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Democrats face real questions on Biden, 2024 and party’s growing divide

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

WASHINGTON – There’s a big reason that stories about Kamala Harris’s struggles as vice president, about President Biden’s routine physical, and about the president’s trip (or lack thereof) have received attention in recent days.

It’s a real possibility that Biden, who just turned 79, will not run for re-election in 2024.

While Biden and his allies maintain that he intends to run in 2024, others have doubts about him.

“I hear this question being asked every day,” an anonymous veteran of the Democratic campaign told the Washington Post. “No one asked that question about Barack Obama. No one asked that question about Donald Trump. ”

And if Biden doesn’t run, he will further expose the party’s growing ideological divide, all at a time when Donald Trump has consolidated more and more power after the violent January 6 attack on Capitol Hill.

In New York Magazine, liberal writer Jonathan Chait argues that the Democratic Party, as well as Biden’s agenda, is caught between an increasingly progressive left that seems to care more about slogans (such as “Defund the police” and “Green New Deal “) than winning elections and a center whose moderates have helped water down some of the president’s most popular proposals (like raising taxes on the rich further).

Biden has tried to overcome this division. He joined progressives in linking the bipartisan infrastructure bill to his social safety net package. He then celebrated the approval of the infrastructure when that two-way approach fell apart after the party’s defeats in Virginia. And on Monday, he sided with the moderates and Republicans to re-nominate Jerome Powell as Fed chairman.

But how would Vice President Harris fare with this split? Or someone else?

Democrats like to show off the size of their store, from Bernie Sanders to Republicans who have never been successful like John Kasich.

But is there enough material to stretch the tent without breaking it?

Especially if Biden isn’t part of the picture in 2024?

Alex Jones and Roger Stone among the last to be cited in the January 6 investigation
“The House committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol issued subpoenas on Monday to high-profile allies of former President Donald Trump, including Roger Stone and Alex Jones.”

“The committee is looking at longtime Trump adviser Stone and Jones, a conspiracy theorist who claimed that the 2012 Connecticut Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a ‘giant hoax’, in connection with a rally near the Capitol shortly before a pro-Trump mob stormed the building in early January. ”

Data Download: The Numbers You Need To Know Today
50 million – The number of barrels of oil the White House is releasing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address rising prices.

10: The number of undecided states where the NRSC is running ads at gas stations that hit Democrats about inflation.

800,000: The approximate number of non-citizens (green card holders or those with valuable authorizations) who would be allowed to vote in New York City local elections under a proposal that is expected to be approved by the City Council next month.

32 percent: the increase in pediatric Covid cases in the past two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

47,900,597 – The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, according to the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 148,661 more from yesterday morning.)

775,287: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, according to the most recent data from NBC News. (There are 1279 more since yesterday morning).

452,657,967 – The total number of vaccine doses administered in the US, according to the CDC. (That’s 1,204,133 more as of yesterday morning.)

36,058,472 – The number of booster vaccine doses administered in the US, according to the CDC. (That’s 664,702 as of yesterday morning.)

59.2 percent: The proportion of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

71 percent: The proportion of all Americans age 18 and older who are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

It’s wide open in PA-Sen
On Monday, Trump-backed Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell suspended his campaign after “a judge ruled … in favor of his ex-wife in a court fight over custody of his three children. he”.

And that means next year’s Senate race in Pennsylvania is wide open, on both sides.

For Republicans, the remaining candidates include former Lieutenant Governor Jeff Bartos, commentator Kathy Barnette and former Trump Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. But also look for more names to come up considering that Trump’s election is now on the sidelines.

And for Democrats, the field is ideologically and geographically diverse: Lt. Governor John Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Val Arkoosh.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world?
President Biden appointed Jerome Powell to another term at the head of the Fed, but chose Lael Brainard as vice president.

Politico reports that an internal Trump poll shows him ahead of Biden in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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