Democrats Grapple With ‘Existential Dread’ Ahead Of Biden-Trump Showdown

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, a sense of “existential dread” is permeating through the Democratic Party, fueled by the prospect of former President Donald Trump regaining the White House. While publicly rallying around President Joe Biden, some Democrats are privately expressing concerns about his reelection prospects against his Republican predecessor.

“I’m expecting mostly panic from now until the election again,” said Stefan Hankin, a Democratic strategist and president of Lincoln Park Strategies. “If Biden was up by a couple points in every single state, maybe there would be slightly less existential dread, but 2016 is not that long ago, and the memory of it all.”

The “existential dread” stems from the lingering memories of Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, which sent shockwaves through the party. With Trump once again securing the Republican nomination, many Democrats fear a repeat of that stunning upset, underscoring the high stakes of the upcoming election.

While national party leaders downplay concerns, voices on the ground in key battleground states are offering suggestions to bolster Biden’s campaign. In Nevada, a state narrowly won by Biden in 2020, former county Democratic chair Chris Wicker acknowledged concerns about the president’s chances, exacerbated by lingering economic issues like inflation.

“People in general don’t care about the causes and don’t know presidents have relatively little impact one way or the other,” Wicker said. “Nevertheless, it is a problem.”

In Wisconsin, another critical battleground, Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, described a sense of “frustration” among organizers, who are urging the campaign to shift its messaging and strategies based on feedback from the ground.

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