Marcy Winograd
5 min readJan 25, 2023

Progressive Democrats Welcome a Primary Challenge to Biden in 2024

With President Biden’s approval ratings hovering at 40% and the US chasing endless war in Ukraine, Progressive Democrats of America’s foreign policy team, which I co-chair with Jim Carpenter of Milwaukee, welcomes a primary challenge from a peace candidate in the 2024 Presidential race. In fact, with Republicans hollering about Biden’s classified docs locked up in his Wilmington garage, it would hardly come as a surprise if primary challengers soon stepped into the spotlight.

California Governor Gavin Newsom made no secret of his presidential ambitions last year when he ran a television commercial in Florida blasting right-wing Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans, in general, for banning books, knee-capping voting rights and “criminalizing women and doctors.”

Rumors abound that policy wonk Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would love to run again in 2024, if only Joe, turning 81 next November, would hurry up to announce his retirement and take a celebratory spin in his Corvette.

Ever since spiritual leader Marianne Williamson became the most Googled candidate on the 2020 presidential stage, speculation has swirled around another run for the charismatic author of the book “Return to Love.” Will she return? My Ouija Board says, “It appears likely.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, already 81, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and never one to go hard against Joe, says he won’t run a third time as long as Biden runs for re-election.

Perhaps progressive Presidential hopefuls need more encouragement from the base.

Enter RootsAction, an on-line petition site which recently launched a “Don’t run, Joe!” campaign, saying, “The threat of a neo fascist GOP has become all too obvious. Bold and inspiring leadership from the Oval Office will be essential. Unfortunately, President Biden has been neither bold nor inspiring. And his prospects for winning re-election appear to be bleak.”

Following RootsAction’s lead, the End Wars and Occupations team of Progressive Democrats of America went on record encouraging a primary challenge to the sitting President. Our concerns? Let’s start with Ukraine, where a proxy war between the two most heavily armed nuclear nations threatens the end of the world as we know it.

“War is always human failure but you would never know that looking at Biden’s provocations in Ukraine and failure to promote a diplomatic settlement to end Russia’s brutal invasion.”

Hear, hear.

Anyone not previously glued to MSNBC and drunk on Russia Phobia, has to wonder why Biden has refused to vigorously pursue diplomacy with Putin. Isn’t there a phone in the Oval Office? Certainly, there’s precedent for compromise. Think President John F. Kennedy. He resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis by promising to remove Jupiter missiles from Turkey.

We need a truce and negotiations, not more weapons for a war in which the Biden administration played a provocative role. In Sept., 2021, a few months before Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine, Biden signed a Strategic Partnership with Ukraine to privatize state owned industries, as well as encourage Ukraine to join NATO and pursue a confrontation with Russia over Crimea, a strategic Black Sea naval portal Russia annexed following the 2014 US-backed coup in Ukraine.

Biden has also been hawkish on China and supportive of NATO expansion to the Pacific. He should have told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to go to Taiwan, a dangerously provocative move that disrupted US-China collaboration to thwart the climate crisis.

If only Biden had listened to the 550 DNC delegates who in 2020 signed a letter urging him to hire a new foreign policy team with a track record for diplomacy. Instead, Biden promoted Antony Blinken, of hawkish WestExec Advisors, to Secretary of State. Blinken was Biden’s Senate foreign policy advisor who crafted Biden’s support for the horrific US invasion of Iraq.

As President, Biden has refused to lift sanctions against Cuba and kept in place Trump’s policy of assigning Cuba to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list which has brought tremendous hardship to the Cuban people who’ve had trouble obtaining syringes to administer COVID vaccines.

Biden has not stopped arming the Saudis in their genocidal war on Yemen, insisting the US maintain the bombers for the Saudi Air Force. Biden even afforded MBS immunity from prosecution in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose body parts were packed into five suitcases after he was strangled during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve papers for a pending marriage.

Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review betrays his campaign promise to support a “no first strike” nuclear policy. Instead, he reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” He supports nuclear rearmament, estimated to cost well over a trillion dollars in the next few decades, and the production of new ICBMS that would again leave the midwest sitting ducks in the event of a nuclear attack.

Despite the new Israeli government’s agenda to annex the West Bank and further erode Palestinian rights, the Biden administration has pledged “ironclad” support for Israel. Previously, Biden elevated Israel to a full-fledged military partner in a NATO-like defense pact that could embroil the US in more wars in the Middle East.

The Biden administration continues to back the Trump-initiated extradition order and espionage charges against Julian Assange for publishing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq — this despite the fact that the New York Times also published documents Wikileaks released. This prosecution is a direct attack on freedom of the press, foundational to democracy and the prevention of war.

Finally, although the Biden administration ended the 20 year US occupation of Afghanistan, the White House then froze $7 billion of Afghan Central Bank reserves held in US banks, strangling the Afghan economy and contributing to mass unemployment and famine.

“We need a President who values diplomacy and supports a just foreign policy, not one that pushes us to the brink of World War III,” added Carpenter.

Our grassroots foreign policy team is one of several issue-oriented working groups in Progressive Democrats of America, which was founded in 2004 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, during the 2004 National Democratic Convention when activists from the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich met to swing the party left.

While the PDA foreign policy team has not endorsed a specific primary challenger to Biden, we hope that issuing a call for peace candidates to step forward will, at the very least, encourage vigorous debate about US foreign policy and the imperative to change course in an increasingly multipolar world.

Marcy Winograd

Co-Founder, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party; blogger at LA Progressive