Biden May Have a Primary Challenger

One of his 2020 primary opponents is tanned, rested, and ready.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering healthcare costs, Tuesday, September 27, 2022, in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

POLITICO’s West Wing Playbook observes,

It’s not unheard of in modern American politics for an incumbent president to face a primary challenger. RONALD REAGAN ran against President GERALD FORD in 1976, TED KENNEDY took on President JIMMY CARTER in 1980 and PAT BUCHANAN ran against President GEORGE H.W. BUSH in the 1992 primary.

As President JOE BIDEN gets ready for an expected reelection campaign, no competitive Democrat seems likely to challenge him. But that doesn’t mean that a longshot candidate won’t jump into the race. In fact, we may get one soon.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, the self-help author who went viral during the 2020 Democratic primary for her debate moments before dropping out ahead of the Iowa caucuses, appears on the verge of announcing she’s running again. Williamson spoke with West Wing Playbook this week about her decision and why she doesn’t think that Biden is the right person to lead the party.

Follow the link to read the interview if you’re so inclined; I wasn’t.

Rather obviously, Williamson will not be the 2024 Democratic nominee, much less the next President. There is simply no conceivable scenario not involving interstellar pod people in which either of those happen.

It is in fact true that Ford, Carter, and Bush 41 had primary challengers. And there are definitions of “modern” that apply to 1976, 1980, and 1992. It’s noteworthy that all three won re-nomination but lost their re-election bids. One suspects that has factored into the lack of meaningful primary challenges in the last three decades.

Indeed, I suspect that any future challenges will be of the type being contemplated here: fringe candidates with no real standing in the party who have nothing to lose by mounting a challenge.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    Describing Williamson as a “challenger” just highlights the gossip factor of the Playbook

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    And John Wolfe Jr. challenged Obama in 2012. Williamson seems more of a Wolfe than a Ted Kennedy

  3. CSK says:

    All I can think of when someone mentions her is Marianne Williamson officiating at the marriage of Elizabeth Taylor to Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

  4. I guess Lyndon Larocuhe’s ghost is otherwise occupied.

  5. wr says:

    Thank God we’re not looking at a real potential threat like Tulsi…

  6. Crusty Dem says:


    I lol’d

  7. The Q says:

    I thought JFK Jr was planning to run?

  8. CSK says:

    @The Q:
    Nah. JFK Jr. is too busy helping Trump catch pedophiles.

  9. Moosebreath says:


    “JFK Jr. is too busy helping Trump catch pedophiles.”

    True. Trump wants to be able to announce that he has the biggest collection of them.

  10. JohnSF says:

    Can someone enlighten your friendly neighborhood ignorant Brit.
    Who t.f. is Marianne Williamson?

  11. CSK says:


    If you can stand it, look here:

  12. JohnSF says:

    “A Politics of Love”
    She really should try to extend her political movement into the UK.
    Piss would be taken on a scale sufficient to cause a global glut of ammonia.

  13. Franklin says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I … actually don’t even remember that. And only vaguely remember Larouche, but then again he was apparently in prison by the time I graduated high school.