After a bad debate Biden's campaign enters a critical moment.
July 5, 2024 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Following a bad performance in last week's Presidential Debate, Joe Biden finds his re-election campaign in serious trouble. Polls suggest that voters have serious doubts about his ability to do the job. A growing number of democratic officials and donors are pushing for him to exit the race, and possibly resign the Presidency including Senator Mark Warner and Abagail Disney (a Disney heir and democratic megadonor) . The Biden campaign has responded saying he is not dropping out and the President has attempted damage control with a series of public events including a radio interview on The Earl Ingram Show, a massive rally in Wisconsin, and a sit down interview with George Stephanopolis on ABC News that will air at 8 pm Eastern (the official ABC news site in this link is supposed to have a live stream). ABC news was originally going to air the interview in two parts, but has decided to air it unedited, in its entirety in Prime Time. With the convention weeks away and no way to hold a primary, Democrats seems to be focusing on VP Kamala Harris as Biden's possible replacement.
posted by interogative mood (1064 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hopefully this can serve as a peril sensitive filter for those who are too anxious to watch tonight's interview live.
posted by interogative mood at 2:04 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Not a fan of the guy and not a fan of the people who put us in this position but I do not see any way in hell he gets replaced in a way that is not, essentially, conceding the election, to be brutally honest. I am pretty sure most of the media types and pols driving the narrative know this too.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on July 5 [44 favorites]


I am pretty sure most of the media types and pols driving the narrative know this too.

c'mon. let's not do this bad faith reading AGAIN. We went around this dozens of times in the previous thread.
posted by lalochezia at 2:17 PM on July 5 [25 favorites]


When John McCain kept saying "steady hand at the tiller" during his debate and it made him seem ridiculously old he was actually ten years younger than Joe Biden is now. And a lot younger than Trump is now. Trump is totally too old and senile to be president. All we need is a candidate that makes him look that way, like Obama did with McCain.
posted by snofoam at 2:19 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


I think that if Biden resigns and Kamala Harris runs as the incumbent she beats Trump easily. She would get a bounce out of a rally around the new President effect, then potentially a democratic convention bounce and all the questions voters had about Biden's age, would suddenly be about Trump.
posted by interogative mood at 2:20 PM on July 5 [30 favorites]


For once, I think voters would be excited about Kamala. That only has to last until the 6th of November, man!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:24 PM on July 5 [15 favorites]


One thing I remember about the 80s was how refreshing it was to see President Bush competently hold weekly press conferences vs the previous occupant’s bumblefuckery over his 2nd term…
posted by torokunai at 2:26 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


When you're running against a career criminal, maybe being a cop isn't all bad.
posted by box at 2:26 PM on July 5 [33 favorites]


A massive rally? It was in a middle school…how big could it have been? I would have gone just for the story, but it was full already.

I’m transfixed by this story in the same way I was transfixed by the Princess Kate tempest, and with rather the same reservations about what it says about my own character. I really thought Trump’s moaning about Biden’s age was some kinda “I know you are but what am I” nonsense with zero basis in fact, so to see tons of media orgs treating it seriously gave me kind of a shock. I don’t know. I think it is possible that both things are true — that he is declining and so leaving him on the ticket presents risks, and that removing him will unavoidably present risks also. I’ll vote D regardless, this isn’t about that for me.
posted by eirias at 2:27 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Harris is not the perfect candidate, certainly not my top pick, but at this point she is a much better candidate than Biden. She could--and would--readily beat Trump. Biden could hand the reigns over to Harris and people would love him for it. Harris is kind of an odd person, but aren't all pols pretty odd people?

The clock is ticking here. Biden needs to shit or get off the pot. And that means proving that he can handle interviews, speaking, and yes, debate, or tough questions that shows he has the mental acuity that was so so lacking in the debate. But so far he's done the opposite. Sure, there have been rallies, and he gave some ok speeches, but he has to do more.

It's a job interview, Joe. You can't just say "trust me" and fold your arms.
posted by zardoz at 2:29 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


Please God replace Biden with anyone, even with Kamala whose politics I find godawful. At least she'll look like the normal one when she's side by side with Tr*mp.
posted by tovarisch at 2:30 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


Replacing him and not replacing him could both convincingly be argued to be routes to doom. I am quite willing to admit that I don’t know what the right thing to do is - in fact the only position I definitely can’t get behind is the position that it’s somehow obvious.

Since it’s not obvious, “wait and see” is an appealing plan on the surface, except that

a.) waiting inherently skews towards non-replacement

b.) it’s much clearer what a disaster would look like than what a truly reassuring sign would look like, which leaves the possibility of another disaster hanging over everything
posted by atoxyl at 2:30 PM on July 5 [26 favorites]


An alternative view, that I strongly support - Step outside the bubble, by Robert B. Hubbell (sorry, Substack):
It is unanimous: the political press wants Biden to step down. Here’s the thing: The press has no role in selecting the Democratic nominee or the president, despite their belief otherwise.

I estimate that no more than a thousand political journalists (and maybe only a few hundred) are telling Biden to drop out. They have created a bubble inside an echo chamber inside a computer simulation based on flawed polling.

The Constitution vests the power to elect the president in 250 million Americans. (Yeah, I know; the Electoral College yada yada.) Tens of millions of Democrats voted for Biden in the primaries despite the candidacy of a protest candidate (Dean Phillips) whose goal was to block Joe Biden from receiving the nomination. Those voters listened and cast their ballots. Those millions of votes are now meaningless according to most journalists—who refuse to even acknowledge the existence or weight of those votes in this decision.
I DO like the guy. I am an enthusiastic Biden supporter. I am absolutely appalled by some (not all) of his administration's actions and statements related to Palestine, but he has been a phenomenally successful, progressive president, and I can't wait to vote for him again.

Seriously, the number of voters in this country who don't even care about the debates and are barely tuned in to the election at all yet may be unfathomable to most of us here on Metafilter, but it's a great big number, and when they vote in November, they will be way, way more focused on abortion rights, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights, than a debate.

We have the candidates we're going to have. One has done a lot for progressive causes and will do more, the other will destroy the country and possibly the world. One has beaten the other once already, and whatever the extremely inaccurate polls* are saying these days, the former president has not done anything in the past four years to gain followers.

I'm staying out of the rest of this thread, just like I've stopped reading ALL the ridiculous press, because for me, it's all distraction from the essential task at hand, which is keeping the former president out of power. There's one candidate who can do that, and I'm going to do what I can to make sure that happens.

* If you want to see all the problems with polling this year, take a look at my comment history.
posted by kristi at 2:31 PM on July 5 [85 favorites]


Hopefully, Stephanopolis realises the gravity of the situation and leaves the kid gloves at home. Biden is not a fit candidate, and the sooner everyone admits it, the sooner he can step aside and be replaced with someone who will have a chance of beating Trump.
posted by Optamystic at 2:34 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics? I don't know much about her political career, and would like to be enlightened.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:36 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I said something similar at the tail end of the previous thread, but the campaign is not even attempting anything that will undo the debate performance, change public opinion, or reverse the polls. What are they hoping for? To stick it out until the next major public debacle? He can't catch up and win the race just by limping a little less visibly around the track.

People, mostly because they have to, are publicly saying it's Biden's choice, but he's going to be forced out, hopefully behind closed doors. It's not actually his choice. Does anyone really believe the entirety of the party would willingly lose this election and just shrug their shoulders and say, "Grandpa Joe said he could do it, what could we do?"
posted by snofoam at 2:38 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


I suppose if Harris is the first-line replacement anyway, you could let Biden stay on the ticket but play up Harris’ role as his successor, or the idea of them as a package deal. But that only conceivably works if you are willing to sideline Joe and boost Kamala. Has anybody ever campaigned like that?
posted by atoxyl at 2:39 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I find Stephanie Jones persuasive on this. If the candidate isn't Harris, they would hemorrhage black voters, and where exactly would they get their funding from? They might not even get on the ballot in every state. This discussion is disingenuous and not serious.
posted by idb at 2:42 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


How can he be forced out? Realistically?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:42 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Kamala must be under immense pressure right now. If there ever was a time that history said "We need a hero", this is it. I don't know enough about her to guess if that's even a possibility, but my powerful narrative bias really, really wants it.
posted by The otter lady at 2:45 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Replacing him and not replacing him could both convincingly be argued to be routes to doom.

Yeah the fuckup wasn't last week, it was at least four years ago.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:45 PM on July 5 [13 favorites]


Everyone knows that when the media declares you washed up, you 'Rocky Balboa' it. Run in the street, do the presidential equivalent of punching some meat. I mean come on. Get out there. Change some minds.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:47 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


How can he be forced out? Realistically?

