Will Democrats in Congress Push Biden Aside? Live Updates

Democrats may not believe Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump in November, but there seemed to be a grim resignation on Capitol Hill on Monday night that none were willing to take the steps that might actually push Biden to drop out. If Democrats could simply wave a magic wand to remove the president from the ticket, they would. But all they have are knives, and few are inclined to use them.

The fretting was based on the calculus that while Biden was likely to lose if he remained on the ticket, an unsuccessful effort to oust him would just widen the margin of defeat (and the resulting down-ballot casualties). Many took an abstract view of the process as if it was some intellectual question that needed to be worked out on a blackboard. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland told reporters “I think we are having an important national conversation and I am confident that the president will make a decision in the best interest of the country.” There was no sense that Biden has already announced that decision a number of times, including hours before in a letter to Congressional Democrats and again during a phone interview with Morning Joe.

Fatalism gripped the Democratic Party on Monday, fueling a desire among many just to resolve all of this quickly. As one donor said “the longer it lingers, the worse it is going to be in November.” Only Joe Biden could really decide to remove himself from the ticket, and barring a shocking turn of events, he wasn’t going to relinquish that grip. In the meantime, the more the media feeding frenzy continued, the tougher it would be for Democrats in competitive races. After all, the last thing Democrats want to do is spend day after day answering questions about Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities, and until there was a definitive resolution, they wouldn’t have a choice. There would be no open convention, no Sorkin-esque sacrifice — just another grim four months of plodding along with a flawed nominee.

One senior Democratic aide invoked the T.S. Eliot line that became a cliché long before even Biden was born: “This won’t end with a bang but a whimper.”

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