Sanders Allies Push Ro Khanna to Be Ready

California lawmaker says he's more interested in the 2028 presidential race
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2022 7:55 PM CDT
Sanders Allies Push Ro Khanna to Be Ready
Rep. Ro Khanna questions a witness in a congressional hearing last October.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Biden has said he expects to run for reelection, but much of the nation doesn't think he will. Certain Democratic governors and members of Congress aren't so sure, either, so they're starting to talk, out of earshot, about the 2024 presidential primaries, Politico reports. One possible candidate who's being mentioned favorably by people in Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders' orbit—the progressive wing of the party—is Rep. Ro Khanna. "It's crystal-clear that Ro Khanna is a part of the next generation of progressive leadership in America," said Joe Caiazzo, a Democratic consultant.

Jeff Weaver and Mark Longabaugh, former Sanders advisers, have encouraged Khanna to think about launching a campaign if Biden steps aside. One snag is that Khanna has said, "I'm not running in 2024." The California lawmaker said that he expects Biden to run and that he'll support him. If Biden drops out, Khanna said there are other Democrats who could win and whom he could back. But the son of Indian immigrants didn't rule out the election after that. "After the '24 cycle will be a time where America will start to look to the future," Khanna said. In addition to not wanting to appear to be elbowing Biden aside, Democrats hesitate to speak publicly about an open race to avoid offending Vice President Kamala Harris, though some of them doubt she could win.

"I think Ro would be a very effective candidate," Longabaugh said. "This guy has a message that’s very powerful." Khanna, who represents a Silicon Valley district, says he's a "progressive capitalist." He wants to see high-paying technology jobs everywhere else in the nation, as well, per Politico, partly made possible by the jump in remote working. "Ro has a clear vision of both protecting America's status as a multiracial democracy and bringing economic opportunity from the coasts to every corner of the country," said Neil Makhija of the civic group Indian American Impact. Khanna's co-chair for Sanders' 2020 campaign likes the idea. "I think it would be great to have a President Ro," said Ben Cohen. "He’s just an honest, sincere guy." (More Ro Khanna stories.)

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