Magazine Owned By Major Biden Donor Urges Primary Challenge Against POTUS

Laurene Powell Jobs has a history of using news sites she funds to push her political views

Laurene Powell Jobs and former Washington mayor Adrian Fenty
Laurene Powell Jobs and former Washington mayor Adrian Fenty / Getty Images
February 27, 2023

A prominent liberal magazine owned by Biden donor Laurene Powell Jobs is urging a primary challenge against the president.

Writing for The Atlantic, political writer Mark Leibovich argues for a "compelling, formidable, and younger" Democrat to primary President Joe Biden, and potentially force the octogenarian to quit his campaign. "Maybe Biden would take the hint, step away on his own, and let Democrats get on with picking their next class of national leaders," writes Leibovich, citing polls that show 60 percent of Democrats don’t want Biden to run for reelection.

Leibovich's article highlights growing discontent among Democrats about Biden's chances in 2024, given his advanced age and penchant for gaffes. Powell Jobs, who contributed $716,200 to the Biden campaign and Biden Victory Fund in 2020, has a history of using news sites she funds to push her political views. The Atlantic, which the Apple heiress purchased in 2017, issued only its fourth presidential endorsement in its 166-year history in 2020, urging voters to choose Biden over former president Donald Trump because of the latter’s "threat to our collective existence." Powell Jobs was one of the biggest donors to ACRONYM, a political action committee that operated the Courier Newsroom, a network of hyperpartisan websites disguised to look like legitimate local news outlets.

While Democratic voters say they want someone other than Biden, Washington Democrats are far more hesitant to criticize him. Rep. Dean Phillips (D., Minn.), one of the few who has called for a primary challenge, says his colleagues are too scared to say in public what they acknowledge in private about Biden’s age. "They simply won’t fucking say a word," Phillips told Leibovich.

Biden has yet to announce his intention to run for reelection. While he is expected to run, First Lady Jill Biden gave a less-than-convincing blessing of the idea in a recent interview, saying "we support whatever he wants to do. If he’s in, we’re there. If he wants to do something else, we’re there too."

Besides his advanced age, Biden has also been hobbled by a souring economy and investigations into his family business dealings and his handling of classified documents. The Justice Department is investigating classified records found at Biden’s think tank office in Washington, D.C., and his residence in Wilmington, Del. Federal prosecutors are also investigating first son Hunter Biden over his taxes and foreign business activity.

In his article, Leibovich dismisses the possibility that members of Biden’s administration—including Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg—could challenge the commander in chief. Such an act would be seen as "irreparably disloyal," Leibovich asserts.

Instead, Leibovich proposes a "noncomprehensive" list of potential Biden challengers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D., Mich.), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D., Calif.), and failed presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.).