Biden’s Democratic Challengers Complain About Lack of Planned Debates, ‘Rigged’ Primary

Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are griping that they won’t get the chance to debate the president before the primaries.

The New York Sun/Caroline McCaughey
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. The New York Sun/Caroline McCaughey

As President Biden officially launches his 2024 re-election bid, Democratic challengers are complaining that they will not get the chance to debate the president ahead of the primaries — even though incumbents normally don’t face primary debates.

Activist Marianne Williamson and Kennedy family scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mr. Biden’s two official primary challengers at the moment, are griping that they won’t get the chance to debate the president before the primaries.

Ms. Williamson voiced her grievance via a tweet Monday, saying, “The DNC ‘plans no primary debates,’” and, “Too many people are too smart to accept this.”

“As though there simply ARE no other candidates,” Ms. Williamson said. “No other ideas we should discuss about ways to win in 2024, or other ideas we should discuss about ways to repair the country.”

Most Democratic primary polls show that Mr. Biden is far and away the leading candidate, with the most recent poll from Harvard Harris giving him a 27-point lead.

For the purposes of the survey, the hypothetical primary included Vice President Harris at 10 percent, Senator Sanders at 8 percent, Secretary Clinton at 7 percent and Ms. Williamson, behind five other candidates, at 1 percent.

Mr. Kennedy has also expressed discontent with the lack of debates, telling Breitbart News, “The DNC, at this point, has taken the official position that there will be no debate, and I think that’s unfortunate.”

“There’s too many Americans who already think that the whole system is rigged against them,” Mr. Kennedy said. “And this is confirmation of that. And I think that’s troubling.”

Mr. Kennedy is also trailing in the polls, with the latest to include him, from the University of New Hampshire, finding that he had around 2 percent support.

President Trump also has voiced some complaints concerning primary debates.

“I see everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them,” Mr. Trump said on Truth Social.

He added, “When you’re leading by seemingly insurmountable numbers … why subject yourself to being libeled and abused?”

In recent history, no incumbent president running for re-election has faced a primary debate, though there have been some smaller debates not sponsored by a political party.

In 2020, the Republican Party refused to sponsor debates after eliminating its debate committee in 2018, saying it would “continue to support the President and vice president and the current administration.”

In the 2012 presidential primary, there was an unofficial Democratic primary debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Although President Obama did not attend, it was attended by the likes of a Libertarian performance artist, Vermin Supreme.

In 2004, President Bush did not face any debate or even a serious challenger, with at least a dozen states canceling their Republican primary elections. President Clinton also did not face any debates in his 1996 re-election campaign.

The New York Sun

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