There have been presidents who have dropped their reelection bids when the writing was on the wall, such as Lyndon Johnson. And there have been vice presidents dropped from the ticket—Henry Wallace and Nelson Rockefeller, among others. But has there ever been an election in which a party alternated between publicly encouraging its president to drop out and telling its president to run again but drop his vice president?
The bizarre message from Democrats toward their 2024 ticket has been: Will one of you please leave?
The question came to mind today while reading a Washington Post story on President Biden making clear to his team that he doesn’t like being unpopular and would in fact prefer to be popular. The thesis felt a bit obvious.
But then I got to the part of the story that said “Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who is running for the state’s open Senate seat, has expressed concern to allies that she may not be able to win her race if Biden is at the top of the ticket, according to people familiar with the conversations.”
Curious wording, that. If Biden were at the “top of the ticket.” Now, of course it’s possible that Slotkin meant “top of the ballot” and just misspoke. (It’s also possible the phrasing was the reporter’s.) But the fact remains that if Biden were to drop out of the…