I'm sure there are some mechanics for literally doing this, but the way I am imagining is that basically everyone in the party gives him a deadline to resign with dignity and if he doesn't, they tell the truth about him and paint him (fairly!) as a traitor to his party, unwilling to do what his country needs him to do.
posted by snofoam at 2:47 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


escape from the potato planet: the TL:DR is her record as San Francisco DA and as Attorney General of California. The Intercept reported on this during the last primaries. Especially damning was her truancy program (NPR link) that in some case locked up parents of children with poor attendance records. But, my sense is that most progressives right now (myself included) would be much, much, happier to vote for her compared to Biden.
posted by coffeecat at 2:48 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Run in the street, do the presidential equivalent of punching some meat.

The Nathan's Coney Island hot dog eating contest was RIGHT THERE and Biden's weak-ass campaign staff fumbled the opportunity.
posted by snofoam at 2:49 PM on July 5 [19 favorites]


Biden could hand the reigns over to Harris

I was about to object to this misuse of "reigns", but then it occurred to me that the Supreme Court has decided the President is a monarch now, so I guess I have to let it slide.
posted by flabdablet at 2:50 PM on July 5 [37 favorites]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics?

She described herself as top cop (and failed to support independent investigations into police murders/crimes, and prosecuted thousands of petty marijuana cases), which rankles many people. We also dislike her in the same ways we dislike every pol who lacks a convincing vision for closing (or at least narrowing) the income and wealth inequality gap.

I do find Box's comment persuasive that a cop vs. career criminal narrative could be a good look, though.
posted by tovarisch at 2:50 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics? I don't know much about her political career, and would like to be enlightened.

TL;DR she’s a former prosecutor with - as I understand it - a bit of cruelty against us little people in her record. She’s seen as very pro-cop in a party which is highly sympathetic to the abolish-the-police ethos, if not willing to stand behind it in any meaningful sense.

For the record I would like a party that is more than “sympathetic,” but since the alternative is fully onboard with the fascism and cruelty of the Punisher I’ll take what I can get.

Elsewise, I don’t care who the candidate is as long as they can beat Trump. It might be best for the country if someone extorted Jon Stewart into running (since he won’t do it willingly, and would definitely win). The only politician I actively want to vote into the Oval Office is AOC and she’s apparently not in consideration (possibly not interested). Bernie a decade ago, but now it’s just her.
posted by Ryvar at 2:53 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


I honestly don't know whether Biden should stick in the race or not, but I also don't see how at this stage he could be successfully replaced by anyone but Harris.
posted by tclark at 2:54 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Sonuva… I hit preview three times. Beaten, damn everything.
posted by Ryvar at 2:54 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm thrilled to vote for Biden over the other guy. Not because I love him, but because I don't want to see the world in flames. I'd be even MORE thrilled-er to vote for Harris, not because I love her, I don't. But because I don't want to see the world in flames and I'd like to have a president who's always aware of her surroundings and doesn't have to go to bed by 8 pm. Lots and lots of problematic policies (as well as lots of great ones) from Biden and Harris, but if wishes were horses...
posted by rikschell at 2:54 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


There is certainly a candidate who should be exhorted to step down for the good of his country and party. It's not Biden.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:57 PM on July 5 [48 favorites]


Biden should bring up Epstein in tonight's interview. Like, I don't think "Donald Trump is a threat to democracy" is a compelling point to make--I mean, it's a compelling point for me, because I like democracy, but I don't think it's much of a sales pitch to the broader public. "Donald Trump committed some hard-to-describe financial crimes" suffers from the same problem. Biden needs a more visceral, cutting approach: "Your kids aren't safe around Donald Trump" might lodge itself into the public's minds, and would certainly give the media something to talk about other than Biden's age.
posted by mittens at 2:58 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


There are real pros and cons to both making Kamala the candidate -- and she is the ONLY one who could possibly be. Pros are that people might be more enthusiastic, the cop vs. criminal narrative would work in our favor, and she would be an incumbent in a way. Cons is that sexist and racist smears would be off the charts. I will enthusiastically support the Democratic ticket.
posted by ichomp at 3:05 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


IMO the narrative of 'declining Joe, too old in 2020, way to old now' is SO baked into the political universe that it doesn't matter at all that its a couple thousand political hack insiders pushing it. And it has the kernel of truth, which is why the "I should sleep more" quotes are getting overexposed while Trumps rants about electric sharks and windmills go nowhere.

I was on board with Biden (despite reprehensible behavior on Gaza) but there is NO way that narrative is getting pushed off the front pages. He could've won the Nathans Coney Island contest and the Badwater marathon and the vile mandarins of the national media-politico complex would STILL not give up the Joe is old and feeble narrative. How many stories about Biden's old have there been when the Supreme Court just freaking cleared the decks for a Trumpist dictatorship. That story is gone and 14 stories on Biden's age above the fold.

Re: Harris, holy crap is the NYT and all the garbage right wing media going to come after her with all they've got.

Joe say youre not running, and finish out your term (and do some shit!). Harris is it, I'm mostly ok with that for all the reasons above - put Whitmer in as VP, make the entire election about abortion, ending IVF, Katie Britts national pregnancy registry etc. Oh and fire that useless sycophant Merrick Garland - you had ONE job you spineless worm and you got destroyed by Trumpist 3rd tied lawyers.

I think Harris wins the popular vote easy. But I think the men with guns grind up the election mechanism so badly in AZ, Georgia and other swing states that some POS maga Judge (and then the 5th appeals) is going find for the Trumps and throw the election to the House of Reps. (Supreme Court moves heaven and earth to certify that ruling) - and there's more red states than blue states.
posted by WatTylerJr at 3:11 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


If Biden truly, absolutely cannot be prevailed upon to step aside, then the party's only real choice is to rally around him. If they tried to publicly force him out and essentially go to war with their own nominee, it would 100% guarantee an electoral evisceration in November that would hit not just the White House but Congress, gubernatorial races, state houses, etc. It's just not a realistic answer. If Biden is going to step aside, then he himself needs to choose to do so. He may not want to, but it would have to be his choice. It's a choice I could see him making, if certain trusted figures-- Jim Clyburn, Pelosi, Chris Coons, and above all Jill Biden and his family-- told him he needs to step aside for the good of his country, party, and legacy.

Honestly, I understand why he wants to stay in. He got publicly humiliated by someone he deeply hates, someone he sees as a fundamental threat to the country, and now the media is, once again, counting him out. He wants to do what (at least in his worldview, and I think there's something to it) he has done many times before: come from behind, proven the naysayers wrong, and won against all odds. But if he were to stay in and lose, none of that would matter. All anyone would remember was that he didn't know when to quit and the country paid the price. If he stepped aside, put the full weight of his base and machine behind Harris, and Harris won, he'd probably go down in history as one of the most successful single-term presidents and as someone who really did keep going when everybody counted him out, proved them wrong by winning, and then knew when to bow out with grace.

I don't know if that's the right answer. As many, many people have said, there are massive pros and cons whether he runs or whether he steps aside. But with the stakes as high as they are, especially given the narrative that has exploded around this question, it's a conversation that needs to happen.
posted by Method Man at 3:11 PM on July 5 [30 favorites]


The biggest con is the huge likelihood that ant replacement just isn’t going to be allowed on the ballot - and if that’s true for just one swing state it’s over.
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


At this point, there isn't any realistic thought that anyone who still supports trump will ever change their mind, so where does that leave the rest of the voters? Is it purely a question of trying to get the disenfranchised votors to actually vote instead of stay at home?

I feel like many voters are basically voting for or
against trump and the rest are saying it doesn't matter because all of the candidates are poor choices.
posted by mightshould at 3:13 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


There are perhaps a dozen different common but serious medical and psychological conditions that could explain his debate performance. Most of these are easily diagnosable. Some of these are also easily treatable.

If I were the campaign, I would be looking as hard as possible for one of those easily treatable explanations, and being public about how it has been fixed.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 3:17 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics? I don't know much about her political career, and would like to be enlightened.

Fought very hard to deny a trans woman gender affirming medical treatment in prison, despite the prisoner's increasing suicidality. Fought against releasing prisoners from California's overcrowded prisons because - and she actually claimed this - their labor was necessary to the state. This when the Supreme Court agreed that low-level prisoners should be released. She's done some genuinely despicable things off her own bat, but then the only non-despicable major party presidential candidates we've had in my lifetime were Bernie Sanders and the sainted Senator Simon of Illinois, so I don't expect much anyway.

