PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Joe Biden posed a question to powerful Democrats at a campaign-style rally Friday: «Are you with me?»

The roars of approval and chants of “four more years!” at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee they indicated that everyone was ready for Biden 2024.

Despite lackluster approval ratings, an ongoing classified document scandal, and polls showing the majority of voters would like to see the 80-year-old retire, Biden faces zero significant opposition to his leadership of the Democratic Party and a clear path to being nominated again next year, even before he has officially declared his intentions to seek him.

During the three-day gathering of elected officials, activists, union leaders, operatives and donors this weekend, it was almost impossible to find serious dissent or dissatisfaction with Biden, even after hours at the hotel bar, where alcohol and opinions flowed freely.

“If he wants to run, I think everyone will be 100 percent united behind him. I mean, maybe 99.9999, but we’re the closest we’ve been in a long time,» said Jon Bauman, California DNC member and president of a PAC that promotes Social Security.

«Eventually, the party will have to move to the younger crowd having more control, and that’s natural, but it doesn’t feel like the time yet,» added Bauman, better known as «Bowzer» of the rock and music style of the 1950s. Sha Na Na group roll.

There were no signs of behind-the-scenes moves to challenge Biden from younger Democratic hopefuls, nor much evidence of the kind of ideological conflict that has so often divided the party in recent years.

Prominent supporters of independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were among the loudest cheerers on stage alongside Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday, waving freshly printed signs featuring an updated design unveiled last year that read «GO JOE» on one side and «KAMALA» on the other.

“We are very confident in what President Biden is doing and we are going to fully support his re-election,” said Judith Whitmer, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a former Sanders delegate who won a surprise election a few years ago. to be Chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party.

Of course, presidents always run their party establishment, which doesn’t necessarily reflect the rank and file voters. But the first signs of real trouble for Biden would likely come from insiders, as was the case with former Democratic presidents like Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter, who were forced out of the White House by friendly fire.

Both previous presidents faced Democratic primary threats, with Johnson opting not to seek re-election while Carter won the re-nomination but struggled to re-solidify the party before the November general election, which he lost.

Outside the DNC meeting, a mobile billboard hired by a small progressive group urged Biden not to run, though the group acknowledged it had a hard time gaining ground. His political director, Sam Rosenthal, said he had spoken to «some members of the DNC» who privately agreed with his campaign but were «too intimidated to say so publicly.»

Just a year ago, Democratic members had no problem showing their anxiety and disorder.

As inflation rose and Biden’s legislative agenda stalled, up-and-coming Democrats like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker seemed to be circling the White House like vultures.

But Biden’s prospects have changed dramatically thanks to the passage of major bills like the Inflation Reduction Act, improved economic news like last week’s strong jobs report, and better-than-expected results from the midterm elections, which Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler called the «test in the pudding» of Biden’s political strength.

“A lot of people have been pleasantly surprised,” Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Georg., said of Biden.

It helps that Biden is a party creature. Unlike former President Barack Obama, who founded his own political group outside the DNC and attended only a few of the DNC’s biannual meetings during his eight years in office, Biden has been to every meeting in person thus far.

Even DNC members who did not support Biden in the 2020 primary used terms like «connected,» «locked» and «stitched» to describe the White House’s control over the party, which is now used to dictate how they will play out. the 2024 primaries. and where their next national convention will be held.

The president has enough political capital to feel comfortable taking on New Hampshire and Iowa, pushing them off the front of the presidential primary calendar in the biggest shakeup of the primary process in decades. On Saturday, the DNC ratified Biden’s proposal to make South Carolina first.

“This was not the first time the Democratic establishment mused on whether or not Iowa should stay in the early window, and time and time again it has been shot down,” said Mo Elithee, a DNC member who was involved in the calendar rewrite. “People said it couldn’t be done. This president did it.»

Democrats in New Hampshire and Iowa protested, but knew they had no hope of taking on Biden (they couldn’t even hold a press conference at the DNC meeting) and were careful not to criticize Biden or suggest he only promoted Carolina. South because they did better there than in their states in 2020.

“I’m not asking you to vote against the president,” Joanne Dowdell of New Hampshire told the more than 400 DNC members, “because it broke my heart to vote against his proposed schedule.”