Place his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot and he will look weak. Cave in completely and officially return New Hampshire to the first primary state and he will not only look weak but also enrage the South Carolina Democrats.
Heads he loses; tails he also loses. All this could have been completely avoided with only the slightest bit of political wisdom. And if Biden loses the New Hampshire primary due to his own avoidable bungling, will Politico and the other liberal media outlets give that political “catastrophe” the proper coverage?
And what was that Obama said about Joe Biden again?
Editor’s note. This appeared in Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.