Fuck a bunch of all of them, and fuck the democratic party for putting us all in this fix.

~~
The worst possible scenario is that there's media attention from now til November on Biden's age and infirmity and he makes a series of gaffes/sundowning moments and it only becomes really impossible to imagine him as president when it's too late to replace him. I'm in favor of replacing him, with Harris or whoever seems most likely to win, because we just can't keep rolling the fucking dice until he has some kind of terrible blank-eyed moment or stroke or something on November 1.
posted by Frowner at 3:19 PM on July 5 [41 favorites]


If Biden truly, absolutely cannot be prevailed upon to step aside, then the party's only real choice is to rally around him.
posted by Method Man


So we must Prop Joe up? I'm not sure the Cheese would agree.
posted by snofoam at 3:20 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


Somebody brought up AOC and while she’s been too young to legally become president for a while, it turns out that this October she’ll be 35. Hmmm.

Anyways, Harris and the cop vs criminal narrative gets my vote. Joe looked like he had escaped from a nursing home during the debate. I watched it with my own eyes. Nobody is ever going to convince me that he’s the right man for the brutal job of president after that. “I need to get more sleep” almost sounds like a coded “get me out of here” message in context. Blink twice if you’re OK, Joe. Then turn it over to Kamala Harris like you said you would.
posted by apathy at 3:22 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Biden can probably be forced out if the Cabinet invokes the 25th Amendment. It would be such a massive vote of no-confidence in his ability to be President that his campaign would be effectively over. Even if he tried to stay on as President it would provide the political cover to the convention to be able to replace him as nominee. That road is pretty ugly though.
posted by interogative mood at 3:23 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


The actual strongest position we could be in to win the election is for Biden to step down from both the campaign and the presidency and have Harris run as the sitting president.
posted by snofoam at 3:24 PM on July 5 [16 favorites]


I've got a lot of respect for Biden, but I hope he steps aside.

However well he performs between now and November, no-one can unsee that catastrophic debate performance. The reality is that those images alone, seen by so many people and sure to be ruthlessly exploited by the Republicans, are enough to doom him.

If Trump gets in as a result, that's all Biden will be remembered for - a selfish refusal to face facts which spelt the beginning of the end for American democracy. I hope he grasps that.

I can also see an upside to a new Democrat candidate young enough to turn all the age and dementia fears on Trump instead. Whether through a messy convention or a behind the scenes delegation of senior Dems quietly persuading him it's the right thing to do, I think Biden handing the job over to younger hands is America and the world's best hope.

The Biden family's loyalty to Joe is admirable in its way, but right now they're clearly part of the problem.I hope his withdrawal can be handled in a gentle, kindly way - ideally with his own acceptance that the time has come. But it needs to get done anyway.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:25 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


This feels like a crisis made up by the beltway press and the nyt who love the eyeball of a terrified populace. Honestly I find it very hard to believe that anyone uncertain on who they will vote for or whether they will even vote is consuming any political coverage 4 months before the election. Bad debates happen. Biden is old and has been old for years.

If it is true that he needs to step down then the only people that can really make that decision are in the white house and cabinet and like others have said the window for that choice is closing.
posted by being_quiet at 3:29 PM on July 5 [13 favorites]


The candidate has to be Biden imo. In talking to midwestern republicans who don't like Trump, they would vote for Biden the old white man who went through the primaries and has accomplishments and have the debate written off as a "bad day." But they would not vote for someone who did not go through the primary system and was gifted the candidancy, esp if that someone is a black woman, gay man, Californian, or the "woman who ruined Michigan." While there are Democrats they'd rather see than Biden, there is no consensus candidate that would bring in votes rather than have voters stay at home. And if voters stay home, Trump wins imo.

The press needs to stop this tear down of Biden and refocus on tear down of Trump. T
posted by beaning at 3:32 PM on July 5 [28 favorites]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics? I don't know much about her political career, and would like to be enlightened.

History of being fundamentally shitty as a prosecutor and California AG, things like denial of medical treatment to transgender inmates, aggressive prosecution of cannabis possession, and being a two-faced hypocrite on both issues when her past actions are brought up.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:37 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


The thing is, I have this terrible sinking feeling that the mere fact that there's been press coverage in major outlets and calls from Democrats for Biden to step down on grounds of infirmity is pretty much the knell of doom. Between now and November, the message will always be "people from your own party and major media outlets think you are too decrepit to serve" and that just can't be lived down. If it were 2023 and this were in fact just a particularly bad public appearance, Biden would have the time to regroup and for people to forget, but it's four months ahead of the election and there really isn't time to disprove/live down this kind of coverage. If he continues to run after all this has been said, it is going to be a huge disadvantage to the campaign. The whole thing makes the Democrats look terrible, frankly, and if this weren't an existential-threat level election, I'd say that nothing could save the party's reputation regardless.

We really, really, really just cannot expect to get anywhere politically when the big names are all pushing eighty. Major political jobs are really fatiguing. I've known a lot of very sharp eighty year olds who had years of good life ahead of them, and they were, one and all, too fatigued to do the challenging full-time work that had been their previous careers. For the most part, they went down to part-time and light contracting so that they could work when they were on and take it easy when they were tired, and you can't do that with the presidency.
posted by Frowner at 3:38 PM on July 5 [21 favorites]


So what's the progressive / leftist complaint against Harris' politics? I don't know much about her political career, and would like to be enlightened.

She isn’t perfect.

Honestly, is there anyone who could be both a viable (i.e. can actually win) candidate and live up to the ever-raising purity bar?

Biden is the candidate we have to keep Trump out of the most fucking powerful office on earth. He isn’t dropping out. That’s reality. Yes, reality often sucks.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:40 PM on July 5 [13 favorites]


How can he be forced out? Realistically?

As of right now, he can't. Biden has to step down voluntarily. As badly as he's fumbled, he's still the top Democrat in the country. And the replacement has to be Harris, if for no other reason than the fact that the millions in Biden's campaign could go to her, but not to anyone else, not without a lot of red tape that we don't have time for.

As of today, Biden wants to hold onto power. I don't know which is the better plan stick with Biden or go to Harris. It ALL depends on Biden's mental acuity over the next few weeks and months, or at least the perception of it. He can't fuck up like he did with that debate. If it happens again, if he fumbles really badly again on live tv, it would be a fucking disaster, and at that point I think the top Dems would actually force him out.

There's another debate in September, after the Democrats have officially nominated their candidate, so if it's Biden and he screws up that debate again...if we're panicking now, it'll be orders of magnitude worse if that happens.
posted by zardoz at 3:41 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Honestly I find it very hard to believe that anyone uncertain on who they will vote for or whether they will even vote is consuming any political coverage 4 months before the election.

Good point except this will be the ONLY coverage for the next 4 months. It will not stop.

(well, I guess the Joe is feeble stories will be superseded for a few days by the media frenzy over the big time protests at the DNC convention - there will also be massive protests at the RNC convention but as always it is only 'Dems in Disarray' in politico-media complex time).
posted by WatTylerJr at 3:44 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Fought against releasing prisoners from California's overcrowded prisons because - and she actually claimed this - their labor was necessary to the state.

Frowner, could you point to some info about this? So far as I can find, she didn’t “actually claim this” at all. Her record’s got issues, to be sure, but now doesn’t really seem the time for paraphrasing done quite as sloppily/dishonestly as your claim seems to be.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 3:46 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


What I don’t get is why there is so much coverage of Biden’s decline and so little of Trump’s.

In cynical moments, I believe that many large media outlets actually want Trump to win. Presumably this is because they are owned by rancid billionaires who don’t like democracy.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 3:47 PM on July 5 [46 favorites]


The fact that press outlets are basically like “we will air the unedited interview” and it’s a credible threat…just fucking step down already man.
posted by corb at 3:47 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


there really isn't time to disprove/live down this kind of coverage.

Also, in the last week he hasn’t done anything to show his debate performance was a fluke and he doesn’t have anything upcoming that would do so as far as I know. He can’t disprove it via a series of ten minute scripted campaign speeches.

(Is it too late for someone to do a list of things that Biden could do to show he is competent as a McSweeney’s article?)

Also, if someone says you are too old to be president, “Malarkey!” is just not an effective answer.
posted by snofoam at 3:50 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Biden / Harris '24 --> Harris / Biden '24. Could work.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:52 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


What I don’t get is why there is so much coverage of Biden’s decline and so little of Trump’s.

