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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Time for Biden to go. Time to focus on winning.


I voted for Biden in 2020 and have supported his re-election, if not with great enthusiasm, to date.  He lost me with Thursday’s debate. 


It was clear that, at minimum, he has days where he is not up to the job.  It’s clear to me now that his advisers have been concealing the degree of his deterioration.  It’s clear to me now that the chances of his being up to the job for four more years are slim to none. 


Even if he could somehow win reelection, the prospect of his collapse sometime during his term, leaving us with President Kamala Harris, is not one I want to contemplate.


It is also crystal clear that, as this new ad against PA Senator Bob Casey demonstrates, that Biden has given the GOP all the ammunition they need to bring us down.  Not just Biden, but our chance to recapture the House and stay in control of the Senate.   I don’t see how the Democrat leaders’ current strategy of minimizing the problem, doubling down and silencing opposition can result in victory in November. 


There’s no safe choice


My first reaction to the debate was this:  Both choices we have – to choose another candidate, or to stick with Biden – are risky. 


Biden’s polls are weaker already.  Not only that, but sticking with Biden leaves us open to even more disasters that could cost us the election, including downballot.  That being said, he is a known quantity with a campaign in place.


Replacing him would bring a period of chaos, and the battle to choose a new candidate could possibly split the party even more.  We’d have to pick a great candidate, come together and work like mad to sell them between now and November to have a chance.


The success of either path is far from guaranteed.


What we have here is both an opportunity and a threat.


The opportunity


For better or worse, the very real problems with Biden’s candidacy are now all out in the open.  People who want to make a change can’t be dismissed as “bedwetters” anymore (as hard as they try). 

Many powerful media commentators, including the NYT editorial board, have said that Joe has to go. Politicians have also said so, but not publicly – yet. 


So the opportunity is:  We COULD wind up with a better candidate, one who can not only unite Democrats, but create far more enthusiasm than Biden.  The convention battle could even put the party on a path to more internal democracy, and an ideological framework that would help us win long-term.


If Biden were to withdraw from the race and release his delegates, there would be a relatively simple path to a new candidate.  Several candidates would emerge and compete for delegates. Several names are already out there.  We could have an exciting convention, instead of one that would feel like a funeral.


My money’s on Gretchen Whitmer.  Think of it.  She would win Michigan, be very well-positioned to win neighboring Wisconsin, and could compete throughout the country as a heartland ambassador.  She is a woman, in the midst of the GOP’s war on women.  She is young, beautiful, and has recently presided over a successful battle to take Michigan back from the forces of evil. She’s the whole package.


Yes, there would be some messiness. But I don’t think it would be that hard really to convert Biden field offices – which are all very new – into Whitmer offices. 


But we have to act now. Because of the issue with the Ohio ballot, they’ve had to move up the vote, which will be virtual, in just 40 days. Not sure if we could change after that.


The threat


If Biden continues his current resistance to stepping down, and party leaders continue to stand with him, they risk losing even the qualified enthusiasm that many, if not most, Democratic voters had for Biden before – and their votes. 


Allowing the party leaders, Biden inner circle and big donors make a decision to keep Biden that feels wrong, that will affect all of us so greatly, is really not going to sit well with a lot of voters, either short- or long-term. It would accelerate the collapse of the two party system. Which would be fine, if we had a replacement.


People who’ve listened to Biden defenders say they feel like they’re being gaslit. It’s hard to see how anything Biden could do after the debate would bring any undecided voters over to his side. 

Depending on the old “lesser of two evils” strategy seems iffy at best now – especially with those few undecided voters we need so much.


The convention


If Biden did not agree to step down, it would be hard – but not impossible – for delegates to change horses at the convention without his consent.  They can change the rules. The BBC has the story on how that could work


It would no doubt be chaotic at best, and it would take tremendous leadership skill to forge unity and commitment to the nominee out of such a process.  Mainstream Democrats would still have a lot of power, because the delegates are chosen largely for loyalty, and Biden would likely have influence over the final choice.


The bottom line


One of my favorite sayings about leadership has always been, “Don’t stay married to a mistake.”  Better to admit you’ve been wrong and chart a new path, than keep racing down a path to oblivion just because it’s there.  True leaders can do that.  We can all make an effort to help them do it, to communicate how we feel to the media, to our elected officials, to our friends and neighbors. 


Polls are already out, and they don’t look good. Here’s one from CNN. Here’s a new one from the BBC.


Biden’s staff is pooh poohing them, but at some point, they could help create a “come to Jesus” moment for Biden.  There’s no time to waste.




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