Jennifer O’ Malley Dillon—President Biden’s 2024 Re-election Ace February 4, 2024
On January 23, 2024, the political media was, of course, fixated on Demagogue Donald clobbering his lone remaining major GOP rival Nikki Haley by 11 percentage points in the New Hampshire presidential primary (nytimes.com/interactive, 1/24/24). As many pundits have noted, Donald is almost wrapping up his campaign to be the 2024 GOP presidential nominee while Nikki Haley’s attempt to defeat him is now on life support. Despite Haley’s bravado about remaining in the race, Trump could finish off her chances by steamrolling her in South Carolina on February 24, 2024, the day of that state’s GOP primary. South Carolina is the state where Haley previously served as Governor from 2011-2017 (wiki). In the 2024 Iowa caucuses, Trump won with a very conservative and evangelical electorate. In NH, where moderates and independents could vote in the primary as well as Republicans, Donald performed well nearly across every demographic group. Exit polls showed him winning every age group in this “purple” swingy New England state, among men and women (nytimes.com, Lerer, Haberman, & Swan, 1/23/24).
Instead of being gracious in victory to the defeated Haley and praising New Hampshire voters for backing him, Demagogue Donald seethed with resentment toward Haley throughout much of his “victory” speech. He spent most of his speech viciously attacking Haley. He stated, “But let’s not have someone take a victory when she (Haley) had a very bad night.” He attacked Haley, his former U.N. ambassador, for continuing to campaign after she lost to him in both IA and NH. Donald stated that he felt compelled to attack her because, “I find in life you can’t let people get away with bullshit.” Trump signaled that from now on further attacks on Haley might be ahead, including “little stuff she doesn’t want to talk about.” Donald declared, “I don’t get too angry—I get even.” Demagogue Donald, once again, is showing what a liar he is. He gets angry at the slightest insult. He has a fierce temper and doesn’t hide it. Trump additionally called Haley an “imposter (Gold, M., nytimes.com, 1/23/24, Lerer et al, nytimes.com, 1/23/24).”
While Trump continued to show his vindictive personality, even in victory, President Biden won a decisive NH primary contest. In a write-in campaign run by his state’s Democratic allies, Biden won 63.9% of the vote against Minnesota Dem. Rep. Dean Phillips’ underwhelming 19.6% showing. Self-help author Marianne Williamson took just 4.6% of the vote (theguardian.com, Greve & Gabbatt,1/23/24). Biden had not put his name on the NH ballot after that state had refused to comply with a new Democratic nominating calendar that made South Carolina the first primary contest. SC had replaced NH as the first Democratic primary because most Democrats believed that with its heavy Black population, the Palmetto State was more representative of Democratic voters than overwhelmingly white NH (Lerer, et al, nytimes.com). Biden’s symbolic NH write-in victory demonstrates that despite some Democratic anxiety and grousing in the media about him, he remains popular with the Democratic rank-and-file (See nytimes.com, Glueck, 1/24/24). Most Democrats now believe that after Donald’s two wins in IA and NH, it is time for Biden to start his campaign against Trump in earnest by turning his entire political fire-power against him. President Biden agrees. After Biden won his race, he, unlike Trump, graciously thanked the NH voters who had written in his name. Biden declared, “It is now clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. And my message to the country is the stakes could not be higher (Glueck, K., nytimes.com, 1/24/24).” Translation: Biden is correctly warning Americans that with Trump as the GOP nominee, preserving democracy is what is most at stake in the November 2024 presidential election.
And President Biden is doing more than just talking about immediately putting his 11/2024 election campaign into high gear. He is taking strong concrete action. He is dispatching two top White House aides to take over functional control of his re-election contest against Trump. These two aides are Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Mike Donilon. O’Malley Dillon has served since Biden became President as deputy chief of staff in the White House. She will move to Wilmington, Delaware where the Biden 2024 campaign headquarters are located. She will direct the Biden campaign re-election efforts. Mike Donilon, a senior adviser who has worked for Biden for decades, will also move to Wilmington and become the campaign’s chief strategist. Many Democrats, including former President Obama, raised concerns about this bifurcated arrangement where major and minor decisions were made by White House aides and carried out by campaign personnel in DE. Now, the Biden 2024 campaign will have all its leadership centralized and implemented from one place (nytimes.com, 1/23/24, Epstein, R.). Meet Jennifer O’Malley Dillon.
Boston, Massachusetts native Jennifer O’Malley Dillon (47) has had a long career as a strong and experienced Democratic activist at the highest political levels. Politics runs in her family. Her second cousin, Matt O’Malley served on the Boston City Council from 2010-2022 and was that body’s acting president for most of 2021 (nbcboston.com, King, A., 11/16/20). Jennifer O’Malley Dillon received a 1998 political science BA degree and was captain of her college softball team at MA’s Tufts University (nbcboston.com, King). She is part of the large and influential Boston Irish constituency. Her great-grandparents were Irish Catholic immigrants from Gorumna Island, County Galway. Her father was a school administrator. O’Malley Dillon decided to work in politics when she visited Washington D.C. on a family vacation (nbcboston.com, King, 11/16/20).