Seconded. People have been complaining about Trump's ramblings (what was that about sharks, again, and planes can't fly out of daylight?) all year and as usual, literally nothing he does that's bad matters compared to Biden doing anything. If you think Biden's incompetent to run, Trump's also incompetent to run. Unfortunately now if people think Trump is the candidate more on the ball ... *cry*

No Democrat is going to be pure enough to everybody. Democrats keep taking bites out of each other, the Republicans act in lockstep, and then we wonder why we can't top them. (Also, once again, evil will always triumph because good is dumb.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:55 PM on July 5 [30 favorites]


Kamala Harris followed the well established political career path of law school, prosecutors office, DA, AG, Senator. For part of the Democratic Party and the left this is not the resume they want in a candidate. Her record on criminal justice issues is mixed and full of contradictions as pointed out in this Vox article. I think it is not unreasonable to wonder if these contradictions don’t just reflect Americas criminal justice system and its many contradictions.
posted by interogative mood at 3:57 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]



Frowner, could you point to some info about this? So far as I can find, she didn’t “actually claim this” at all. Her record’s got issues, to be sure, but now doesn’t really seem the time for paraphrasing done quite as sloppily/dishonestly as your claim seems to be.


It gives me less joy than you would probably believe to say that googling "Kamala Harris prison labor" pulls up a lot of documentation. The first detailed one is actually just a Daily Beast story here - and to be fair, it was lawyers working for the Harris office. After the furor, Harris claimed to be "shocked" that her very own lawyers would ever say such an awful thing, but I find that pretty weird. Even if true, which I do not personally believe, I do not find it appealing in a presidential candidate that her lawyers can literally advance the "keep people in jail to do cheap labor for the state" argument and she doesn't even know about it. That seems kind of important.

But whatever, if I can choke down the vomit long enough to vote for a genocidaire, I can vote for her as well. If she's no better, she's certainly no worse. This all mattered much more back in the day when it seemed that there were alternatives.
posted by Frowner at 3:58 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


What I don’t get is why there is so much coverage of Biden’s decline and so little of Trump’s.

Simple. It's because the idea of the republican candidate losing doesn't scare the shit out of us.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:00 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Look. The main reason Biden needs to go is because we desperately need a campaigner young and brave enough to stand up and shout variations on: "PROJECT 2025 WANTS TO OUTLAW PORNOGRAPHY! A VOTE FOR TRUMP IS A VOTE AGAINST PORN!! THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR ADULT CONTENT!! TRUMP BANS PORN!!!" over and over again.

I genuinely believe that this is a blindingly obvious winning strategy and the only reason no one is doing it already is because they are too prudish.

(Don't believe me? It's here on page 5. "Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned.")
posted by EllaEm at 4:00 PM on July 5 [22 favorites]


I can’t even begin to gesture wildly how fucked we have to be to get me to vote for a fucking prosecutor but apparently here we are now.
posted by corb at 4:03 PM on July 5 [28 favorites]


Biden could be pushed out with the 25th Amendment, but it would take Harris and a majority of the cabinet working together, and Biden would have to accept that he was cooked at that point and not fight it. It would be a huge risk, and Harris (not to mention the rest of the cabinet) is probably too loyal for that. In politics, being loyal is valued much, much more than being smart or honest or clever or talented or even popular. (Trump of course is the exception that proves the rule. He can get away with being disloyal because there's no one above him he would ever have to be loyal to. Well, except Putin.)

Honestly, if Harris were up for pushing it, that would be a great sign for me. That she was more ambitious, that she was willing to break shit in order to preserve democracy. It would mark her as someone with energy and the ability to act. But she's shown no reason to expect this of her.
posted by rikschell at 4:08 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


In cynical moments, I believe that many large media outlets actually want Trump to win. Presumably this is because they are owned by rancid billionaires who don’t like democracy.

On the Fourth of July, The Fucking New York Times op-ed page ran an op-ed against voting by a right-wing graduate of Hillsdale College who blatantly lied about his own voting history in the piece, and when caught out on said lie proceeded to "massage" the lede so it wasn't blatantly false.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:08 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


ABC is previewing clips of the interview online and it's pretty ugh.

"I don't think I did [watch the debate]"?

Not quite as bad as the debate, but he still sounds raspy and weak, still mumbly and hesitant, still doing the slack-jawed thing when waiting to answer. Not just way different from 2019/20, but different even from the Wisconsin rally earlier today. Either doing that event wiped him out all over again or the reporting of him visibly winding down later in the afternoon is correct. I don't see this helping him much.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:10 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


Even if true, which I do not personally believe, I do not find it appealing in a presidential candidate that her lawyers can literally advance the "keep people in jail to do cheap labor for the state" argument and she doesn't even know about it. That seems kind of important.

Totally important, but also nearly completely orthogonal? I guess the only real ask behind my question was “hey, if people didn’t actually say something, could we not emphatically claim that they did?”. Like, this is a rapidly evolving situation and none of the folks that are forming new opinions are going to be well served by being told that things “literally” happened when they didn’t happen at all.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:10 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


The current press coverage of Biden is eerily reminding me of the way they went for Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, the press can and will end political careers.
posted by Lanark at 4:13 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


"Don't you think he looks tired?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:14 PM on July 5 [19 favorites]


The conventional wisdom has been that Biden is the best shot at beating Trump and dropping him would be more damaging. Conventional wisdom in Washington is a powerful force and it was propping up Biden’s candidacy for a long time. It is fracturing now, anything can happen.
posted by mai at 4:20 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


he still sounds raspy and weak

He sounds like he can't get a full breath into his lungs. I even wondered if the applause at the rallies gave him enough time to catch his breath between statements, in a way real-time conversation or debate might not.
posted by mittens at 4:22 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Metafilter gets awful doom-y in these threads so I’m trying to just let that flow by.

I don’t understand the viewpoint that a president who has a reduced capacity to bring energy, communication, and persuasion is not reduced in their capacity to be president. I can admire the work someone has done while also noting that something has changed in a way they can no longer do it.

Biden has my vote if it’s him, but my support is for stepping aside.

If this is how we get our first black female president, I’m there for it. I’ve long been worried that it would have to come from the Republican side and I’d rather have Harris than Haley.
posted by meinvt at 4:22 PM on July 5 [27 favorites]


rants about electric sharks

Do randroids dream of electric sharks?
posted by flabdablet at 4:29 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


I assume Biden and his team have already seen the interview and his statement earlier today about staying in is based on their confidence this interview will help

The Dems can't have four months of these news stories every day, so Biden has to lead here now. If he ends up dropping out, it's going to ensure Trump gets back in
posted by lescour at 4:31 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I can't make a positive argument for Biden as president. I think that's a problem. "The alternative is Donald Trump" is a negative argument. You're not selling Biden, you're nega-selling Trump. This has been the issue all along. In 2020, when Trump was president, we could have, and apparently we did, run Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's, and still won; but we survived Trump and turns out that Four Years at Bernie's was no great shakes either. "Let's make it Eight Years at Bernie's!" doesn't talk to people. He's not going to win.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:35 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


If only it were eight years at Bernie's!
posted by rikschell at 4:37 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Harris replaces Biden via 25th Amendment. She invokes her Supreme Court-appointed monarchical powers to put Trump in jail.

I don't care if Harris or Biden put Trump in a prison cell, but Trump has broken numerous laws, is a threat to national security, and he has said over and over again that he will make the US a dictatorship.

He must be stopped at all costs, if this country and planet are to survive another generation.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:39 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


It is deeply unclear to me whether Biden is actually unfit for office or just an aging man with a stutter, but it seems very clear that this entire scandal is a bad faith tempest whipped up primarily by the NYT using a turbocharged version of the Claudine Gay playbook. If Biden can weather it I remain optimistic he can hammer Trump on Project 2025 and Dobbs, and highlight Trump's heightening cognitive issues, and win the election.

If he does step aside it can only be Harris, both for the structural reasons others have pointed out and also because an open convention would be chaos and red meat for Republican attacks. But Biden cannot and should not step aside as president. There is no way the House of Representatives would allow her to put a VP in place, which means that in this scenario Mike Johnson would both be one heartbeat away from the presidency and also probably preside over the election in the role of the VP.

The time for Biden to step aside was long before now. He's a flawed candidate but he's the one we've got, and I tend to think that even if he stepped aside in favor of Harris that would just open him up to bad faith arguments that he's unfit to serve that would bog down his administration and Harris's candidacy. Maybe he'll be unable to shut up the press and will have to, but I'm not convinced that replacing him with Harris would make it easier to beat Trump, to say nothing of the fantasies that have been floated in op-ed pages of late.
posted by lhputtgrass at 4:40 PM on July 5 [21 favorites]


If you think Biden’s bad, you should see the other guy. Your mind will be fucking blown.
posted by chasing at 4:41 PM on July 5 [25 favorites]


Oh, and Biden puts liberal justices on the Supreme Court. And he’ll put more on during his next term. If that’s all he does, I’m fine. Nothing progressives want will happen with a Judiciary full of corrupt right-wing shitbags.
posted by chasing at 4:43 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


If you think Biden’s bad, you should see the other guy. Your mind will be fucking blown.

