Send not to know for whom the bell tolls (but in this case.......)
May 5, 2024 3:25 PM   Subscribe

What happens if a US presidential candidate dies? Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the two oldest candidates in US history. If either needs to be replaced, what next? from the Guardian

'....knowingly and willfully mailing or otherwise making "any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict great bodily harm upon the president of the United States" is a federal crime in the USA'. (Wiki). Needless to say, please keep this discussion legal.
posted by lalochezia (128 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are many who refer to Trump and "the cheeseburger from Heaven"... with hope in their voices.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on May 5 [16 favorites]


Biden is aleady 78% animatronic.
posted by biffa at 3:29 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


That article covers a lot about political parties having a fire drill, but ignores the simple answer: write ins.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:32 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


Trump already weekend at Bernie’s-ing it through his trial, complete with decay flatulence.
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]


A podcast I was listening to earlier today, can't remember which one, pointed out that Trump even as President would usually emerge around 11am. So this entire trial is well outside of just the regular sleep and function schedule he's had for years if not decades.

Trump is not used to being required to do anything. This trial will wear him down in a way he hasn't experienced in his life. It's his first criminal trial, which comes with requirements. Civil trials, he could blow off attending because different rules. And he's had a ton of those across the decades. But this is a criminal trial, and he's not prepared.
posted by hippybear at 3:57 PM on May 5 [48 favorites]


Remember the schedules they'd post that just said "He has many important phone calls and meetings"? It must be tiring as hell when the only thing getting you out of bed is spite and revenge.
posted by cmfletcher at 4:09 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


I’ve found myself thinking about the bizarre dynamic created by both parties’ best bet seemingly kind of being “their front-runner candidate dies of old age before November”
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:37 PM on May 5 [15 favorites]


Trump is not used to being required to do anything. This trial will wear him down in a way he hasn't experienced in his life. It's his first criminal trial, which comes with requirements. Civil trials, he could blow off attending because different rules. And he's had a ton of those across the decades. But this is a criminal trial, and he's not prepared.

I'm figuring that it's likely the only consequences he'll suffer from all of this, but at least it's something.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:38 PM on May 5 [15 favorites]


So, the electors are actual human beings. And actually discussing candidates before submitting ballots to the capital was a thing once upon a time. And the death of a candidate without a legislated and implemented procedure would free a state's electors to do whatever. The only real problem is that the actual human beings nominated as electors tend to, well, be awful human beings whose only claim to prominence is having taken part in funding their party.
posted by ocschwar at 4:41 PM on May 5 [8 favorites]


I suppose it makes sense, but it's still interesting to me that neither side has taken "A vote for Biden is a vote for Harris" as a slogan. I mean, Biden could easily live well past the length of his presidency, but how cool would it be if he resigned immediately after inauguration and handed the whole thing over as the first term of President Kamala Harris?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:50 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]


There are many who refer to Trump and "the cheeseburger from Heaven"... with hope in their voices.

I do wonder if Biden's public taunting might anger Shitler so much he might, you know ...

Worth a shot at least. He has a pitifully low tolerance for public ridicule, which only makes it sweeter.
posted by Ayn Marx at 4:55 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I mean, Biden could easily live well past the length of his presidency, but how cool would it be if he resigned immediately after inauguration and handed the whole thing over as the first term of President Kamala Harris?
The trouble with that is that Kamala is consistently less popular than Biden.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:55 PM on May 5 [28 favorites]


The trouble with that is that Kamala is consistently less popular than Biden.

That's why you only do it after the election. Then she's got 4 years as an incumbent going into the next election.

It would be nice to see the Democrats play hardball for a change.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:59 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


The trouble with that is that Kamala is consistently less popular than Biden.

Let’s not do the thing where we call female politicians by their first name but male politicians by their last, please.
posted by rhymedirective at 5:07 PM on May 5 [134 favorites]


Democrats HATE Harris. Not all the voter ones but for whatever reason the ones in DC and the ones with money think she's stupid as hell. I thought it was a race thing at first but these people wouldn't be caught being that publicly racist, it honestly might be that she went to USC Hastings for law school which in those circles is the equivalent of the University of Phoenix, so they think she slept her way to the top. Obama went to Harvard and Columbia so he was cool.
posted by kingdead at 5:07 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]


Democrats would do everything they could to make sure a fair election was held.
Republicans would block a candidate being added, and throw out every write in.

No doubt about it.

Remember that time they stole an election based on “chads?” Remember the time they didn’t allow Obama a Supreme Court pick? Remember the time they attacked the capitol during to disrupt the election?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 5:14 PM on May 5 [66 favorites]


Democrats HATE Harris.

And Republicans, particularly the ones in DC, really HATE Trump. So? An incumbent president is as incumbent president, no matter how you personally feel about them.

A 2028 election between an 82 year old Trump and 64 year old Harris would be a beautiful thing.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:39 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


"but how cool would it be if he resigned immediately after inauguration and handed the whole thing over as the first term of President Kamala Harris?"

We can agree to disagree.
posted by kbanas at 5:49 PM on May 5 [21 favorites]


Yeah, being VP, I know nothing about Harris, except she was a prosecutor.