O’Malley Dillon’s first political job was to answer phones for MA Attorney General Democrat Scott Harshbarger. In 1999, she became a field organizer for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. At the end of Gore’s campaign, she had risen to the post of a regional field director. She next worked as a field director for the U.S. Senate campaigns of South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu. In 2003, she worked as field director for Democrat John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign. When Edwards left that race, O’Malley Dillon became deputy campaign manager for SD political Democratic Senator Tom Daschle’s re-election campaign (precisionstrategies.com). In 2007, she again went to work for John Edwards’ presidential campaign as Iowa state director and later deputy campaign manager. When Edwards lost this race, she joined Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign for the November, 2008 general election where she worked as battleground states director. After Obama’s election, O’Malley Dillon worked on his transition team as associate director of personnel. She was then hired as the executive director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under its chair VA Senator Tim Kaine (democracyinaction.us, precisionstrategies.com). In 2011, O’Malley Dillon joined Obama’s 2012 successful re-election campaign against Mitt Romney in the role of deputy campaign manager. After Obama’s 2012 victory, she co-founded the political consulting firm Precision Strategies with Obama alumni Stephanie Cutter and Teddy Goff (precisionstrategies.com). With that company, she worked with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, General Electric, and Lyft (Schwartz, B., cnbc.com, 3/20/21).
After Trump’s 2016 election, O’Malley Dillon chaired the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee’s) Unity Reform Commission. In 2019, she became involved in an attempt by Democratic Party personnel to create a data exchange to allow for greater information sharing between Democratic campaigns and allies. Democratic leaders see this project as crucial for catching up with the successful GOP data program (washingtonpost.com, Scherer, M., 3/12/20). Later in 2019, O’Malley Dillon was hired as manager of Beto O’Rourke’s short-lived 2020 presidential campaign (Svitek, P., texastribune.org, 3/25/16).
In April, 2020, O’Malley Dillon became the new manager of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. She succeeded Greg Schultz and Anita Dunn who had shared campaign management duties (Scherer, washingtonpost.com, 3/12/20). O’Malley Dillon was the first person to serve as Biden’s campaign manager who was not related to him. For all of his previous campaigns, Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens had served as his campaign manager (Gibson & O’Keefe, 3/12/20, cbsnews.com). O’Malley Dillon became the first female presidential campaign manager for a winning Democratic ticket (vanityfair.com, Smith, C., 11/2020). After Biden’s victory, he quickly announced that O’Malley Dillon would assume the role of White House Deputy chief-of-staff (cnn.com, Merica & Zeleny, 11/16/20).
In her position as White House Deputy chief-of-staff, O’Malley Dillon was instrumental in planning First Lady Jill Biden’s domestic trips to obtain maximum political advantage. After Biden’s State of the Union 2022 address, in a crucial midterm election year, O’Malley Dillon made sure that First Lady Jill had gone to key states, including Arizona, Nevada, and Kentucky to promote her husband’s BBB (Build Back Better) and unity agenda (Whipple, “The Fight Of His Life,” 2023).
President Biden is not only a very successful president on both the domestic and foreign scene. He is also one of the best and shrewdest politicians this country has had in the Oval Office since FDR and LBJ domestically. He understands political talent and is not hesitant in the least bit about using it. And unlike other prior presidents and political leaders, Biden has no trouble listening to and following women giving him strong advice. He is completely comfortable with the role women in authority roles like O’Malley Dillon exercise. O’Malley Dillon herself noted that “strong women leaders are really driving a huge part of the portfolio” or Biden’s agenda (Whipple, “The Fight Of His Life”). She knows this from working with Biden in 2020 and in the White House from the beginning of Biden’s first term.
Biden understands that his re-election drive against Demagogue Donald will be no “cakewalk.” He knows that he will have to emphasize his key legislative accomplishments that he pushed through a closely divided Congress, which have done so much to help the economy. Currently, few American voters remember these Biden achievements. O’Malley Dillon will help him hone his message here about “finishing the job” for America. She will also help him attack Donald ceaselessly for bragging about overturning “Roe v. Wade” with his reactionary Supreme Court appointments. Pro-choice remains a campaign winner in all the recent special and midterm elections we have had, even in “Red” states. Biden knows that the millions of MAGA voters are angry hornets ready to come out from their nests to swarm the polls and vote for their authoritarian “hero.” O’Malley Dillon will have to help Biden get his 2020 coalition of young voters, Blacks, and Hispanics revved up, once again, with enthusiasm. She will need to make sure that Biden repeatedly talks to these groups and everyone else about saving democracy so that “Team Blue” with their greater numbers can defeat Donald. Even with the “y uu ge” judicial verdicts rendered against him (nytimes.com, 1/267/24, cnn.com, 1/26/24), we must never “misunderestimate” the fanaticism of Donald’s MAGA supporters. With her experience dealing with GOP data campaigns and being a Democratic field director in many Senate races, O’Malley Dillon knows that turnout is EVERYTHING. Even though pundits talked about Iowa and New Hampshire having strong voter turnout this year, O’Malley Dillon knows this analysis remains utter nonsense. IA saw just a mere 15% turnout in its caucuses and just 34% of registered voters showed up in New Hampshire (ctdems.org, 1/24/24). If such low turnout caused by Democrats staying home occurs in 11/2024, Dictator Donald and his MAGA crowd win and, I repeat, democracy will be at risk. Biden and fellow Democrats must listen to O’Malley Dillon and follow her advice. Democracy depends on Biden’s re-election.