A lot of people are worried about Biden’s age and think he should turn over the car keys to someone else in the Democratic Party. There are political reasons why Biden is stuck running for office and can’t step down even if he might want to.
Let’s play out what would happen if Biden did step down.
There are two possibilities.
1) Biden could step down and turn over the car keys to Kamala Harris or
2) Biden could step down and NOT turn over the car keys to Kamala Harris.
THE KAMALA HARRIS PROBLEM
First, what happens if Biden turns over the car keys to Harris. She is not only a woman in a misogynist country, she is a Black and Asian woman in a racist country. Trump is the white guy strongman that millions of fearful, low education (and now, also college educated) white men fervently want to re-elect again to run the country and keep the rising tide of Black and Brown folks from gaining ground. Many of these men (and women) think Trump is fun and entertaining. They have forgiven him for his errors with the pandemic because the pandemic is over. They think our economy was better when he was president, which is not true, but that doesn’t stop them from believing that. Trump also paints himself as a moderate on abortion which quells the energy and mobilization of fearful suburban and rural women who will vote to insure their right to abortion if they think it is at risk in 2024.
Trump will say anything to get elected. Once elected he will do anything to stay in power. He will go back on his promises to be a moderate on abortion in order to keep the evangelicals happy and gain their continued support. In a head to head match up Harris v. Trump, Trump will win. Biden cannot hand over the keys to Harris.
WHAT IF BIDEN STEPPED DOWN?
What if Biden said – “I have had it with this crazy messed up country. I am pardoning my son and dropping out of the race. Good luck, America. Have yourselves an open primary, Democrats!”
That might sound like a good idea, but it would create backlash against Biden if he did not hand the car keys over to Kamala Harris. Millions of women would be furious at Biden for failing to endorse Harris as the rightful heir to the presidency. The Dems cannot win without the energy and effort of Black and Brown women in America.
WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO BIDEN? YES, I AM TALKING ABOUT THE GRIM REAPER
Much would depend on the timing. It would relieve the Democrats of the Kamala Harris problem because it would suddenly be an open convention with everyone on equal footing. Harris could throw her hat in the ring along with the other contenders. Some of the contenders have already got their PACs up and running. Are they anticipating that something could happen to Biden on the way to the nomination? Duh.
They include Gov Pritzker (his slogan is “Think Big”!), Gov Josh Shapiro of PA, and Gov Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and possibly Gov Gavin Newsome. All of them might have a chance especially if younger voters got excited and would get off their butts and vote in huge numbers along with Black and Brown people. However, these presidential contenders would have to overcome the general election drag from antisemitism (Pritzker and Shapiro are Jewish), misogyny (Whitmer is a woman), and the demonization of California (a failed state, the bastion of homelessness and leftist extremism according to Republicans).
The Democratic Party is sometimes referred to as a big tent. The truth is that under that big tent there are some big disagreements about what people want to have happen in our country. Some of those fights have been quelled by Biden being the clear heir apparent to the presidency. But once he is out of the picture there could be some pretty messy gang wars between factions that want to gain the power of the presidency. Currently, Dems are enjoying a period of relative calm. Biden has been good at listening to various factions and being inclusive. His calming presence would be gone if he were out of the picture.
If there were to be a Democratic primary, it would probably take place at the Chicago Convention where the hopefuls would work the back rooms to get the delegates to vote for them. Even though that situation would also expose fissures and fault lines in the Democratic Party, possibly allowing Trump to slide back to power, there could also emerge a strong contender who might capture the will of younger voters, voters of color, suburban moms and progressive voters. I have met Gretchen Whitmer, JB Pritzker and Josh Shapiro in person. Any one of them could be a great president, could inspire Americans and would continue the positive policies of the Biden Administration.
WHO COULD MORE CERTAINLY WIN THE PRESIDENCY FOR THE DEMS
There is one Democratic governor who could win hands down in 2024 but is probably not going to throw his hat in the ring. That governor is Andy Beshears, governor of Kentucky. He is a younger version of Biden in important ways that appeal to the centrists in America that make up the majority. He is calm, moderate, empathic, knows how to win in a red state, has white skin in a country freaked out by the rising tide of Black and Brown people, is Christian but not a Christian nationalist and supports the policy positions moderate Americans want without the baggage of Washington DC. He doesn’t have the global or DC relationships that Biden has, but he could build them- he is a good guy. He is also sane and has good judgement. He could win in my opinion even though he is fairly unknown to Americans. Not being part of Washington, DC would actually work in his favor. But he is not gearing up to run for president- he just got re-elected governor of Kentucky in a convincing win.