Maybe she would be the Dems dream, but, who knows?
posted by Windopaene at 5:55 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I don't hate Harris, and I am a Democrat.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:14 PM on May 5 [25 favorites]


(And we gotta get a first female president in there somehow, I don't hate that scenario)
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:15 PM on May 5 [13 favorites]


Funny how women just can't ever quite get it right ... I wonder why that is.
posted by Dashy at 6:15 PM on May 5 [42 favorites]


Maybe Harris needs to smile more. (*eyeroll*)
posted by SPrintF at 6:35 PM on May 5 [11 favorites]


Harris was a prosecutor who violated court orders to release nonviolent offenders due to life threatening levels of overcrowding, on the grounds it would reduce the state's supply of "prison labor". She denied trans inmates gender affirming care. She spent years contesting a court order to release a wrongfully convicted man because he had waited too long to file his petition. He was facing a life sentence due to the "Three Strikes" law. She appealed a judicial decision that declared capital punishment unconstitutional.And she prosecuted the parents of truant students. She refused to have her office investigate certain killing by the police lest it anger the police force.

The problem isn't that she doesn't smile enough.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:56 PM on May 5 [107 favorites]


In the fantasy world in which Harris could be swapped out for a different VP... who would you rather see in that role?
posted by hippybear at 7:02 PM on May 5


I'd take Katie Porter.
posted by hippybear at 7:02 PM on May 5 [29 favorites]


Porter is great. Tammy Duckworth has always seemed like a genuinely admirable politician. I supported Elizabeth Warren in 2020, but she is 74 years old, which doesn't put her much ahead of Biden.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:07 PM on May 5 [17 favorites]


In the fantasy world in which Harris could be swapped out for a different VP... who would you rather see in that role?

Taylor Swift.

Duh.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:08 PM on May 5 [13 favorites]


I'm a dummy. I forgot Duckworth wasn't born in the US. That's a dumb rule anyway.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:10 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


...but ignores the simple answer: write ins.

Not every state allows write-ins. I’m not even sure a majority do.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:15 PM on May 5


There are only 9 that don't, although others have varying restrictions on which write ins will be counted.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:20 PM on May 5


Maybe Harris needs to smile more.

Maybe. But her history prior to being VP is weighed down by a lot of baggage, not least of which involves her problematic defense of corporations and wealthy Americans. She even let Mnuchin free, and look how much damage that guy got to do under Trump. Not a whole lot to smile about. It's fine that she is VP, but I have no doubts about whose interests she would place over those of everyday people, if she was President.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:29 PM on May 5 [26 favorites]


Taylor Swift.

Duh.


If the right persons backed the push come to shove when the time was right, President Swift could become reality more easily than some dumb shit that I've actually seen happen.
posted by ovvl at 7:32 PM on May 5 [7 favorites]


I'm a dummy. I forgot Duckworth wasn't born in the US. That's a dumb rule anyway.

By virtue of her father being a US Citizen, she's regarded as a natural born citizen. The rule for POTUS is you have to be born a citizen, as opposed to naturalized (why we couldn't, from a legal perspective, have a President Schwarzenegger). This is similar to John McCain, who was born to US citizen parents in the Panama Channel Zone.
posted by MrGuilt at 7:32 PM on May 5 [26 favorites]


And onetime GOP primary loser Ted Cruz, born in Canada to U.S. citizen parents.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:53 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


I have no substantive critique of Joe Biden to offer so I'd like to make sure everyone knows that he is old.

In passing, does anyone else think that Kamala Harris just... isn't quite presidential material? Not, I hasten to add, because of that thing, or uh the other thing. You know. Right?
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:53 PM on May 5 [11 favorites]


I have no substantive critique of Joe Biden to offer

Really?
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:58 PM on May 5 [8 favorites]


> I suppose it makes sense, but it's still interesting to me that neither side has taken "A vote for Biden is a vote for Harris" as a slogan.

When I'm in the car, I occasionally check in on my local conservative talk radio, just so I know what sort of nonsense to expect from my acquaintances who take it seriously. You are incorrect that no one is using this slogan — assuming you don't mean the trivial detail of referring to Madame Harris without using her job title or her family name.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:14 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


defense of corporations and wealthy Americans

I don't know - if anything this makes her seem a bit overqualified to be at the top of a Democratic Party ticket.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:16 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Oh please...

What has Harris ever done that you think is a great look for Democratic ideals? All I know is as mentioned upthread, What she she has done has been pretty shitty.

I voted for Clinton. I voted For Mondale/Ferraro. I voted for Obama. I voted for Warren. So that takes care of the racism and misogyny, right? Maybe America didn't, for reasons, but not all of those who don't think she is awesome are bad. There are reasons why people don't support certain candidates. If it were Harris vs. Trump? Yeah, I would vote for her. But the broad brush you are using seems weak.
posted by Windopaene at 8:18 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


i am a Democrat (at least, when i vote) and i don't hate Kamala Harris. i don't like her much, but i would be stoked to have a black woman president in my lifetime. and yes, i have met her in person. that and her tendency towards conservative decisions is what i base my dislike upon.

and yes, i think she is presidential, with all the caveats and baggage that role includes. she is a total hardass, and would gladly be up before dawn, gettin' the work done. for the most part, her focus would be on administrating -- which is what a president should do, rather than being a well-liked celebrity. or the ruler of the world.

and in my fantasy world, Barbara Lee would be president.
posted by lapolla at 8:22 PM on May 5 [19 favorites]


I suppose it makes sense, but it's still interesting to me that neither side has taken "A vote for Biden is a vote for Harris" as a slogan.

I've been pondering that: aside from the fact Trump hasn't named a VP candidate, you would think this would be a major talking point and column-inch-filler. I think it comes down to a sort of Mutual Assured Destruction. Saying "Biden is so old he may die" may have many voters also thinking "same is true of Trump." It wouldn't take much to increase their numbers.

