Biden Can Still Win — But Not If Democrats Keep Panicking


Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After days of high anxiety and mostly behind-the-scenes deliberations, the effort in Congress to push Joe Biden aside as the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee seems to have quickly fizzled, as Ben Jacobs reported for New York:

A full day of internal meetings in Washington didn’t produce a hallelujah moment in which Democrats united in confidence that Joe Biden could actually win in November. But there wasn’t the consensus needed to try to urge him to drop out of the race, either. …

The varying opinions on Biden left Democrats frozen with an insoluble problem. While most of his critics figured that Biden was likely to lose if he remained on the ticket, they also estimated that an unsuccessful effort to oust him would just widen the margin of defeat and cause collateral damage down-ballot, possibly dooming their own campaigns.

To be clear, there was never any prospect of Democrats removing Biden against his will, if only because he and his allies (including the most likely replacement candidate, Kamala Harris) totally control the delegates and the machinery for the convention that would have to do the deed, well before the first gavel falls in Chicago next month. With Biden making it abundantly clear he had no plans to step aside, the only hope for regime change was a quick and overwhelming show of force among Democratic elected officials, particularly in Congress, that might convince Biden to reconsider. It didn’t happen. Nor (so far) did polls appear showing the president’s support in free fall; he’s not doing great, but he didn’t lose much ground.

Biden’s not fully out of the woods yet; there are concerns about how he will handle a July 11 press conference at the end of the NATO summit, and bad new polls could drop at any moment. But the sort of off-the-record carping we’re now hearing from restive Democrats is becoming a waste of time if they aren’t going to go public with it. By the time Republicans gather in Milwaukee next week to celebrate their own improbable Comeback Kid, Democrats need to move on and figure out how to help their nominee win.

The first step is to believe Biden can still win, which they really should. Eight years ago, Donald Trump had been trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls for months, then on October 7, 2016 he suffered what nearly everyone at the time thought was a candidacy-ending blow: the Access Hollywood tape exposing him as a raging sexist asshole. Republican elected officials were abandoning him left and right. A month later he became president-elect. Yes, a lot of weird things happened, and the polls turned out not to have been accurate in terms of the Electoral College outcome. But there’s a lot more time this year for weird things to happen (possibly another debate, almost certainly a criminal sentencing of the convicted felon of Mar-a-Lago, and potentially real-life good news for Biden from Gaza and the economic indicators). And Democrats need to shake the superstitious conviction that polling errors only benefit Trump. There’s significant evidence this year that Trump’s support level is being inflated by unlikely voters.

The main thing Biden lost in the debate was a huge opportunity to focus a spotlight on Trump’s record, conduct, and extremist agenda, and the immense amount of time it has already taken away from his campaign plan. Now he needs his party to help him make up for that lost time with a sustained high-volume messaging effort that makes it clear why their fear and dread about a second Trump administration should be shared by the majority of voters who give the 45th president an unfavorable rating. For Biden’s ticket-mates, that means refusing to yield to the temptation to distance themselves from the president and run their own races. And for donors, that means quashing talk of conceding the presidency and concentrating on House races to prevent a Republican trifecta. Without much question, in an era still dominated by straight-ticket voting and turnout-dependent strategies, a close presidential contest is the best way to give House Democrats a shot at flipping control of the chamber. And a presidential win (with the tie-breaking vice-presidential vote that ensures) is undoubtedly the only feasible path to a Democratic Senate.

Yes, Kamala Harris or some fantasy alternative candidate like Gretchen Whitmer might give Democrats a fresh start and a better chance of victory. And perhaps some final effort to surround Joe Biden with friends and allies begging him to step aside is still in the works. But if it doesn’t happen (and it probably won’t), then at some point Democrats need to stop pouting and get to work turning this thing around.

See All

Source link

Related Articles

Do you run a company that want to build a new website and are looking for a web agency in Sweden that can do the job? At Partna you can get connected to experienced web agencies that are interested in helping you with your website development. Partna is an online service where you simply post your web development needs in order to get business offers from skilled web agencies in Sweden. Instead of reaching out to hundreds of agencies by yourself, let up to 5 web agencies come to you via Partna.
Back to top button