Team of Rivals in 2024.

            In the likelihood that Joe Biden will not run for a second term, he has stocked his Cabinet and White House with his view of what would be desirable contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024. 

            Susan Rice briefly entered the Democratic primaries in 2020.  She went nowhere, so she angled for the Secretary of State.  Biden never seriously considered her, but he didn’t just toss her aside either.  Rice is a foreign policy expert without domestic policy credentials or much political sense.[1]  Biden appointed her head of his domestic policy council.  This will broaden her area of expertise and bring her into contact with many political figures.  If she’s a quick learner, she could make a stronger candidate in 2024. 

            Gina Raimondo is Secretary of Commerce.  BA, Harvard; Rhodes Scholar, Oxford; JD, Yale: she’s smarter than the average bear.  Venture capitalist, then Rhode Island State Treasurer, where she had the audacity to reform the near-bankrupt state employee pension system.  So, smart, but also a tough little cookie.  First female Governor of Rhode Island from 2015 to 2021.  Also, she seems to be on bad terms with Governor Michael Cuomo of New York. 

            Pete Buttigieg[2] is Secretary of Transportation.  BA, Harvard; Rhodes Scholar, Oxford: so he, too, is smarter than the average bear.  Consultant at McKinsey for a few years; mayor of South Bend, Indiana.  Service in Afghanistan with the Naval Reserve.  Openly gay, but the military service in a combat zone inoculates him against blowhards in recliners.[3]

            Most attention has focused on Vice President Kamala Harris.  However, Biden still doesn’t seem to have hived-off some large area of responsibility for her.  Unless he does, she may spend the next four years representing the United States at the funerals of foreign leaders.  That isn’t great preparation to run for president.  Why take her on as Vice President, then basically short-circuit her presidential ambitions?  Perhaps he can’t help holding a grudge about being blindsided by the question on bussing?  Perhaps he is a little concerned about her questioning of Brett Kavanagh?  Perhaps he’s alert to the reality that she flamed-out as a primary candidate, particularly among Black voters. 

            Equally interesting is who is not in the cabinet.  Elizabeth Warren probably wanted to be Secretary of the Treasury,[4] but would have settled for Attorney General.[5]  Bernie Sanders probably wanted to be Secretary of Labor.  Both got skint.  So did the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party.  Biden may believe that linking too closely to the left wing of the party spells disaster in future elections. 

            Thus, one could read the tea leaves to say that Biden is using second-tier positions as a school for the development of the next generation of Democratic party leaders. 

            Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer are not doing the same with the next generation of House and Senate leaders.  There gerontocracy has dug in. 


[1] Otherwise Hillary Clinton could not have run a pick off her on the Benghazi television interview. 

[2] What were the clerks at Ellis Island thinking? 

[3] See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUyjT8VpwMI 

[4] Neither Wall Street nor the AARP would have sat still for that. 

[5] Anti-trust suits galore; claw-backs of “illegitimate” profits earned during the Trump presidency; and endless investigations (backed with pre-dawn serving of search warrants) of everyone who ever held a federal government position under Trump.