It probably doesn't help that Trump's short list is embarrassing, limited appeal beyond MAGA (and, frankly, I don't think any of them would sustain that absent Trump). Once you start saying "a vote for Biden is a vote for Harris," it invites comparing VP candidates. For the GOP, that may be problematic.
posted by MrGuilt at 8:32 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Whatever else, Harris isn't Pence. She isn't Palin.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:18 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]


I know enough about Harris to know she's a politician, not an idealist. She's not Katie Porter or even Sheldon Whitehouse. But she's also not Donald effing Trump: she's, frankly, a mainstream Democratic politician, with all that comes with it.

And she's bound to be better than whatever clusterfuck TFG picks as his running mate.
posted by suelac at 10:24 PM on May 5 [19 favorites]


Putting the Harris discussion in perspective, we seem to be at a point in American discourse when one of Trump's prospective running mates actually gets to suggest out loud that a Secret Service dog should be killed, and she still doesn't get interviewed as the violent stochastic terrorist threat that she (and her boss) openly represents. So I would put criticisms of the vice president, my own included, in light of the existential threat that Republicans pose to public safety.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:44 PM on May 5 [10 favorites]


I long ago resigned myself to the fact that anyone who's actually capable of getting elected POTUS or even securing a major-party nomination is going to be at least a little bit terrible in some ways, possibly even a lot of ways. Yes, that includes Dem candidates.

But our FPTP electoral system ain't going away anytime soon, and given where the GOP is intent on taking the US, unless you're an accelerationist – which is to say, an asshole and/or a fool – the Dems are basically the only game in town. I'll vote for whoever their candidate is, and hope their particular degree of terribleness is low enough to limit the damage to the party, and our Republic, until such time as a realistically better alternative emerges. (Shit, a man can dream.)
posted by non canadian guy at 11:00 PM on May 5 [20 favorites]


>does anyone else think

in our system we can't judge candidates for office on any absolute scale, only one relative to the most likely candidate to take the office if we don't vote at all
posted by torokunai at 11:17 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Mod note: One removed. It's fine to discuss age as a factor in a presidential race, but not to use hateful language, refer to people as monstrous or less than human etc. because of their age. Please remember that ageism, like other forms of prejudice, leads to real human rights abuses. Thank you.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:29 PM on May 5 [23 favorites]


Well, yes, but we're going to keep having arguments if people keep throwing their hands up in bewilderment like they can't possibly imagine why someone wouldn't love Harris.

Like, anyone who cares about the problems with the justice system, trans people, etc, is going to have a least a couple of criticisms. "She was just doing her job" isn't the magical pass that some seem to think it is, whether she's miles better than Trump or not.

That doesn't erase her sins, they just pale in comparison.
posted by Audreynachrome at 11:30 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


My theory today is that if any of the current candidates are incapacitated before jan 6 next year, the US Supreme Court will figure out some (other) way to overturn democracy. Maybe tomorrow I will be more optimistic about the future.
posted by mumimor at 11:37 PM on May 5 [16 favorites]


RE: Kamala Harris- she's a part of the Nob Hill Gang, a protege of Willie Brown (and a contemporary of Gavin Newsom)...

Which is to say she cut her teeth first in San Francisco machine politics, which aren't (quite) as dirty as Chicago politics but does involve a lot of pretending to be everything to everyone while secretly satisfying the real elites. So I'd categorize her as a neoliberal of the first order with a healthy trimming of equity & inclusion, but fundamentally a technocrat who is not going to rock the present status quo if she can help it.

She cut a deal with Biden to tamp down progressives in CA (much as Buttigeg did) and has been sidelined and quieted ever since. She might not be purely under house arrest at Foggy Bottom, but she's a minor office in the overall scheme of the present cabinet.

When she gets out in front as a candidate, I suspect she'll falter- combining the elitism and lack of empathy of Hilary Clinton with the caution of Obama, rousing both the misogyny and the racism of this nation in a terrible combination.

A Harris v. Trump matchup would be one that would give Trump the best odds he could get in 2024.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 2:18 AM on May 6 [22 favorites]


if any of the current candidates are incapacitated before jan 6 next year, the US Supreme Court will figure out some (other) way to overturn democracy.

I keep hoping, should something happen, it happens cleanly on one side of the process or the other. At the far end, that would be well after the inauguration.

I’d say the low end should be well ahead of the conventions. But even that is problematic. The Ohio GOP is trying to use some timing issues to keep Biden off the ballot should they move forward with the current timeline. I’ve heard of this in other states. If the nominee needs to be decided at the convention, it makes any sort of “provisional” deal that much more challenging.

I almost think we’d be better off having the president decided by a drunken lobster than the current system. Too much potential for shenanigans.
posted by MrGuilt at 5:14 AM on May 6


Well, yes, but we're going to keep having arguments if people keep throwing their hands up in bewilderment like they can't possibly imagine why someone wouldn't love Harris.


I missed that in this thread, was something deleted?

Personally, I said I don't hate her, and I don't, in response to an emphatic assertion that Democrats HATE her.

I don't like prosecutors in general, and her previous track record as one does have some hateful doozies, as listed above. But what I've seen since she's been in office is a complete disregard/discounting for any good thing she has ever said or done during her term. Even while Biden has been given credit for some of the same things she has supported/spoken about. The media definitely seems to forget she exists. The first female Vice President and its like she's a ghost. 🤔
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:15 AM on May 6 [11 favorites]


The media definitely seems to forget she exists. The first female Vice President and its like she's a ghost.

She's been boring, which isn't a bad strategy for a V.P. Being a boring Vice President was part of Biden's path to the oval office.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:45 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


One problem with this article is that Trump is going to live forever.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:47 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


i would be stoked to have a black woman president in my lifetime

She's half Indian, one quarter Irish, and one quarter African. I know she embraces being known as "black" in the United States, but I'm really looking forward to the U.S getting past the one-drop rule.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:52 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


The media definitely seems to forget she exists. The first female Vice President and its like she's a ghost.