For the love of God, this isn't clever! People are worried about Biden's competence because they think he won't be able to beat Trump. Nobody here is suggesting Trump is the better choice.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 4:44 PM on July 5 [68 favorites]


If Biden were to step aside or be forced out by the 25th Amendment, show of hands - who thinks the Republican house majority would confirm a new VP so that there is still a heartbeat between Kamala Harris and Mike Johnson in the line of succession?
posted by the primroses were over at 4:48 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]



It is deeply unclear to me whether Biden is actually unfit for office or just an aging man with a stutter, but it seems very clear that this entire scandal is a bad faith tempest whipped up primarily by the NYT using a turbocharged version of the Claudine Gay playbook


Surely you mean the Christopher Rufo playbook. Gay was the target of the attack.

The entire scandal is bad faith? One, there’s no scandal. At all. The main issue is that it’s very apparent that Bidens brain is deteriorating rapidly, we can see it, the democratic establishment knows it, and the fact that Biden won’t do a press conference or town hall tells you all you need to know. It’s not a scandal, it’s an emerging story where literally the entire future of the US and possibly world hangs in the balance. If Biden stays and deteriorates, Trump wins. The situation is unprecedented.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:49 PM on July 5 [31 favorites]


To not abuse the edit window - I meant resign as president, not step aside for the next election, but I worded it poorly.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:49 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


> For the love of God, this isn't clever! People are worried about Biden's competence because they think he won't be able to beat Trump. Nobody here is suggesting Trump is the better choice.

You’re suggesting other people *will* use his competence and decide to vote for Trump instead of Biden. Which is basically the same thing. And maybe my point is: People interested in Trump are not interested in Trump because Biden mumbled at a debate. They’re into a deranged candidate who caters to their sense of aggrievement and says he’ll hurt the people they don’t like: LGBTQ+, minorities, intellectuals, etc. I think swapping out the candidate will do basically nothing to the polls. I honestly think it’s a poor use of time to go down this fucking rabbit hole right now. Biden’s by far the better candidate.
posted by chasing at 4:53 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


If you think Biden’s bad, you should see the other guy. Your mind will be fucking blown.

Yeah, but see, I've also seen the other woman, his VP, and she did a hell of a better job making his case than he did after the debate.
posted by coffeecat at 4:54 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Mod note: One removed. Don’t share your wish for any candidate to pass away.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 4:56 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Anyway, in my opinion if there is genuine reason for concern about Biden's mental acuity, there should be serious pressure on him to step aside only for the next election behind the scenes.

If not, everyone in the Democratic party should get on message and talk about how Donald Trump is a felon, a rapist and a wannabe dictator in response to every question about anything from now until November 5th.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:57 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Did Biden watch the debate afterwards? "I don't think I did, no."
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:59 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


You’re suggesting other people will use his competence and decide to vote for Trump instead of Biden.

Some will, because, believe it or not, a lot of the American electorate are uninformed and simply do not really get how deranged Trump is.

But even more will simply not bother to vote at all. They may not swap to Trump, but they aren't going to care enough to deal with all the hassle of getting out and voting for the Democrats with Biden at the top of the ticket.

If you think fielding a weak candidate doesn't matter and most Americans will respond to Trump's awfulness by making a rational vote, I invite you to look at 2016.

I think swapping out the candidate will do basically nothing to the polls.

The polls seem to disagree.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 4:59 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


> If not, everyone in the Democratic party should get on message and talk about how Donald Trump is a felon, a rapist and a wannabe dictator in response to every question about anything from now until November 5th.

Yeah, I publicly call for the unhinged rapist felon to step down from the race. Where’s the coverage on that?
posted by chasing at 4:59 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


I went back and listened again to that snippet Rhaomi posted above. Biden begins a sentence, loses his place, and wanders into an entirely separate point (one about numbers, that clearly he has memorized). And this was to a very basic softball question--basically, "what happened to you out there?" which you would assume his team has been prepping him for, for days. And he couldn't do it, he couldn't get the point out. It's so troubling, and I don't know how anyone could listen to that and make an excuse for it.
posted by mittens at 5:01 PM on July 5 [33 favorites]


> The polls seem to disagree.

Hypothetical polls are not the same as an actual election. As has been famously proven.
posted by chasing at 5:02 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I publicly call for the unhinged rapist felon to step down from the race. Where’s the coverage on that?
The Democrats have pointed out Trump is unfit for office over and over. They pointed it out in 2016. It wasn't enough.

It was barely enough in 2020 when we had a six figure bodycount attributable to Trump and he was telling people to shoot up bleach.

The Democrats have to face their deepest, darkest fear; actually offering something besides not being Republicans.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:02 PM on July 5 [33 favorites]


Hypothetical polls are not the same as an actual election. As has been famously proven.

Assuming Biden will outperform the polling is not how I would bet.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:02 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


The main issue is that it’s very apparent that Bidens brain is deteriorating rapidly, we can see it, the democratic establishment knows it, and the fact that Biden won’t do a press conference or town hall tells you all you need to know.
Where is the proof of this? He's clearly an octogenarian and not as sharp as he was a decade ago, but that's not news. Is one bad debate somehow proof? He's been prone to gaffes and misspeaking his entire career, yet somehow every single slip is now proof that he's toast. All I've seen is one bad debate and what seems like a concerted bad faith push from an outlet that has had an axe to grind his entire administration. He's been doing interviews and appearances since the debate and has a big event next week. I have no particular love for Biden, but all I've seen is one bad debate, a bad faith attack, and a circular firing squad from Dems freaked out about losing to Trump suggesting mostly unfeasible solutions.

Also polling number have been consistently ridiculous for this race because no one answers their phone if they don't recognize the number. If you're suggesting Biden step down over polling I'm not sure what to tell you, because the polls have been drastically undercounting Dem support since Dobbs.
posted by lhputtgrass at 5:05 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


Also if you haven't go look at the article the NYT posted about Harris today. They're already trying to tie an anchor around her neck, so if you think replacing Biden with her gets the Dems a clear path without this kind of shenanigans I think you're fooling yourself. It may be that he should step down and that's the best path to beating Trump, but all I've seen so far is panic, nothing resembling a strong case that it's true.
posted by lhputtgrass at 5:07 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


lhputtgrass your points are valid, but do you think the agenda setters will move off of this issue for ANYTHING trump does or says? This is it, this is the race. Is Biden too old or not. Many seem to think so. What if he freezes up at debate 2?

Obv. a lot of people here and elsewhere think he's still the guy, but the media will be crushing him every single day and more than all the bullshit stories about his competency, it will be democratic 'insiders' and funder trying to get him out.

This is ALL the media will talk about. And he's not vigorous enough to counter it.
posted by WatTylerJr at 5:10 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


They’re into a deranged candidate who caters to their sense of aggrievment and says he’ll hurt the people they don’t like: queers, minorities, intellectuals, etc.

Every Trump voter? No. I do think a major blindspot of many Democrats is the inability to see Trump voters as anything other than the worst of the worst. That they all love bigotry, sexism, and racism. And yes, some of them do. But that doesn't describe every Trump voter. It's helpful to remember that however you decide who to vote for in an election, there are 100s of other methods people use to make up their mind. And there is a category of voter who (selfishly, one might argue) focus really on themselves- which candidate will make their life better? Some of these people do find Trump abhorrent, but they also think he'll be better for the economy - and they're worried Biden is too weak/old. A lot of these people are undecided or leaning Trump, but could be convinced by a more cogent Democrat. And that's not even getting into the fact that Kamala could excite people/get out the base better, as already stated up-thread.
posted by coffeecat at 5:10 PM on July 5 [16 favorites]


Anosognosia?
posted by zaixfeep at 5:11 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Also if you haven't go look at the article the NYT posted about Harris today

Or, we could stop buying into NYT's cynical ratfucking campaigns? Can we consider that option as well?

Is it really necessary to let NYT dictate this conversation?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 5:11 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


Also if you haven't go look at the article the NYT posted about Harris today. They're already trying to tie an anchor around her neck..

