MANCHESTER, NH — Tuesday’s vote in New Hampshire’s unauthorized Democratic primary could count as a good result for President Joe Biden. name will not be on the ballot?
No one really knows, because the situation is unprecedented and technically it won’t count for a nomination in the first place. But Biden’s supporters and detractors are trying to build expectations both ways.
Biden’s primary challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., has little hope of winning Tuesday’s primary. And he knows it.
Phillips told NBC News: “If we were in the 20s, it would be extraordinary.”
But Phillips said Biden should be disappointed with anything less than the 81 percent or 84 percent that former Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton won when they ran for re-election in 2012 and 1996, respectively.
“If his numbers are lower than that,” Phillips told reporters Sunday, “I think that’s more evidence that the Democrats are deluded and we need real competition, not coronations.”
Biden supporters, who are running a write-in campaign on behalf of the president, are trying to lower the bar, saying they want Biden to get more votes than any other candidate, regardless of the margin.
“Writings are traditionally very difficult,” said Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., before pointing to the most popular candidate in recent history, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Murkowski In 2010, he won the elections again After losing to a Tea Party challenger in the GOP primary, he received just 39% of the vote, prompting him to campaign to get on the November general election ballot.
Neither are particularly relevant criteria. Obama and Clinton’s names were on the ballot, they could spend money, and they faced no credible challengers. Murkowski, on the other hand, was running in the general election, not the primary, and was facing a Democratic and a Republican candidate, so the vote share was split three ways.
There’s no real precedent for Tuesday’s unusual Democratic primary, so an adequate performance for Biden could be somewhere between Murkowski’s 39% and Obama’s 81% — and Democrats privately say they’d rather have Biden above 50% — but in the end, how can everything turn out, the result revolves.
Biden’s name was not on the ballot because of a dispute between the state and the Democratic National Committee, which wants to hold the first presidential election in South Carolina. New Hampshire officials set the primary anyway, prompting the DNC to declare the primary “pointless” and cancel its delegates’ status at the national convention.
Under party rules, candidates in non-DNC-compliant states are barred from campaigning, spending money or even putting their name on the ballot. So the president — officially, at least — isn’t running in the primary, which is essentially a beauty pageant.
Add to the complicated equation that independent voters in the state can choose which primary to run in — and while few have openly applied, there are signs that some are favoring the Republican party to boost former U.N. Nikki Haley. such as a protest vote against former President Donald Trump. It could also drive potential Biden voters away from the Democratic primary.
New Hampshire Democrats have mounted a campaign to encourage Democrats to write in Biden, worried about the perception of a challenger like Phillips winning the New Hampshire primary by a nominal margin.
Polls show Biden far and away A New Hampshire Democratic favorite, but how many people will actually turn out for the intangible primary and figure out how to write in his name?
The threat to Biden is an embarrassing display that ignited a new phase of Democratic anxiety about his political power against Republican nominee Donald Trump.
In 1968, anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy stunned the political world by winning 42% of the New Hampshire Democratic primary against then-President Lyndon Johnson’s 48%. Johnson did not campaign for the nomination, as was the convention at the time, and did not place his name on the ballot in New Hampshire, nor did he have a strong write-in operation to support him.
Strong support for McCarthy helped convince then-Sen. Robert F. Kennedy to enter the race and facing two strong challengers, Johnson decided to withdraw and not seek re-election.
Phillips is nowhere near as powerful as McCarthy, and there is no Kennedy-like figure waiting in the wings. Moreover, modern voting rules and the nomination process would make it virtually impossible for another candidate to enter the race at this point. Biden is on track for the nomination regardless of what happens in New Hampshire.
But he can probably stave off some Democratic handouts by winning big in New Hampshire — whatever that means.