May 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden’s split from Trump on presidential endorsements

Data: Axios Research; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Axios Research; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

President Biden has made fewer endorsements during the 2022 campaign cycle than virtually any major political figure in either party, an Axios analysis found.

Why it matters: Biden’s restraint is traditional for most presidents but sharply contrasts with his predecessor, Donald Trump. He's sought to remake the GOP in his image and purge critics from its ranks by supporting and opposing a multitude of candidates.

What they’re saying: A Biden adviser told Axios the president is being “strategic” with his endorsements and has a “longstanding position” not to tip the scales in open primaries.

  • “You can expect to see some endorsements from the president moving forward,” the adviser said.
  • The adviser added that the endorsements will go to “incumbents who have been with him on votes and supporting his agenda, which is helping the American people.”

By the numbers: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) narrowly leads the pack on the Democratic side, with endorsements for 33 candidates.

  • Her former 2020 presidential rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Marianne Williamson, follow closely at 31.
  • On the Republican side, aside from Trump, potential presidential contenders like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have endorsed dozens of candidates across the country.

Between the lines: Endorsements can be a good way to cultivate allies for an eventual presidential run.

They can also go toward building a movement by helping to place ideologically like-minded allies in powerful perches.

  • Pompeo, for example, has endorsed several candidates for state legislature in New Hampshire, which has held the pivotal first-in-the-nation primary.
  • Sanders, Warren and other progressives, like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), have endorsed acolytes in open races in the hopes of growing progressive strength in Congress and elsewhere.
  • And congressional leaders like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik have mostly endorsed in House races, with the aim of having more loyalists in the conference.
Go deeper