Huh? Did we read the same article? It was pretty glowing. As was Ezra Klein's recent podcast on her, called "Is Kamala Harris Underrated?" Spoiler: Yes. I'd say the NYTimes is laying out the red carpet for her.
posted by coffeecat at 5:13 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


This is ALL the media will talk about. And he's not vigorous enough to counter it.

It does seem to be the realization of the Monkey's Paw wish that the media stop focusing on Trump. I haven't heard a word about him all week.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:13 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Dems make concrete differences and whenever possible, are the only ones actually legislating: Inflation Reduction Act, child tax credit, work in the Appalachia and regarding climate, assistance for disabled and elderly Americans via Medicaid and Social Security.

That a rapist and felon has a chance at winning an election in America says more about Americans than it does about Joseph Biden. I'm lamenting that fact.
posted by ichomp at 5:13 PM on July 5 [23 favorites]


Also polling number have been consistently ridiculous for this race because no one answers their phone if they don't recognize the number.

This isn’t true anymore. It hasn’t been true for a while.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:17 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


lhputtgrass your points are valid, but do you think the agenda setters will move off of this issue for ANYTHING trump does or says?
I think we are all prisoners of the moment here, the media can't keep banging this gong for four months until the election if Biden stonewalls them and doesn't provide further proof his brain is cooked. I think the Dems need to circle their wagons and get disciplined with messages about how terrible Trump is and we'll all move on.
posted by lhputtgrass at 5:17 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Yeah, don’t let the electorate off the hook. None of this would be a problem if so many of them weren’t awful people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:18 PM on July 5 [15 favorites]


How can he be forced out? Realistically?

Without doing so much internal damage to the Democratic party that Harris still wins? He can't.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:19 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Orange Man Bad isn't landing anymore because people burned out on the Mueller/Jack Smith/Merrick Garland hopium. It's just another fundraising tool with little actual results.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:20 PM on July 5 [15 favorites]


This isn’t true anymore. It hasn’t been true for a while.
As a data point, the Siena polls the media has been shouting about have African American voters moving forty points to Trump compared to the last election. Until the polls show anything like what happens in elections, which hasn't happened in some time, I will continue to be deeply skeptical of their predictive value.
posted by lhputtgrass at 5:21 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Well-heeled America seems far more terrified of the damage 'the left' will do to capitalism than the very real destruction that 'the right' is doing to democracy.

Also wealthy/powerful people are unaccustomed to taking 'no' for an answer about anything no matter how profound or petty.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:21 PM on July 5 [25 favorites]


This interview is brutal.
posted by glaucon at 5:21 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Yeah, don’t let the electorate off the hook. None of this would be a problem if so many of them weren’t awful people.

I respect democracy and people's choice. The leaders we choose are a reflection of us. I have full confidence in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their ability to govern. What I don't have confidence in are Americans who are so spoiled they can afford to vote based on vibes and clicks and likes.
posted by ichomp at 5:23 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


if Biden stonewalls them and doesn't provide further proof his brain is cooked

If Biden stonewalls them by - not communicating with them? He’s running a campaign, and by most indications he’s behind.
posted by atoxyl at 5:25 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


My main worry is that the hard right might not let Kamala Harris serve out her full term - by fair play or foul, but mostly foul. Trump has agitated and encouraged them enough to do some just that stupid.

I don't dislike Biden, but the reich-wing of Congress is just going to go for four more years of conspiratorial obstructionism and if electing her can short-circuit that, then let's do it.

It's not like we've got anyone else who can step up to the plate right now with a serious chance of winning..
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 5:26 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


As a data point, the Siena polls the media has been shouting about have African American voters moving forty points to Trump compared to the last election.

This… didn’t happen. Can we please stick to facts??
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 5:27 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


Him bragging about putting together peace plan for the Middle East in the interview....phew.
posted by coffeecat at 5:28 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


It pains me to say this but Biden gives off the vibe of Grandpa refusing to give up the keys to the car. And his saying that he's been a great driver for sixty years and his neighbor down the street has been arrested four times on DWIs and all Gramps has is a parking violation is all true. But that doesn't mean he won't swerve and hit a school bus. Maybe he's right and he won't. But maybe he will. And he has to acknowledge that.
posted by dannyboybell at 5:28 PM on July 5 [27 favorites]


At least Joe isn't screaming for steak and sex like Sumner Redstone was doing near his end.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:30 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Biden should be worried about his legacy at this point. I would rather go out on top than losing to Trump. Look at Hillary. She laments every day that she lost to the worst candidate in history. Biden should declare victory and step aside for the good of the party and the country. I do not think anyone is comfortable with the idea that he can serve out another 4 years. Why not be a king maker, put all his resources behind Kamala and play elder statesman with his good freind Obama.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:32 PM on July 5 [18 favorites]


My main worry is that the hard right might not let Kamala Harris serve out her full term - by fair play or foul, but mostly foul. Trump has agitated and encouraged them enough to do some just that stupid.

I don't want anyone for president the far right wouldn't want dead.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:32 PM on July 5 [22 favorites]


But the amount of questions he's dodging in this interview is the real problem...including with straight up lies. Stephanopolis is doing a good job pressing him though.
posted by coffeecat at 5:32 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Hear me out here... what if Biden and Harris switched places on the ticket? Harris for president, Biden for VP?
posted by orange swan at 5:33 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


> What I don't have confidence in are Americans who are so spoiled they can afford to vote based on vibes and clicks and likes.

After November 8th, 2016 I don’t trust Americans in the aggregate at all.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:34 PM on July 5 [25 favorites]


My main worry is that the hard right might not let Kamala Harris serve out her full term

... the first president in history to be gummed to death by wolves. She was delicious.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:35 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


After November 8th, 2016 I don’t trust Americans in the aggregate at all

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 5:36 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


This interview is a train wreck.
posted by Optamystic at 5:40 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


I only tuned in to the interview briefly and no doubt people who watch the whole thing will have a more nuanced assessment, but the bit I saw was... not encouraging. This needed to be a home run to turn things around and it does not seem like a home run.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 5:40 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million.

In our defense, the alternative was worse.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:40 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


I urge everyone defending Biden to watch the interview - he is often confused, straight up lying, goes off on tangents that don't answer the question, and only seems to be OK when he's saying his memorized canned lines. It's maybe not as brutal as the debate, but it's pretty brutal.
posted by coffeecat at 5:40 PM on July 5 [23 favorites]


On the plus side, Biden did just mention the next “man or woman” to be president, so hopefully he’s considering Harris.
posted by snofoam at 5:42 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


I'm watching it now. I keep looking across the room, down at the floor, down at my phone. I feel like I'm watching one of those cringe Farrelly Brothers comedies, where the humor rests in watching someone be humiliated. I don't think those movies are funny. I am sad when I watch those movies. I am sad right now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:44 PM on July 5 [18 favorites]


I think this is a good time to remember the Lesson of Clinton. And it's a lesson people don't like, want to hear, or heed.

The Lesson of Clinton is simple: sometimes someone on your side is so successfully smeared they can't recover.

The American right spent over 30 years hammering at Hillary Clinton until a huge number of Americans heard her name and felt that there MUST be something to all that noise otherwise there wouldn't be so much noise. Thus we got the stuff like people in 2016 saying that she just seemed dishonest. Some of that may have been coded misogyny, but a lot was the result of the fact that the right is REALLY good at building a media narrative (however false) and sticking with it until it drifts into the mainstream.

We can, and should, lambast Obama for keeping Republican asshole Comey around as FBI chief and thus giving the Republicans an insider in a perfect position to hurt her using the decades of preparation they had. But the deeper, harder, more painful, lesson is simply that the Republican smears worked.

She shouldn't have been the nominee. It's easy to see that in hindsight, but now that we have seen it, we need to apply that lesson going forward.

And the simple fact is, unless Biden can successfully look energetic, engaged, witty, together, and with it for hours on end at regular and frequent events where he's asked questions not merely reading a speech off a teleprompter, the Republican effort to paint him as feeble and senile will work whether or not it's actually try.

If, for the sake of argument, he really is mentally sound and just physically weak and his stutter is getting worse, it's not going to overturn the Republican smear. I'm not 100% confident that even a vigorous, loud, with it, frequently appearing in Q&A sessions, Biden can actually undo the damage, but if he can't do that then the game is already over and the smear has worked.

Now, is the smear enough to bring Trump to victory? I dunno. Maybe? I fear it is and I'm of the opinion that starting from a disadvantage is a bad idea. A few whiles back I was part of the group who had no idea who might replace him, but I've been convinced that if he is replaced Harris is the only possible choice. If nothing else picking someone who wasn't Harris would alienate the Black women who are the backbone of the Democratic Party.