She's been boring,


I rather think that it's people around her that hate her. There was an article a couple months after being in office about how she was being stymied at every turn, the resentment of a woman being in the role. We'll never know what's true, but some things feel true whether they are or not. Of course I cannot find this now and am summarizing it poorly. I remember it was literally things she was trying to get done being ignored, calls unanswered, petty shit.

I guess what I'm trying to say is a lot of the criticism (not here) feels very familiar and without a ton of substance. I feel like I'm being vague too so that's all I'll say. Maybe another cup of coffee is needed. Please don't eviscerate me.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:54 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


"Why Trump Should Simply Be Awarded The Vacant Presidency Instead of Harris" comes flying out of the New York Times Pitchbot account immediately, dozens of times per second and increasingly in all caps.
posted by delfin at 6:11 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


There's probably going to be destabilizing conspiracy theories.
posted by Selena777 at 6:15 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Oh, when Trump goes, the undercurrent of "The Deep State Obamas Alphabet Agencies WEF Soros Illuminati Clinton Death Squad Reverse Vampires knew they couldn't stop him at the polls legitimately, so they TOOK HIM OUT once and for all" will go on for years. It doesn't matter how he passes. He could blow himself up with C4 on 5th Avenue, explaining to the cameramen first why he was doing it and how it was completely his own choice to do so, and Rand Paul would insist on the Senate floor that Dr. Fauci caused it with mind control nanobots injected via the 'vaccines.'
posted by delfin at 6:20 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Whatever your thoughts about Harris, supposed tempting GOP vice-presidential pick Kristi Noem did exactly what I hoped she'd do — not only doubling down on MY DOG SUCKED AND WAS SUPER EASY TO KILL, but also couldn't resist drawing comparisons to Biden and his bitey German Shepherd, Commander.
posted by emelenjr at 6:39 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


> What happens if a US presidential candidate dies?

Rejoicing. That's the answer.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:43 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


The article overlooked that Obama's original senate opponent dropped out and was replaced by Alan Keyes (in a move I have never figured out--was the Illinois Republican Party just giving up? desperate to find a black Republican? Just dumb?).
posted by hoyland at 6:50 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


There was a big scandal involving information that came out in Jack Ryan's divorce from Jeri Ryan. It came out because Jeri Ryan had become famous on ST: Voyager.

There is a real possibility we don't get the Obama or Biden presidencies if Voyager isn't greenlit.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:00 AM on May 6 [22 favorites]


supposed tempting GOP vice-presidential pick Kristi Noem

I don’t think she was ever all that interesting to begin with. Her appeal is to rural voters, a demographic that Trump already owns. Raising the suburban numbers or even trying to find urban voters for Trump seems like a much higher priority for them.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:05 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


My far-from-best-but-most-interesting scenario would be something where BOTH Biden and Trump exit the process sometime around September. Both nominations were set, but whether from health-related, age-related or trial-related reasons, both nominees are now out.

What do they do THEN?

Do the parties bump the Veep nominees up to the top slot and have each select a new Veep, and continue to November as originally planned? Would or could sufficient outcry for a full primary do-over make any headway against Constitutionally-imposed deadlines for Presidential elections? If President Harris served as a caretaker while the above was sorted out, would the veins on the foreheads of Fox News hosts finally burst and cover the camera with arterial blood during each broadcast?
posted by delfin at 7:13 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]



My far-from-best-but-most-interesting scenario would be something where BOTH Biden and Trump exit the process sometime around September


funnily enough, there is an article outlining what is Meant To Happen in all of these cases at the top of this page, nominally the purpose of the FPP.
posted by lalochezia at 7:21 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Indeed! An article that states clearly "no one knows for certain, it's all hypothetical, there is no one set path, and however it happens will be messy and complicated."
posted by delfin at 7:24 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


There was a big scandal involving information that came out in Jack Ryan's divorce from Jeri Ryan. It came out because Jeri Ryan had become famous on ST: Voyager.

And the kicker there is that walking away from the marriage with 20 million in Berkshire/Hathaway stock, she didn't need the work. She wanted the work.
posted by mikelieman at 7:33 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Maybe. But her history prior to being VP is weighed down by a lot of baggage, not least of which involves her problematic defense of corporations and wealthy Americans. She even let Mnuchin free, and look how much damage that guy got to do under Trump. Not a whole lot to smile about. It's fine that she is VP, but I have no doubts about whose interests she would place over those of everyday people, if she was President.

my understanding is that her history prior to being VP is weighed down by a lot of baggage, not least of which involves her problematic defense of corporations and wealthy Americans. She even let Mnuchin free, and look how much damage that guy got to do under Trump. Not a whole lot to smile about. It's fine that she is VP, but I have no doubts about whose interests she would place over those of everyday people, if she was President.

These two comments, made half an hour apart but taken together, seem... I'm not sure how to finish this sentence.
posted by box at 7:58 AM on May 6 [27 favorites]


so in the united states the standard path to political office is through getting a law degree. there are exceptions, of course — people often get to high office through being in business, or through military service or through becoming an astronaut or whatever — but if your goal is to get to high political office in the u.s., your least-unreliable play is to get yourself a law degree.

this hasn’t been the standard path everywhere always. for example, in the old u.s.s.r., that wretched gerontocracy run by shambling wrecks who no one liked and who held as their only political principle the belief that order must prevail, in that place the most reliable play for people who sought high office was to get an engineering degree.

i’m bringing this up because i am wholeheartedly in favor of establishing a politico-cultural environment wherein the most reliable path to high political office is through achieving great success as an actor or musician. i say this even though the first american to reach the presidency through success as an actor led a hard-right revolution the aftermath of which we will likely never recover from.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 8:37 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


also i say this even though it was bean dad’s attempted path to political office.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 8:38 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


i’m bringing this up because i am wholeheartedly in favor of establishing a politico-cultural environment wherein the most reliable path to high political office is through achieving great success as an actor or musician. i say this even though the first american to reach the presidency through success as an actor led a hard-right revolution the aftermath of which we will likely never recover from.

