Dick Morris: If Michelle Obama Runs, Biden Is Toast


Democratic pundits have been asking the wrong question when they wonder if President Joe Biden will run for a second term. The correct question is: Will Michelle Obama run?

If she does run, Biden likely couldn’t beat her and would be forced out of the race.

With barely a mention of a Michelle candidacy, she runs a strong second to Biden in John McLaughlin’s poll of likely Democratic primary voters nationwide. That survey has Michelle nipping at Biden’s heels with 14 percent of the vote, while the president draws only 25 percent in his own party primary. Twenty other Democrats split the remaining 61 percent of the vote. Never has a president been so weak in his own party’s primaries.

Former President Barack Obama has been something between the architect of Biden’s presidency and its puppeteer. He has designed Biden’s programs and political decisions and has put his people in all key administration jobs. Former chief of staff Ron Klain’s departure eliminates the main non-Obama force in the Biden White House.

Biden well realizes that he was consigned to the scrap heap of the Democratic Party in 2020, on his way to losing for the third time, when Obama swooped in to rescue him by arranging for Rep. James Clyburn to back Biden after he lost the first three primaries decisively. With Super Tuesday only three days later, Obama’s support for Biden got him nominated.

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As if to emphasize his ongoing domination of Biden, Obama has jiggered the Democratic primary schedule to assure that reliable South Carolina (27 percent black — and even higher in a Democratic primary) leads the 2024 nominating process. And to drive home the point, he has Georgia with its 32 percent black voters and Michigan with 15 percent coming next.

And forget about Kackala Harris. McLaughlin’s poll found her with only 16 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary without Biden in the race. Michelle was right behind her with 15 percent.

Were Michelle to run, there is only one potential Democratic candidate with sufficient star power to face her: Hillary Clinton. Only she could match Michelle’s profile and hope to stop her bandwagon.

Will Michelle Obama run for president in 2024?

While Clinton would have a good shot at beating Michelle, Biden would have none. His own record of race-based preferences for blacks would make it almost impossible to find running room in a contest.

But Clinton could find plenty. While the Democratic Party has become the black party, its white, Asian and Latino voters have not lost their minds or their power. Clinton would be able to trip Michelle up by posing the right issues.

  • Even Democrats do not want to see California’s reparations plan awarding millions in cash, housing credits, scholarships and job preferences that would not be available to white, Asian or Latino voters.
  • While blacks generally support racial preferences in the distribution of federal grant money, it is far from clear that the white majority in the Democratic Party would follow suit or that Latino and Asian voters would find a place for them.
  • With white Democrats hesitant to embrace critical race theory, which teaches universal white racism, Clinton can appropriate to herself the colorblind policies of Martin Luther King Jr. and pose a choice between MLK and CRT.
  • Michelle still wears an albatross around her neck from her famous reaction to her husband’s election: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”

So Biden’s fate is entirely in Michelle Obama’s hands. If she decides to run, Biden is out.

And then the likely course of the Democratic Party will be an epic battle of Obama v. Clinton 2.0, with Donald Trump waiting in the wings.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.