"If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party," David Axelrod said. "What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it's in HIS best interest or the country's?"
After a poll released Sunday from The New York Times and Siena College showed former President Donald Trump beating current President Joe Biden in five of six important battleground states, Democratic strategist David Axelrod suggested that Biden should consider dropping out of the 2024 election.
Axelrod, who was a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama and helped with his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, shared his thoughts on social media Sunday, retweeting the poll that showed Trump overtaking Biden in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, with Biden maintaining a two-point lead in Wisconsin.
"Only Joe Biden can make this decision," Axelrod wrote. "If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it's in HIS best interest or the country's?"
The polling shows Trump leading by 4 to 10 points in states that Biden won in 2020. Axelrod said that while the numbers were not "'bed-wetting,'" they would "send tremors of doubt through the party" and were a source of "legitimate concern."
"The president is justly proud of his accomplishments," Axelrod continued. "Trump is a dangerous, unhinged demagogue whose brazen disdain for the rules, norms, laws, and institutions or democracy should be disqualifying. But the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore."
For Axelrod, Biden's "biggest liability" was his age—he will be 86 at the end of a theoretical second term—which is "the one thing he can't change."
"Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: The age arrow only points in one direction," Axelrod said.
"Biden is risking handing the future of American democracy to Trump by providing [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's far-right government an unpopular blank check to wage a reckless war."
Seventy-one percent of respondents said that Biden was "just too old to be an effective president" to some degree, yet only 39% felt the same way about Trump. Further, 62% disagreed that Biden has the "mental sharpness to be an effective president."
While Axelrod acknowledged there was also a risk with changing course and running a shortened Democratic primary, "there is a lot of leadership talent in the Democratic Party, poised to emerge."
The poll showed that 57% of respondents said they were more likely to vote on economic issues like jobs, taxes, and cost-of-living than social issues like abortion, gun control, and democracy, and 81% of respondents said that the economy was only fair to poor. What's more, while 51% of respondents felt that Trump's policies had personally helped them, 53% said that Biden's policies had personally hurt them. While the poll did not ask respondents to specify what those policies might be, it's notable that significant portions of the Covid-19 social safety net—such as a pause in student loan repayments and enhanced unemployment benefits—were rolled out under Trump and retracted under Biden.
In response to the numbers, Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz toldThe New York Times that the election was still a year away.
"Gallup predicted an eight-point loss for President Obama only for him to win handily a year later," Munoz said. "We'll win in 2024 by putting our heads down and doing the work, not by fretting about a poll."
Former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile told ABC’s "This Week" that the poll was a "wake-up call once again for Democrats to be reminded that they have to go back out there, pull the coalition that allowed Joe Biden to break new ground in 2020, especially in Arizona and Georgia, but more importantly to bring back that coalition."
Yet there are signs that coalition may be fraying. A Gallup poll released October 26 found that Biden's approval ratings had dropped 11% among Democrats following his support for Israel as it carries out a bombardment of Gaza that United Nations' experts warn risks turning into genocide.
Another survey compiled by Lake Research Partners and shared with NBC News on Monday found that only 16% of Arab and Muslim Democrats in Michigan—where they make up a key voting block—said they would vote for Biden if the election were held today. In 2020, Biden carried 83% of Michigan precincts with the highest numbers of Arab and Muslim voters. The poll also saw Biden lagging with voters under 30, with only 61% saying they would vote for him today and 56% calling his handling of the Israel/Palestine conflict "poor."
"Biden's extremely poor performance among Arab, Muslim, and young voters of his own party is historic and frightening," progressive strategist Waleed Shahid told NBC News. "Biden is risking handing the future of American democracy to Trump by providing [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's far-right government an unpopular blank check to wage a reckless war."
In the Times/ Siena poll, only 39% of voters said they trusted Biden to do a better job than Trump on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
"If Biden lacks the humanity to call for a cease-fire, or the strategic sensibility to keep the U.S. out of an escalation, then perhaps at least he'll care enough about his own reelection??" Quincy Institute executive vice president Trita Parsi wrote on social media.