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May 16, 2024

What to Do About Joe?

Democrats are panicking over Joe Biden’s sustained bad polling numbers.

Denial is generally not a good strategy for overcoming a problem. But that seems to be the play Democrats and Team Biden are running as Joe Biden’s polling numbers continue to fall further behind Donald Trump.

Well, that denialism is now being challenged by some on the Left. Alex Shephard, writing for the New Republic, observes a new New York Times/Siena poll that shows Biden trailing Trump in five of six battleground states, and in some cases by double digits.

Shephard says, “The poll is rightly causing panic among Democrats.”

CNN’s Van Jones called it “a wake-up call,” adding: “Young people are upset. And it’s not just the situation in Gaza — the economic prospects for young people are miserable.” Jones contends that Biden’s student loan transfer gambit is “not going to be enough for Joe Biden.”

Harry Enten, CNN’s polling expert, called the poll results an “absolute disaster” for Biden. “The Trump coalition is changing,” he said. “That’s basically what’s cooking here.”

Enten notes that if Biden won all the states that were too close to call, he would win reelection — but just barely, 270 to 268.

For Shephard, that looks more like wishful thinking bordering on denialism. As he later concludes: “[Democrat voters] really don’t like Biden. And that, in turn, ought to make the party think very seriously about whether he ought to remain atop the 2024 ticket.”

Shepards expands on his assertion, contending that even if things were to change with the economy, and/or if Trump were to be criminally convicted, Biden’s polling would see little change. He points to a simple reason: “Voters know Joe Biden — and they’ve decided that they don’t think he’s capable of doing the job of president for a second term.” Yep.

The clearly aged-addled Biden is not getting any younger. Voters see this and conclude that the 81-year-old won’t last much longer in the office.

Democrats are stuck in a dilemma of their own making. Biden’s age and his disastrous policy decisions are weighing him down. Vice President Kamala Harris has a similar problem with unpopularity and will seemingly never be ready for prime time. Biden foolishly limited his choice of running mate to a “woman of color” and then proceeded to choose one of the worst available. But identity politics is the Democrats’ bread and butter.

Our Mark Alexander has insisted that Biden will not be the nominee since October 2022. But how to get rid of the old man?

The Democrats’ first obstacle is Biden himself, who appears entirely uninterested in stepping down. How does a party get rid of a president who refuses to leave gracefully and endorse his successor?

The second obstacle is Harris. If Biden were to step down, Harris would naturally be the replacement. If Biden handed over the reins before the Democratic National Convention, Harris would become the first female president. That would check off a big identity box for Democrats, but it would be short-lived if she loses the presidential election in November.

The third obstacle is picking a candidate around whom the party would quickly coalesce. Names that have been floated are California Governor Gavin Newsom, whose popularity has been waning lately, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose lack of national name recognition would prove problematic, especially as a last-second candidate.

Then there’s the wild card problem of former Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr. If Biden drops out, RFK will use it as a prime opportunity to court Democrat voters, as he’s running a positive, upbeat campaign with historical name recognition.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Democrats’ lawfare strategy against Trump, which is proving only to make him stronger, it might not matter who their eventual candidate is. They may be heading for defeat irrespective of what they do.

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