BIDEN FEELS HE DESERVES A VICTORY LAP
And let’s face it, Biden is not about to step down. And why should he? His judgement, his choice of team members and his policies have been great for America. Our stock market is at an all time high. We avoided a recession. The interest rate is going down and the Fed will lower interest rates more in a two step process this spring that is predicted to unfreeze the housing market. Jobs are plentiful. Our country is doing better economically compared to every other country in Europe. The only two countries doing better than the US are South Korea and Greece according to The Economist based on a study of all countries in the world post pandemic.
Biden also made sure the rural areas of America that were fly-over country got the benefit of new technology and jobs. Even the price of gas is reasonable because Biden’s administration is quietly drilling oil at a rapid clip. Biden handled the Ukraine war brilliantly and reenergized NATO. The Israeli war is a beast he is trying to wrestle with, especially with Netanyahu who is not listening to Biden’s warnings. Biden will continue to try to wrangle Netanyahu to back off of the genocidal mission he’s on especially as the election gets closer.
This really should be Joe Biden’s moment in the sun! It makes sense that he doesn’t want to step down. He should be enjoying his victory lap! He wants to stay in it to win it and he could win it. In fact, for the sake of everyone in America, he has to win it.
THE BIG ISSUE FOR 2024
The reason Biden is supposed to hand over the car keys is that he is “too old”. But the Biden team is betting that age will not turn out to be the biggest issue in the next election. Biden and Trump are both old and both have glitches like being forgetful and having trouble walking down ramps. But that age issue pales in comparison to the looming nightmare that will dominate the coming election. The end of our democracy is the huge dark menace staring us in the face. Trump is not hiding the fact that if he wins he will rule as a dictator. If Americans vote for Trump we will literally be voting for the Joker for president; a corrupt, lawless man who will deconstruct our democracy and eliminate our freedoms. He will install permanent carnage and chaos while claiming the opposite is true.
If Trump wins, our democracy is over. Not figuratively. Really! Not only that, our country will then be run by a vindictive dictator who is out for revenge and already has a huge cast of sick, crazy, corrupt people ready to take power. (See Project 2025 if you doubt that.) Trump is now openly saying immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our nation” just as Hitler said. This is dictator talk. It is a tactic straight out of the autocrats’ playbook to scare people into voting the dictator into power. As often happens, people living in imperfect democracies vote in the dictator who deconstructs democracy. They don’t come to power in military coups anymore. Read Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s book, Strongmen, to learn more. In addition, Trump will not leave office. Not until they cart him out in a body bag. He will stay in power and ignore court rulings. If anyone objects or stands in his way, he will fire them and install a better loyalist.
HOW DOES BIDEN WIN?
Polls give you a snapshot of voter sentiment right now but they are bad at predicting the future. What we already know is that the 2024 election will be super close because it always is in recent history in our divided country.
Trump’s tactics might make him a hero in the eyes of his base, but the MAGA base is not big enough to get him elected. He has to woo Independent voters who make up 40% of the electorate to win the general election. It’s hard to believe more of those Independent voters like him more now than they did in 2020.
Biden has made the “soul of our nation” the central message of his presidency. Americans who don’t live in the Trump alternate universe who are fearful about losing our democracy and their rights to a wannabe dictator, including the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions, will trust that a vote for Biden will preserve their rights and freedoms. When push comes to shove and people must decide between two men they don’t like, Biden will do better than Trump.
Biden’s record is nothing short of amazingly good. It is one of the best for any president in the history of our country, but that information has not become common knowledge. Lately there have been some grudging concessions from Fox and the Wall Street Journal that the economy is booming. The Biden re-election campaign is just gearing up. Americans should begin to feel the good economic news at the pump and grocery store. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-economic-growth-accelerates-third-quarter-2023-10-26/
By many measures, the U.S. economy is rock solid. Friday’s employment report showed that employers added 199,000jobs in November and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7%. Inflation has plummeted in little over a year from a troubling 9.1% to 3.2% without causing a recession — a phenomenon that some once skeptical economists have dubbed “immaculate.” (AP)
The mainstream media is also starting to do a better job of warning Americans about Trump’s autocratic plan for America. CNN and NYT are highlighting Trump’s statements that smack of Hitler and they are doing more to expose listeners and readers to the idea that the GOP is an extremist cult promoting a would-be dictator.
One more thing- if Trump is on trial in Jack Smith’s case, (the coup plot to stay in power after losing the election of 2020), in the late spring or summer of 2024, Americans will be reminded of the stakes if Trump wins again. That would be just the right timing to get the attention of voters before the election of 2024.