July 10, 2024

The 5 Stages of Biden Grief

Democrats know, of course, that Biden is in terrible shape in this presidential cycle. But it’s too little too late.

With the revelation over the past two weeks that President Joe Biden is mentally and physically diminished, Democrats have traveled through all five stages of grief; first, they experienced denial; then anger; then bargaining; next, depression; finally, acceptance. But what they’re accepting is not Joe Biden’s mental decline. What they’re accepting is the fundamental reality that they bet on the wrong horse.

And what comes next is likely to be even worse.

At first, Democrats engaged in full-scale denial that anything was wrong with Joe Biden. The White House maintained that he was hale and healthy; Democrats in Congress tried to maintain the brave front that his debate failure had been a one-off. This is a stance now relegated to Biden’s immediate family: Jill Biden insists that Joe is just fine; Hunter says that Joe hasn’t lost a step.

But the rest of the party quickly moved on to stage two: anger. Democrats in Congress and members of the legacy media were — and are — enraged at the Biden campaign. They knew, of course, that Biden is addled. But they had faith that the Biden campaign wouldn’t put that reality on full display. They believed that the Biden campaign, even with its ailing frontman, would somehow cobble together a winning campaign against Donald Trump. When their hopes were stripped away all at once, they responded with pure, unbridled fury. Congressmen called for Biden to step down; The New York Times editorial board fantasized about his ouster.

But as Joe Biden continued to hold on — as he continued to stonewall all the attempts by his erstwhile allies to dump him overboard — Democrats entered phase three: bargaining. Now they began to fantasize about an open convention. A shortened primary process. A Kamala Harris invocation of the 25th Amendment. Anything — anything! — to get rid of Biden. Perhaps it would tear the party apart and finally sink the Democrats’ 2024 hopes … but surely the Biden campaign couldn’t continue to maintain the charade.

And yet Joe Biden continued, stolidly, to deny any problems at all. He said that only elites within the Democratic Party wanted him gone. He explained that he had won the most votes in the primaries, and that he would not leave absent an act of God. He stated that he would be fully satisfied if he ran to the end of the race and lost, so long as he had done his “goodest.” And so Democrats descended into depression. Looking at the national and state polls, Congressional Democrats began to mutter behind closed doors about the prospect of losing both the House and the Senate. Donors began shifting their money away from the presidential race and toward down-ballot races.

Now Democrats seem finally to have shifted into acceptance. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who had earlier said that Biden should drop out of the race, now reversed himself. When asked whether he had done so for pragmatic reasons, he answered surlily, “Well, yeah. He said he’s gonna remain in, he’s our candidate, and we’re all going to support him.” Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., who had floated the idea of a shortened primary season, announced that Democrats would be “riding with Biden.”

Democrats know, of course, that Biden is in terrible shape in this presidential cycle. As Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News reported, “Very very few think he can win and that he is the right candidate for this moment post debate.” But it’s too little too late. No force on earth or in heaven can move Biden. Unless he is hit by lightning — or suffers an actual physical collapse — he’ll be the man on the ballot in November.

Good luck to the Democrats.


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