(starts paying dramatically more attention to the Kendrick Lamar - Drake diss track beef war)
posted by delfin at 8:42 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


And in many places, Black folks, especially Black women, have sought employment in the public sector, where anti-discrimination laws are actually enforced, to get around the good old boys network that controls most private sector jobs. Which, combined with the law degree thing, means a lot of our Black women politicians worked as prosecutors.

(I use capital letters and have no take on the Lamar-Drake beef)
posted by hydropsyche at 8:43 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


And in many places, Black folks, especially Black women, have sought employment in the public sector, where anti-discrimination laws are actually enforced, to get around the good old boys network that controls most private sector jobs. Which, combined with the law degree thing, means a lot of our Black women politicians worked as prosecutors.

That’s some catch, that Catch-22.
posted by non canadian guy at 8:52 AM on May 6 [12 favorites]


i’m bringing this up because i am wholeheartedly in favor of establishing a politico-cultural environment wherein the most reliable path to high political office is through achieving great success as an actor or musician. i say this even though the first american to reach the presidency through success as an actor led a hard-right revolution the aftermath of which we will likely never recover from.

*aghast face*
posted by Selena777 at 8:53 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]



i’m bringing this up because i am wholeheartedly in favor of establishing a politico-cultural environment wherein the most reliable path to high political office is through achieving great success as an actor or musician.


That's been tried - California. It's....not great.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:20 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


Although arguably no worse than the lawyer path.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:36 AM on May 6


the correct method is to select officeholders by lottery with the entire populace in the pool selected from, but if we must use electoral methods

important obligatory note: elections are fundamentally antidemocratic, since one must be in some way notable to win an election, and this constraint is entirely bad — note that the word “nobility” is derived from the latin for “notable.”

anyway, if we must use electoral methods, which are fundamentally anti-democratic, selecting from people successful in the arts (and i’d add people successful in sports as well) is not a terrible strategy.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:58 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Democracy (noun): a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

I've read that the great failure of modern American culture is thinking athletes and actors are important, and don't disagree.

Tommy Tuberville, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all pretty good examples of why arts/sports excellence don't lead to great political outcomes.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:44 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


H.L. Mencken had our number.
posted by torokunai at 10:47 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Tommy Tuberville, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

In my head (but probably not in reality), you chose Clint Eastwood, mayor of a city of 3,000 people twenty years ago, over House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan, just to fuck with Jim Jordan, and I am completely here for that.
posted by box at 10:54 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Dunno if covering up sex crimes in sports really counts as a major career.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Excellence may be narrow, but terribleness seems to have broad application.
posted by mazola at 11:09 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


All happy polities are alike; each unhappy polity is unhappy in its own way.
posted by torokunai at 11:19 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


> citing a dictionary definition from a modern dictionary instead of doing an analysis of how the term has been used over time

yeah nah the idea that democracy and elections are compatible dates to the enlightenment period and is (like so much else from that period) a weird mistake.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 11:41 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Democrats would do everything they could to make sure a fair election was held.

San Francisco and Chicago machine politics got a mention upthread, but I'd like to highlight the following from the Brooklyn Democratic machine:

"More recently, the party has faced allegations of forging ballot petition signatures, signing up people as candidates for county committee seats without their consent, and appointing dead people to empty party posts."

God help us if the scenarios outlined in the FPP come into play. They would force us to examine the inner workings of our electoral infrastructure, which are held together with spit and string.

It would be like one of those computer repair videos in which someone pries the lid off of a tower packed tight with decades of nicotine, decay, and dust. Only after the reveal, we'd get to watch the clogged machine navigate an unprecedented historical scenario and attempt to select the next president of the United States.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:47 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


God help us if the scenarios outlined in the FPP come into play. They would force us to examine the inner workings of our electoral infrastructure, which are held together with spit and string.

One of the things that Trump has been able to game pretty well and will be much more skilled at it in a second term is that much of what going on in our governance is not dictated by any laws but instead is held together as standards and practices that have always been followed but never spelled out explicitly. This also holds true for much of our election infrastructure.
posted by hippybear at 12:11 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


The process of erosion is just that much further underway. Literally nothing has been done to shore anything up in the meantime.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Literally nothing has been done to shore anything up in the meantime.

Well, this isn't true. Congress has passed into law revisions to the process of certifying the electoral count, backstops to protect same sex and interracial marriage, and to make it impossible to withdraw from NATO by degree. I'm sure they've done some other things, too. But that I can think of those three just off the top of my head does indicate they've been taking measures to plug some of the holes and turn norms into legal matters.
posted by hippybear at 12:23 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Okay, fine: nothing even remotely sufficient has been done.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


"I suppose it makes sense, but it's still interesting to me that neither side has taken "A vote for Biden is a vote for Harris" as a slogan."


I'm surprised the Republicans haven't made that point. Yet.

"I mean, Biden could easily live well past the length of his presidency, but how cool^W nightmarish would it be if he resigned immediately after inauguration and handed the whole thing over as the first term of President Kamala Harris?"

FTFY.

