You Thought Joe Biden Was Bad? Look at his Democratic Rivals


Joe Biden’s sinking poll numbers are inciting panic among Democratic Party insiders, not to mention the progressive tech oligarchs who bankrolled his 2020 campaign. As the President rages about his poor ratings, even sympathisers in the media are no longer casting him as the next FDR; more, they’re increasingly pleading for him to exit the race for the White House.

Biden appears unaffected, though, and has just raised a large amount of money from Hollywood players. Part of the problem may be the lack of viable alternatives. Vice President Kamala Harris polls about as poorly as her boss, while other Democratic candidates, usually from the gubernatorial class, have economic records that do not even measure up to Biden’s.

California’s Gavin Newsom, anointed by some in the press as the future of the party, now suffers his highest disapproval level ever. His claim about the Golden State’s “peerless economy”, made in his debate with Florida’s Ron DeSantis, reflects either calculated dishonesty or utter delusion. Despite California’s historic allure, far more Americans prefer the hurricane swamp of Florida to the Golden State’s natural majesty.

California has among the highest unemployment rates in the US, is one of the slowest growing states, and continues to suffer a huge outmigration of companies and people. It now has a remarkable $68 billion budget deficit, brought about in part by an unprecedented exodus of wealthy residents. The deficit complicates Newsom’s policy of extending largesse to his biggest backers, the public employee unions. He has ceded support for his backing of social policies such as allowing children to change genders without parental approval, all while fostering the highest crime rate in a decade.

Damaged though Newsom’s appeal might be, the other big Democrat pushing for the White House, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, arguably has an even worse record. Like California, his state has fallen behind on unemployment, performing well below its Midwestern neighbours. Due to excessive expenditures and weak incomes, Illinois now places 49th in US News fiscal rankings

Both the state and its dominant city, Chicago, are in demographic and economic free-fall. In 2022 over 80% of Illinois communities lost residents, with Chicago shrinking by more than 30,000 people. The state is also losing its tax base. Over the past year alone, Illinois has lost three major companies — Boeing, Caterpillar and Ken Griffin’s Citadel hedge fund.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Executive Office of the President of the United States via Flickr in Public domain.