by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Just shy of one in seven House Democrats has elected to retire this year, a historic record. It’s almost as if they’re trying to get out of the way of a coming anti-Biden tsunami.
Representative Kathleen Rice, who represents a majority of Long Island’s Nassau County, announced her retirement suddenly on Tuesday. Her seat went for Joe Biden by twelve points in 2020, but last year, it voted to oust incumbent Democrats from the Nassau County executive and district attorney posts. The seat is viewed as highly competitive, and Rice’s current GOP challenger outraised her in the last fundraising cycle.
Rice is yet another beleaguered House moderate who has grown tired of the autocratic rule of Queen Nancy. She helped lead the band of moderates who tried to derail Pelosi’s speaker bid in 2019. She lost that battle, though she was able to defeat AOC in a key internal battle for a chair on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee — an early sign that even Democratic members don’t take AOC seriously.
No one should be especially surprised about the latest developments, given public attitudes about President Biden.
President Joe Biden’s sliding popularity has caused Democrats in competitive elections this November to distance themselves from their party’s standard-bearer.
But Biden’s approval problems could hamstring his own political aspirations, with polls indicating that Democrats would prefer another nominee on the ballot in 2024.
Two polls finding that Democrats support usurping Biden as their party’s leader reflect “unhappiness” with the president’s job so far, according to Democratic strategist Stefan Hankin.
Does it show that the Democratic Party is not 100% thrilled with everything that Biden has done? Sure, but we’re Democrats. This is what we do,” he told the Washington Examiner.