I'm gaming the situations of a)Biden's post-nomination incapacity and b)Trump's post-nomination conviction, individually and concurrently.

Gonna be fun.
posted by MarcWolfe at 12:52 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


She's been boring, which isn't a bad strategy for a V.P. Being a boring Vice President was part of Biden's path to the oval office.

I don’t remember Biden being boring. I remember Biden acting as a stalking horse and a contrarian for the Obama administration. His longevity and relationships made that possible. Harris doesn’t have those so she can’t be positioned in the same way.
posted by bq at 1:09 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Biden's post-nomination incapacity

The average person of Biden’s age will die at 89. Don’t hold your breath.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:15 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised the Republicans haven't made that point. Yet.

I think that is so huge of an issue with the Trump voters that the campaign doesn't need to even mention it. That said, that is basically what the "Biden is OLD" means on the Republican side.

Trumpism is all about the racism. I can't think of any other issue that is as important. Yet they don't speak that much about it. I don't think they are scared of saying the quiet parts out loud, they wave confederate flags at all the rallies. It's just an implicit given. They are there because of the racism.

Their talking points are about making truth into lies and lies into truth, about making everyone doubt the value of democratic institutions including the courts and the entire education system. But that's because they can't do their racism in a contemporary democracy. They need the autocracy in order to establish white supremacy. (And all the other stuff. I think after racism comes the cruelty and only after that control of women's bodies, assault weapons for all and burning coal. But these things are all entwined).
posted by mumimor at 1:17 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Tommy Tuberville, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all pretty good examples of why arts/sports excellence don't lead to great political outcomes.

As a Minnesotan, I can think of a couple counter-examples, both of whom were wrestlers. Although in one case the “great” political outcome was simply being a lot less awful than everyone expected.
posted by nickmark at 2:37 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


The Rock is going to be a HUGE asshole if he ever does the pivot to politics he’s been semi-hinting at, I guarantee it.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Suggestion: Perhaps read up on all the responsibilities VP Harris has undertaken as VP, and more of her bio, before commenting on her.

I'm a 60ish white woman, and I have lived through so many white politicians who werent "presidential" material, including several white males who were president. (And I won't even go into Congress, state politicians or the current SCOTUS.)

And yet here I am reading again how a much more qualified Black woman just doesnt quite have it.

Vice President Harris, like Obama, had exposure to multiple cultures from a young age. She lived in India some summers, and Quebec in HS, as well as DC and several states. This gives her insight into diverse people and cultures.

I think it's great she didn't go to an Ivy.

She has been an outstanding advocate for LGBTQ and women's rights. She's been traveling the country speaking about reproductive rights, and traveling the world representing the country.

As a senator, she stood up to Barr, Sessions an kavanaugh at hearings. (Tell me a law that governs the nake body.)

Her commemoration of enslaved people's African prison, the last place they touched home soil before being shipped to the US, was moving in a way no other politician could represent.

She's smart and a bad ass. But one of the Fox-type criticisms of her is she laughs too much, as Hillary Clinton had also been criticized. Cause God knows, we don't want anyone who has experienced being a second hand citizen but still finds joy and love in life to actually be in charge.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:31 PM on May 6 [23 favorites]


The Rock has already publicly stated that he won't endorse either candidate this year, and that endorsing Biden in 2020:
"Because what I realized, what that caused back then, was something that tears me up in my guts back then and now, which is division. And that got me.”

Johnson continued, “The takeaway after that, after months and months and months, I started to realize, like, ‘Oh man, that caused an incredible amount of division in our country.’ So I realize now going into this election, I’m not going to do that,” he continued. “I wouldn’t do that, because my goal is to bring our country together. I believe in that, in my DNA. So in the spirit of that, there’s going to be no endorsement.”
So, already a huge asshole. Also a wuss.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:37 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


The “neither right nor left”, ie “right”.
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on May 6 [11 favorites]


No real opinion on Harris one way or another: not a fan, but she'd do at least okay.

But if Trump kicks it before November, we're fucked. Biden is unpopular enough and America's electoral college shitty enough that we'd get a Normal Republican and they'd win in a landslide.
posted by outgrown_hobnail at 3:46 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


But are there any normal Republicans any longer? Like Romney is going to come roaring back?
posted by kerf at 3:55 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


Anyone who has listened to The Focus Group Podcast knows that voters have the "vote for Biden = vote for Harris" firmly in their mind. They are the ones who bring it up in the discussion. I don't know why people think this isn't something that is being said on the Right, because it is being said in casual political discussion amongst voters.
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Republicans aren't running against Harris because Biden has a horrible approval rating, especially among their base. Why, after a pretty successful attempt to brand Biden as a doddering octogenarian, would you then campaign on the message that a vote for him doesn't mean you're stuck with him?

On Biden resigning: Presidents gain legitimacy by winning elections.

Even if you love Harris, the political firestorm she'd land in if Biden resigned (as opposed to died) soon after the election to give her the presidency would put the country in a mess. She'd wouldn't have even come close to winning a primary. Handing the reins to Harris just because it'd be awesome would be an actual fraud perpetrated on voters, and the first year of the presidency would be a series of "what did she know and when did she know it?" investigations by Congress and the press.

She'd be trying to deal with the same political constraints as Biden, only with a weaker hand. It's a good setup to not even get the party nomination in '28.
posted by mark k at 4:45 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Presidents gain legitimacy by winning elections.

QFT. Look at the chaos happening in the UK right now because they've cycled through several Tory party leaders without an election, and that's how we got Liz Truss and subsequently Richie Sunak who is so famously unpopular that they might call an early general election.