His interview was better than it could have been, though someone needs to tell him to close his damn mouth and stop staring around slack jawed. By itself it isn't going to do the trick. If he can have interviews like that, unscripted, no teleprompter, taking questions, at least weekly (and ideally more often) maybe he can pull it out. Maybe.

Unfortunately it looks like they're planning on keeping to the same strategy that let them paint him so successfully as senile: hiding him. I said it earlier and I'll say it again, if Biden isn't senile then why the fuck is he hiding from the media? He hasn't had a press conference in ages.

If he's hoping that his single not awful but not fantastic interview is going to be enough he's deluding himself.

I think the most cold bloodedly pragmatic thing would be for him to realize they succeeded, that it's not fair, it's not right, but it's also the reality, and to bow out. He won't. But I think he should just because we must remember the Lesson of Clinton and recognize when we've lost someone to their smears.
posted by sotonohito at 5:44 PM on July 5 [44 favorites]


I urge everyone defending Biden to watch the interview - he is often confused, straight up lying, goes off on tangents that don't answer the question, and only seems to be OK when he's saying his memorized canned lines.

So he's a new ChatGPT avatar, then?
posted by zaixfeep at 5:45 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


George Stephanopoulos’ sit-down with Biden seems as much an intervention as an interview.
posted by New Frontier at 5:49 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


I couldn’t campaign against Trump because I was doin’ wars.

To me, the most damning thing was his claim that he was already showing the critics they were wrong. He doesn’t have a plan to win this election, and apparently, neither does his team.
posted by snofoam at 5:54 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


we must remember the Lesson of Clinton and recognize when we've lost someone to their smears.

I'd love to know why this doesn't work on Trump, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:57 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]



To me, the most damning thing was his claim that he was already showing the critics they were wrong


I dunno, "no, I won't submit to an independent medical evaluation and release the results to the American people" is pretty damning?
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 5:57 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


It’s over. Fridge door closed. Tomorrow the people who’ve been denying it’s over start to realize that only makes them look bad. Schumer, Jefferies, Obama and Clinton will be public by Monday. The Convention rule change package — by which Biden can be involuntarily replaced - will be out by Tuesday or Wednesday. Biden drops out by Friday. Open issue is whether he can stay in office.
posted by MattD at 6:00 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Well, I surprised myself by finding Biden in much better shape in the interview, than the prior snippet had indicated. I don't know if it was edited, I don't know if there's ten minutes of blank stares cut out, or anything like that. But what I saw was Biden, frustrated over the repetition of the same question--multiple variations of, aren't you too infirm to do this?--pushing past the question to make the case that no, he is not. I don't know how that'll play, to the undecided people who see it. But I saw someone who understood the questions he was being asked, and who didn't try to dodge them, but did try to redirect to what he thought was important. He wasn't perfect, by any means. I could've done with a little less of "here's my campaign speech"--but then again, he's on national television, it's free advertising, he may as well make the most of it. He didn't take the bait of pledging to take a neurological exam, and good for him, he shouldn't, there's no upside to that. He got Stephanopolous to admit that the polls aren't accurate, which I thought was a pretty good trick. And he pointed out that this perception that there is a growing mass of Democrat leadership turning against him, is something the media is driving.

What I didn't see was someone getting angry and ranting. He had his emotions well in control. He had a sense of humor--pained humor, maybe, but the humor was there. Since part of his argument is that this election is about character, it's essential that he portray that character in an interview like this...and I think he succeeded in that.
posted by mittens at 6:00 PM on July 5 [18 favorites]


They're repeating it now, so I guess it was a very short interview. Not 15 minutes, but maybe 25 at most?
posted by netowl at 6:02 PM on July 5


It’s not just given to Harris. I agree Michelle Obama doesn’t go for it. Hillary Clinton is possible. Newsom and Whitmer go for it - why not? Jamie Dimon talk is crazy but some billionaire putting his hat in the ring is possible. But Harris probably gets it.
posted by MattD at 6:03 PM on July 5


I'd love to know why this doesn't work on Trump, though.

It did, to the extent possible. People left the Republican party over him. Given the love of authority and power in that bunch, it was surprising it had any effect at all.

But the majority of Republicans are driven by greed or bigotry. The fitness of a candidate or welfare of other people does not matter to them. Trump also attracted both existing elements within the party and outsiders for whom his repulsiveness to decent people is part of the appeal. It is sadism. They have the power to force him on people who hate them and that is a power they crave. Every reaction of fear or disgust about Trump is further incentive to support him. That he is a sexual predator, spouse abuser, and conman is part of the thrill.

It’s over. Fridge door closed. Tomorrow the people who’ve been denying it’s over start to realize that only makes them look bad. Schumer, Jefferies, Obama and Clinton will be public by Monday. The Convention rule change package — by which Biden can be involuntarily replaced - will be out by Tuesday or Wednesday. Biden drops out by Friday. Open issue is whether he can stay in office.


I hope you are right, but I don't trust any of those people to put the welfare of the country over internal party politics. Here's hoping I am being too cynical.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:04 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


There has to be more tape from that interview. It ended abruptly and 22 minutes is just too short.
posted by glaucon at 6:07 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


The whole thing showed he was an unfit candidate living in a world of make-believe. He has no plan, he doesn’t know how poorly he is doing, he refuses to recognize he is behind and collapsing in the polls, he discounts the calls from fellow elected officials for him to step down, he refuses to answer questions about his fitness for a next term. He could have answered any of these questions honestly and acknowledged the mismanagement of his campaign and need to switch gears to come out ahead by November. But no, he lied and refused to answer most of the questions. If he just wants to talk about his first term accomplishments, he can retire today and do that all day long (or 10 to 4 with a nap after lunch).
posted by snofoam at 6:07 PM on July 5 [24 favorites]


Biden being able to recite the accomplishments of his term while being unable to show his fitness for campaign or office just makes me want to nominate whoever has actually been running the country for the last few years.
posted by snofoam at 6:19 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


"All I want out of life is a 30 share and a 20 rating." --Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen in Network, 1976.

It's very possible that Biden has actually slid into a deteriorating state over the last so many months. And I'm warming quickly to the idea of a Harris campaign and presidency. But I have no illusions that the political press is pushing any narrative out of a sense of decency or civic responsibility. They want a spectacle to sell, regardless of who gets hurt. They're front and center in the list of institutions that will not save us.
posted by gimonca at 6:28 PM on July 5 [27 favorites]



Somebody brought up AOC and while she’s been too young to legally become president for a while, it turns out that this October she’ll be 35. Hmmm.


AOC would lose likely by more than 150 EVs. Trump’s attacks on socialism resounded with certain voting blocs, and it would be turned to eleventy billion. In 2020 he wanted Bernie to be the nominee for a reason.
posted by azpenguin at 6:33 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Biden's answer about how he'll feel in January if Trump wins and everything he's warned about comes to pass... Oof.

Biden: I'll feel, as long as I gave it my all, and I did as good a job as I know I can do, that's what this is about.

Narrator: it was not, in fact, what this is about.
posted by Gadarene at 6:34 PM on July 5 [65 favorites]


Biden's answer about how he'll feel if Trump wins... Oof.

Biden: I'll feel, as long as I gave it my all, and I did as good a job as I know I can do, that's what this is about.


Yeah, this is fucking damning. You can't try to terrorize all your potential voters with the message that only you can Save Democracy In America, and then say shit like this.
posted by adrienneleigh at 6:36 PM on July 5 [52 favorites]


But he did!
posted by glaucon at 6:38 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Options for managing a campaign transition:

Scenario: Party leaders have closed door meetings, come out, announce that the new person is who you're all going to support now. Might be Harris, might be someone else. Done wrong, my assumption is that this approach fails hard.

Scenario: Party messaging comes out that Biden will step aside from the campaign, and that the process will parallel what's in the Constitution: when the President steps down, the VP takes over. In this case, the VP, Harris, is the new candidate. This is an easy-to-understand concept. Harris moves forward, takes over Biden's delegates at the convention and leads the campaign into November. My take: has a decent chance of working.

Scenario: Biden withdraws from campaign, releases his delegates before the convention, it's a wide-open field. You still have a big majority of convention delegates who were elected/selected to support Biden anyway, it's likely they'd coalesce around Harris. Messaging is that these delegates were elected by the people (not all of them were, but most were), and now they'll pick a new candidate. Somewhat more risk in this scenario if someone else jumps in and gets too competitive and combative. My take: also has a chance of working.

Note that the right wing noise machine will invent a reason to shriek about any of these. They will also be loud and obnoxious if Biden stays in the race. What that chunk of the commentariat is going to say should not be a serious factor, one way or the other.

