Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips is a name you might not recognize yet, but he’s on a mission to change that. The 54-year-old multimillionaire recently made a bold move by announcing his primary challenge against President Joe Biden.
What makes this challenge unique is that it doesn’t stem from political differences but revolves around the 80-year-old President’s age.
Dean Phillips vs. Joe Biden: The Age Factor
When it comes to their policies, there’s not much daylight between Dean Phillips and President Joe Biden. According to FiveThirtyEight, their voting records have aligned 100% of the time. However, Phillips has been vocal about his belief that Biden should not seek another term. He argues that Biden is not well-suited to defeat Donald Trump for a second time.
In a July radio interview, Phillips said, “I think he’s a man of decency, of good principle, of compassion, of empathy, and of strength. But to answer your question directly, which I know is quite rare, uh no, I don’t. I think the country would be well served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats to step up.”
Dean Phillips: From Gelato Entrepreneur to Congressman
Dean Phillips is not a career politician. He’s a successful businessman who, in the past, ran the gelato company Talenti. In 2018, he ventured into politics and managed to unseat a Republican incumbent, representing the suburbs of Minneapolis since 2019. His commitment to bipartisanship is evident in his membership in the Problem Solvers Caucus. Notably, he recently stepped down from his position in the House leadership, serving as the co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. This move was widely seen as a strategic step towards challenging the leader of his own party.
Phillips’ Presidential Announcement in New Hampshire
Dean Phillips plans to make his presidential announcement in New Hampshire, coinciding with the state’s primary filing deadline. It’s worth noting that President Biden will not appear on the primary ballot in the Granite State due to its defiance of the Democratic National Committee’s guidance. This situation could present an opportunity for Phillips, or other prominent Democrat Marianne Williamson, to perform well in the state, although securing delegates may be challenging in this unsanctioned primary.
Democratic Discontent with Biden’s 2024 Run
Polls indicate that a majority of Democrats do not support Joe Biden’s 2024 run, with concerns primarily revolving around his age. However, despite these reservations, no alternative candidate has emerged as a clear favorite. Biden’s nomination appears inevitable as the majority of elected Democrats, major donors, and party operatives have rallied behind him.
Dean Phillips’ Praise for President Biden
Surprisingly, even as Phillips questions Biden’s suitability for the presidency, he has showered the President with praise in recent weeks. In his September newsletter to constituents, Phillips commended Biden for his role in saving America, overseeing a resilient economy, and passing significant legislation.
When President Biden delivered a primetime address, Phillips took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to say, “President Biden issued an outstanding speech this evening, making a strong case for why we must support Ukraine, Israel, and all who seek self-determination, security, and peace. That’s what America does.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed appreciation for the congressman’s unwavering support of President Biden.
Phillips’ Vision for the Future
In late July, The New York Times reported that Phillips was contemplating a presidential bid, although he had not made a definitive announcement at the time. In his September newsletter, he encouraged figures like Cornel West and other potential third-party candidates to challenge Biden directly in the Democratic primary. He hinted at the possibility of electing the first female president and suggested, “While I’m not well positioned to run in 2024, there are many compelling candidates Democrats could elevate if, and only if, President Biden cements his legacy and passes the torch.”
Championing Generational Change
Dean Phillips is no stranger to advocating for generational change. In April, he and another House Democratic lawmaker called for the resignation of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, citing her extended absence from D.C. Phillips emphasized that this stance would apply to men in similar circumstances, highlighting his commitment to fostering a new generation of leaders.
In summary, Dean Phillips’ presidential aspirations come at a unique juncture in American politics, challenging the status quo by putting the age of the incumbent President in the spotlight. While the path to victory may be steep, Phillips is determined to be a catalyst for change, emphasizing the importance of a new generation of leaders.