Things don't work that way here, really, where we vote for people rather than a party, but having Harriss come into power through a resignation would probably be ruinous. I'd assume if it were by Biden dying, the national sympathy for the death of the President would carry her into office with a lot of grace to begin with. But a resignation... that would feel like a bait-and-switch to the general populace.
posted by hippybear at 4:53 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


in our system we can't judge candidates for office on any absolute scale, only one relative to the most likely candidate to take the office if we don't vote at all
posted by torokunai


'Twas always thus in any electoral system, and thus shall always be.

The desire, indeed demand, for a perfect candidate and policy suite is one of the main reasons many democracies are struggling of late.

These candidates and policies don't exist, people, never have, and never will. There is no Golden Age, past or future. Stop with the magical thinking and get on with making the hard compromise soaked choices from the options that are all the real world does and ever will actually offer.

the correct method is to select officeholders by lottery with the entire populace in the pool selected from, but if we must use electoral methods

important obligatory note: elections are fundamentally antidemocratic, since one must be in some way notable to win an election, and this constraint is entirely bad — note that the word “nobility” is derived from the latin for “notable.”
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements


Not a fan of strict sortition. Pure randomness has its dangers too. At the very least there would need to be some kind of test for a minimum standard of competence and probity, and process for dismissal when required before their term is up. Though how to do that is a whole set of problems on its own.

But there might be an argument for trying a hybrid system, where the candidates are chosen by some form of sortition, and then a standard democratic vote is held to choose from among them. Or maybe vice-versa.

No real opinion on Harris one way or another: not a fan, but she'd do at least okay.
posted by outgrown_hobnail


Not exactly a fan of Harris. But neither would I feel overly concerned or threatened by President Harris.

Though if Biden is going to leave the job, for whatever reason, and open up the vacancy then he needs to wait until after the inauguration (assuming he wins, of course). Preferably at least a year after.

Otherwise just too much opportunity for Repub jiggery-fuckery.
posted by Pouteria at 5:30 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Harris is comically underestimated in certain quarters. She has never loss an election in her meteoric rise (and, yes, her 2020 primary campaign for President won what she was actually running for, the Vice Presidential nomination) and is vastly more likely to become President than any other Democrat. If Biden were to die or become disabled before the Electors meet she is 99% likely to be elevated to the Presidential nomination and (if after the Electors meet) becomes President automatically. I’d put a very large amount of money on her at only modestly favorable odds to be the nominee in 2028. Her former staff who complain about her are inconsequential irritants of the ilk that afflict every successful person.
posted by MattD at 5:44 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


I think there are two things going on in this thread (or more). Fantasy stuff like Biden suddenly resigning after being reelected is perhaps fun, both not serious. We all deal with our political anxiety in different ways.

The other discussion is about how the Republican voters see the Biden-Harris ticket, and I've heard enough to know that they are are possessed by an irrational fear and complete detachment from reality, and that it is founded in their visceral fear of a minority-majority US. It's a mass psychosis and it has been growing for decades, long before Trump.

All of the Republicans I've seen interviewed talk about their fear. They talk about the country going under and the loss of Democracy, the same things we talk about in this leftist bubble. They use the same words. But they mean something completely different. When they talk about voter fraud and election interference, they seriously mean that since Black people are voting something must be wrong. When they talk about the politicization of the judicial system, they honestly mean they find it scary to see Black and Latino people as prosecutors and judges. And this is not organic -- it is because of relentless rightwing propaganda since forever.

Don't even get me started on how control over women and their/our bodies fit into this.

And sometimes, some of us white people on the left fall into the traps the demagogues that are driving this lay out for us. The whole White Working Class Voter thing, man...

In that vein, though I do agree with some of the criticism of Kamala Harris' past doings, and there were fair reasons she didn't get further in the primaries, I also clearly remember her at the Kavanaugh hearings -- she was fierce. She is a very smart, accomplished woman and she will be a great president if she gets there. Hopefully in 2028.
posted by mumimor at 5:55 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


I've seen a lot of criticism here so far of Harris' time as a prosecutor, much less if any of her time as a Senator. GovTrack.US ranked her as solidly progressive scores for each of her years in the Senate -- always among the 10 most left-leaning senators, and indeed the most progressive of all in 2019. I realize that this isn't the sum total of who she is; perhaps the same could be true of her time as a prosecutor?
posted by senor biggles at 6:10 PM on May 6 [11 favorites]


I've seen a lot of criticism here so far of Harris' time as a prosecutor, much less if any of her time as a Senator. GovTrack.US ranked her as solidly progressive scores for each of her years in the Senate -- always among the 10 most left-leaning senators, and indeed the most progressive of all in 2019. I realize that this isn't the sum total of who she is; perhaps the same could be true of her time as a prosecutor?

Oh, indeed. The people who are cherry-picking Harris' prosecutorial record to make her sound like a monster in this thread have cherry-picked Biden's record to the same end in other threads.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:42 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


There is a strange small contingent of counter-factual political commenters here in MetaFilter. I don't know exactly how deeply that needs to be examined, but maybe it should be quite deeply.
posted by hippybear at 6:47 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


LOL and LMAO. Democrat fandom, quite the drug.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Or... some of us just don't understand how some of these things seem so quickly forgotten and forgiven.

Like, I haven't forgiven an awful lot of normal people over 50 for like, just existing in a society where gay-bashing was a public sport and apparently mostly being fine with it? Chatting with cops and presumably going on dates and socialising with the same men they knew were doing it? I don't understand how I'm supposed to process that, how many people claim that they didn't know, still don't believe.

