With four months until election day, President Biden has endorsed just three Democrats running for House seats across the country, well behind former President Donald Trump’s support for dozens of Republicans in 2018.
Biden’s low number of endorsements is in line with previous presidents who avoided stepping into interparty primary politics, according to Kevin Walling, a Democratic strategist and surrogate for Biden’s 2020 presidential run.
While Trump has been focused on endorsements and “putting his image in the Republican Party,” Biden “is more similar to past presidents in that he has not engaged in primary elections,” Walling told Fox News Digital.
Though Trump as president was far more active politically in handing out endorsements, even in primary contests in 2018, as well as 2020 and the current midterm cycle, Biden has dipped his toe in early endorsements as president. By early July, Biden had endorsed three Democrats in congressional primaries, two of which won.
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In comparison, by early July in 2018, Trump’s only midterm cycle as president, he had endorsed eight Republican House candidates and would go on to endorse a total of 49 by the general election. He also had endorsed 11 Senate contenders and 19 candidates for governor across the nation by that date.
The White House has promised that Biden would be far more active in campaigning across the country to help Democrats this fall, and Walling predicts that Democrats down ballot will welcome his support.
“You’ll see him very much engaged on the ground once we have Democratic nominees,” Walling predicted.
And despite the president’s sinking approval ratings, Democratic politicians will certainly welcome his campaign support, Walling said.
“It’s a very powerful image when Air Force One comes to your town, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, and the power and prestige of the presidency is going to be a big boon to a lot of our down-ballot candidates across the country,” Walling predicted.
One of the Democrats Biden endorsed in the primary season — Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio — did welcome the president during his visit to Cleveland earlier this week. Biden complimented Brown, asking her to “remember me when you’re president.”
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One Democratic office seeker was noticeably absent from Biden’s Ohio visit. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Ohio, told Fox News Digital he had a scheduling conflict, but that didn’t stop speculation that Democrats want to avoid being seen with Biden.
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“Him endorsing a Democrat is like throwing them a concrete life preserver,” Mark Shields, a Republican strategist and former chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, told Fox. “It’s just not going to help them. It’s actually going to harm them. I think most Democrats in competitive races are going to say, ‘I would rather not have a president whose approval rating is in the 30s anywhere near my campaign.’”
Biden’s low approval ratings and low popularity even among Democrats is another reason for the lack of endorsements, Shields said.
“Even Democrats are upset with Joe Biden. Some of it is that his progressive left are angry with him for not delivering on the left-wing promises that he gave him. Some of the more moderate democrats are upset with the overall performance and lack of ability to communicate and lead the country.” Shields said.
The issue goes deeper than low popularity and inflation. While Trump has a distinct political brand of “America First” policies, Biden lacks a committed base.
“One of the problems that Joe Biden has always had, in all of the years that he has run for president going back 40 years, is that it’s very hard to describe what a Joe Biden Democrat is,” Shields said.
“Who in the Democratic Party is pining for Joe Biden and has been wearing a Joe Biden sticker? Who would describe themselves at a Democratic Party meeting as ‘Yes, the brand that I have inside our party is that I’m a Joe Biden Democrat?'”