As Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) battles to get his recently announced primary challenge against incumbent Joe Biden off the ground, he faces an intraparty fight for ballot access in several states. As a long-shot contender, Phillips has pledged action over his exclusion from ballots in Tennessee, Florida, and North Carolina.
In Florida, the clash between Phillips and the state’s Democratic Party symbolizes a broader dispute over democratic values within the party. Phillips alleges that the Florida Democratic Party’s decision to exclude him from the ballot and cancel the primary is a form of voter disenfranchisement. He stated, “Americans would expect the absence of democracy in Tehran, not Tallahassee.”
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried defended the party’s procedures, labeling Phillips’s comments “conspiratorial and inappropriate.”
🟡 SCOOP: Dean Phillips will file challenges with the DNC and several state parties next week after Democrats in Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee left him — and all other challengers to Joe Biden — off of their ballots, @daveweigel reports.https://t.co/plPAfi5qPm
— Semafor (@semafor) December 7, 2023
Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s approval rating among likely Democrat voters has recently hit new lows. A recent CNN poll found Biden’s job approval rating at just 37%, with a 63% disapproval rate. This downturn marks his worst numbers since taking office.
Additionally, a poll conducted by Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling group, revealed troubling figures for Biden. The survey, involving 2,500 respondents in battleground states, indicated that Biden’s approval ratings were lower than Trump’s across various demographic groups within the Democratic base, including Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, the LGBT community, Gen Z, millennials, and unmarried, college-educated women. The results were described as “grim” for Democrats, particularly noting that Biden’s poor performance seems centered on his age and the impact of inflation.
These low approval ratings and concerns about Biden’s age and re-election viability have sparked discussions within the party and among the electorate about whether Biden should run again next year. The announcement this week of a new federal tax evasion indictment in California against first son Hunter Biden is adding even more fuel to the fire of speculation that Democrats are facing a serious situation about having a viable candidate to go up against the presumptive GOP candidate next year, President Donald Trump.
Phillips’s struggle for ballot access is not just about his campaign but also raises questions about the inclusivity and democratic nature of the party’s nominating process. If he moves forward with formally challenging party officials to gain access to primary ballots, the fight will further point out the problems plaguing the Democratic Party’s internal dynamics and public perception.