So holding actual elected politicians responsible for their choices some time afterwards does not bother me at all. I'm not aware of any great general forgiving by trans women of Harris for how she treated trans women, not in any of my social circles. It seems particularly odd that so many cis people feel comfortable forgiving her for it on our part.
posted by Audreynachrome at 7:05 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


Like, I haven't forgiven an awful lot of normal people over 50 for like, just existing in a society where gay-bashing was a public sport and apparently mostly being fine with it?

I've lived through this, being 56 years old... chased through parking lots by men with baseball bats as sport, bottles thrown at me for walking out of THAT bar on the way to my car...

Also, I haven't forgiven the society in which I emerged as a 20-something gay and was meeting 40 year old gay men who had gotten married and had children and the entire time was miserable because that's what society expected of them... and the number of them who broke up their families striving to be true to themselves and find happiness is a not fully overlapping Venn Diagram with the number of them who killed themselves. That's not even counting the claim that AIDS took on the community.

I still try to describe the gay bashing days to people and they stare at me in disbelief, like I'm describing the plot of a bad television movie. I don't know how how get people to understand this.

Matthew Shepard is a Patron Saint in my life. I should make candles.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on May 6 [11 favorites]


Like, there were Eighties comedies where chasing gay men with a baseball bat is treated as a comedy beat. I wish I could remember which one, but it fucked me up and I didn't even know I was gay when I saw it.

I will step away for the night now. This is a major trauma point for me, and the way it was so casually regarded up until Matthew was hung on that fence to die, like RIGHT UP UNTIL HE WAS DISCOVERED... It's like an Emmitt Till moment. Burned into my brain, and it changed the country. And it should never have gotten that far, but it was allowed to BECAUSE IT WAS REGARDED AS SPORT. Just like Emmitt Till. And it doesn't end. I continue to be regarded as sport prey by people I meet sometimes. And I've had people in my town of 10,000 tell me they know my partner and I are two local faggots. And maybe I need to buy a shotgun before this election because whether Trump wins or loses they're probably coming for us.

I guess that's enough of a glimpse into my mindset for now.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


My #1 concern about VP Harris is when, in an event at the Commonwealth Club shortly after the inauguration, she mentioned that Washingtonians use all kinds of crazy acronyms you have to learn. Her example was “F.A.Q.” (pronounced with the periods).
posted by Orthodox Humanoid at 7:51 PM on May 6


in her meteoric rise

There are good things you can say about Harris, but meteoric doesn't apply. Her age when elected to the senate (53) and her career before that are both pretty average in terms of pacing.
posted by mark k at 11:11 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah average age for being elected to a first term in the Senate is, what, mid to late 50s? The House is a different story with first-termers regularly being in their 30s and 40s.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 PM on May 6


i say this even though the first american to reach the presidency through success as an actor led a hard-right revolution the aftermath of which we will likely never recover from.

And he was president of SAG for fucks sake.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


And in many places, Black folks, especially Black women, have sought employment in the public sector, where anti-discrimination laws are actually enforced, to get around the good old boys network that controls most private sector jobs. Which, combined with the law degree thing, means a lot of our Black women politicians worked as prosecutors.

you do know public defenders offices both exist and are almost always hiring, right?

Nobody is taking a job as a prosecutor because it's all they can get. They take it for one of three reasons, all terrible. (1) they really believe putting people in cages makes people more safe (2) they want to use it as a stepping stone to political office (3) they want to signal they are One Of The Good Ones, and are going to be a safe racial choice, not making any waves, not like those hothead do-gooder public defenders.
posted by corb at 10:12 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Her initial record does indeed seem to be that way but I can choose to see some positive in her later years as a prosecutor.

Harris has also long sounded explicitly reformist notes, advocating, in her book “Smart on Crime,” from 2009, for a “criminal justice system that gets truly tough on crime by being Smart on Crime.” Harris urged prosecutors to “go after the worst criminals” but to redirect defendants accused of lower-level offenses and at-risk young people toward programs for reintegration and crime prevention. In that vein, she has touted the Back on Track program that she implemented as San Francisco’s D.A., allowing young-adult first-time drug offenders to go to an education program instead of prison, and her initiation, as California’s attorney general, of a statewide implicit-bias training for law-enforcement workers. During the 2020 Vice-Presidential debate, Harris described these reforms as part of the “model of what our nation needs to do and we will be able to do under a Joe Biden Presidency.”

From the absurdly-titled, Kamala Harris and the Noble Path of the Prosecutor. The paragraphs prior to the one I pulled does have the uglier stuff. Again, I don't care for most prosecutors.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:27 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]




Shocker there from Judge Cannon.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]


But she seemed so on the level!
posted by Justinian at 3:34 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Biden is unpopular enough and America's electoral college shitty enough that we'd get a Normal Republican and they'd win in a landslide.

If you can come up with a normal Republican who could get both the establishment RSs and the MAGA nutbags I'd like to hear about it - their own party sure can't.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:37 PM on May 7 [10 favorites]


Trump’s trial date in classified documents case indefinitely infinitely postponed
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:18 AM on May 9


Trump’s trial date in classified documents case indefinitely infinitely postponed

I'm a dreamer so I'm hoping they take this to the appellate court and get Cannon tossed completely from the case. The trial date still probably wouldn't land before the election, but at least we'd be done with a blight on the legal system.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:30 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


If you can come up with a normal Republican who could get both the establishment RSs and the MAGA nutbags I'd like to hear about it - their own party sure can't.

Nikki Haley probably wouldn't get diehard MAGAs and her party is in thrall to Trump, but enough Republicans in swing states would work hard to rig the election for her. The machinery has already been in the works in a few states to remove Biden from the ballots. Nikki doesn't need all the votes, just the ones that Republicans count.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:50 PM on May 9


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