Biden’s Blessing

Pres. Biden
Democratic operatives are already jockeying to land “the blessing” from Joe Biden. Photo: Sarah Reingewirtz/Getty Images

In the argot of today’s soft-money political-industrial complex, there are few objects of affection more zealously coveted by presidential campaign operatives than the blessing. These days, everyone in politics is hawking some super PAC or another, and so everyone wants the imprimatur of a campaign headquarters, or an official statement that cuts through the noise and tells donors which outside group is the one they should be supporting with checks of unlimited size. Indeed, the blessing is perceived by some to be the great unlock that unfurls millions of dollars in donations, can make operatives rich, and bestow credibility upon an outside group at a time when so many super PACs have names that all sound identical, vacuous, or worse. 

To steer a blessed super PAC is to hold the rights to a centimillion-dollar bazooka. And so behind the scenes, some Democratic operatives are already jockeying to land the blessing from Joe Biden, whose team is beginning to plot what a 2024 re-election bid would look like. Yes, of course, no official decision has yet been made about the super PAC blessing or about Biden’s future, and Biden has publicly equivocated, even if his camp privately suggests (and vociferously so) that the guy is running. Regardless, none of this is enough to stop frenzied politicos from the blessing mating game. 

According to various sources close to the White House, the D.N.C, Democratic fundraisers, and even officials at other super PACs, it seems like a little shake-up is in store. Priorities USA, the establishment PAC long preferred and blessed by the Bidens, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, is unlikely to be the main super PAC of choice next cycle, at least as of this writing. Instead, the White House is leaning toward Future Forward, a new Silicon Valley-backed entrant that shot out of a cannon last cycle and ended up spending a total of one-quarter of a billion dollars in the 2020 cycle. The state of play is fluid, and some compromise may eventually be reached, but Future Forward is widely seen as having the inside track. The White House has been quietly nodding to donors to support the group in 2022, according to a Democratic fundraiser with direct knowledge of the conversations.