Could be other hypothetical scenarios, those are the three that come to mind.
posted by gimonca at 6:41 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Somebody brought up AOC and while she’s been too young to legallyed become president for a while, it turns out that this October she’ll be 35.

And Jasmine Crockett is 45. She is all in on Biden but imagine her in a debate with Napoleon Bone-Aspur. Sliced, diced and cut into julienne fries in seconds. Well, a fella can dream can't he?
posted by y2karl at 6:44 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Biden being able to recite the accomplishments of his term while being unable to show his fitness for campaign or office just makes me want to nominate whoever has actually been running the country for the last few years.

By all regards, these are his accomplishments. The IRA, Ukraine, infrastructure, the slate of consumer rights, gun control, and pro-worker measures his administration has passed-- as far as I know, every account has it that Biden was personally deeply involved in all those aspects of his administration. The problem, of course, is that was then. Will that continue to be the case throughout a prospective four year term? That's what people want to know. That's the assurance they need to vote for him.

I watched the Stephanoupolos interview. I'm not sure what some of y'all who said he was confused or a trainwreck or whatnot were watching. He was... fine. Just fine. He didn't cartwheel into the room and then bench press Stephanopoulos for reps or anything but he firmly defended his accomplishments, pushed back somewhat effectively on some of Stephanopoulos's assertions, showed some of what I suppose many would call the "classic Biden humor." He came across at many points like the Biden a lot of people have grown fond of over time-- likable, avuncular, humorous, a bit prone to bloviation.

But, you know, he also wasn't great. He didn't really effectively address the age concern when asked directly, or at the very least acknowledge it was a valid concern. Cracking a smile and telling Stephanoupolos to try and live his daily schedule looked good, but it's not gonna leave anybody who had serious concerns about his age feeling like those concerns were heard and taken seriously. This ain't Reagan in 1984, one zinger isn't gonna fix it. And what Gadarene and adrienneleigh said as well.

The problem with the interview isn't that it was a trainwreck-- it really wasn't, it was fine-- but just that.. it was never going to do what it was intended to do. I don't think there was any way this interview was going to undo the damage caused by the debate and the media frenzy that followed. At best, it might have shown Biden taking concerns about his age and fitness seriously, telling the public he hears them and that he understands those concerns, acknowledging that he's behind but making it clear he has a plan of action to come back from it, explaining his vision for the next four years. He didn't really do the fourth thing, and very much didn't do the first three.
posted by Method Man at 6:45 PM on July 5 [16 favorites]


switching the candidates is the worst possible scenario

i thought the interview was fine but it really depends on how motiviated the ny times and other elites are to force trump on the nation and what sort of slack biden can get them to cut

(on preview most of what method man said)
posted by lescour at 6:47 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what some of y'all who said he was confused or a trainwreck or whatnot were watching

I was watching Biden repeatedly not answer the question he was asked and go off on a ten-minute meandering mishmash of obviously canned talking points that didn't relate at all to the substance of the questions he was being asked; I imagine other people who saw a trainwreck were seeing the same thing.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 6:48 PM on July 5 [21 favorites]


It appears that the elite controlled mainstream media has been reporting on Trump’s series of embarrassments, if only because they are salacious and novel, but people who vote for him think it’s charming that he goes on about cannibals at rallies, called one of his show contestants slurs and got sued for sexual assault. At a certain point the public does what they want with that information.
posted by Selena777 at 6:54 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


I was watching Biden repeatedly not answer the question he was asked and go off on a ten-minute meandering mishmash of obviously canned talking points that didn't relate at all to the substance of the questions he was being asked; I imagine other people who saw a trainwreck were seeing the same thing.

Without seeing it, that description makes me think of an average competent politician doing normal politician things - the politician things that we find irritating but that keep getting the ones who are best at it elected. Was it worse than that in some other way?
posted by clawsoon at 6:55 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Was it worse than that in some other way?


He looked confused, lost, kept looking off into the distance and not at the interviewer with a fixed expression, gave meandering unrelated answers to specific questions...if the point of the interview was to reassure the American people that Joe Biden has enough on the ball to bounce back and take the fight to Trump it has to be rated as a failure.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 6:59 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


I just watched the interview and... meh.

He defended his accomplishments domestic and foreign strongly. He slammed Trump repeatedly.

Yet he garbled some sentences early on (did he invent the word "preparance"?) and his voice got weaker and more hoarse. He refused to agree to an external health test - that was clear, although Steph. had to box him in.

Some of this was just typical politico behavior, like returning to talking points and dodging questions.

Right now I don't think the interview decided anything. If you thought he was failing, you got some evidence of that. If you thought Biden was in ok enough shape to win November, you could see that.
posted by doctornemo at 7:01 PM on July 5 [10 favorites]


I'd love to know why this doesn't work on Trump, though.

The media is a paid organ of propaganda for the oligarchy

Also, the only alternative is Harris

There's not going to be some darkhorse coming swinging out of a contested convention

This is not the West Wing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:02 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


“Take a Deep Breath and Think About What You Need to Do,” Kelly Hayes, Organizing My Thoughts, 03 July 2024

“Strongman, Weak State,” Don Moynihan, Can We Still Govern?, 04 July 2024

“‘A Republic If You Can Keep It,’” Daniel W. Drezner, Drezner’s World, 04July 2024

“This is War,” Matt Bors, Bors Comics, 05 July 2024

“A Fool's Hope,” , The Reframe, 05 July 2024

“To Stay in the Fight, We Must Navigate Trauma and Find the Healing We Need,” Kelly Hayes, Truthout, 05 July 2024

P.S. One. Way Out.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:03 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


go off on a ten-minute meandering mishmash of obviously canned talking points

To be fair, each one of these meandering non-answers was maybe a minute long, but just seemed much longer.

makes me think of an average competent politician

He is such a weak candidate he literally had to rush out an interview to prove that he can say a full sentence in a last ditch attempt to keep his political allies from forcing him out of the race. And it didn’t work.
posted by snofoam at 7:05 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


I was watching Biden repeatedly not answer the question he was asked and go off on a ten-minute meandering mishmash of obviously canned talking points that didn't relate at all to the substance of the questions he was being asked; I imagine other people who saw a trainwreck were seeing the same thing.

He looked confused, lost, kept looking off into the distance and not at the interviewer with a fixed expression, gave meandering unrelated answers to specific questions...if the point of the interview was to reassure the American people that Joe Biden has enough on the ball to bounce back and take the fight to Trump it has to be rated as a failure.

This seems like hyperbole to me and I even agree with you that the interview failed to accomplish what it was intended to. Yeah, he evaded some of the questions-- most politicians learn pretty quickly that when you get a tough question to which you don't have a good answer, you deflect. He deflected, not in the most elegant fashion. I think the real problem is not that he deflected but that he didn't have a good answer to the questions where he deflected, because without those answers, this interview was never going to do much good.
posted by Method Man at 7:05 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Biden needed to show that the debate was an aberration, a freakishly poorly timed sick day that wasn't indicative of where he's at. This Biden was essentially the same Biden we saw at the debate last week.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:15 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


This seems like hyperbole to me

Biden needed to look competent, alert, focused, and decisive after his debate performance; he looked querulous, feeble, and unfocused. That interview isn't going to move the needle any.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:15 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


well, if trump can get away with avoiding questions, and we all know he did, it's hardly fair to condemn biden for it

my impression is that he's mentally there, but just as his doctor said, he's exhausted - or more accurately, he was exhausted then and he's just plain tired now

he needs to let it go - he's not going to make it through the next 4 years - at some point a person has to say, i've fought my fight, i've done what i could and now it's time to retire and rest

he is at that point - the stress of that job is going to get him

i don't think trump's going to make it through the next 4 years either

and i honestly feel that the most senile, mentally challenged participants in this election are the american electorate for actually putting up with this without howls of protest that neither party is giving us a good candidate

god, we'll swallow anything, won't we, as long as we're not taxed or personally inconvenienced
posted by pyramid termite at 7:16 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


okay so biden needs to go and harris is the only possible replacement. but it turns out that that’s pretty fortunate actually. the only way to win at this point is to say the word “pedophile” as often as possible as loudly as possible, and harris can run campaign ads about child molesters locked up while she was in office that end with a promise (implicit? nah, explicit!) to put the pedophile donald trump in prison.

in a debate she could keep saying things like “americans, don’t trust your little girls with this man! don’t trust your little boys with this man!” over and over again, because if she says it enough and if she says it just right she’ll be able to bait him into shouting “i don’t molest boys!” and then it’s game over for pedo donny.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 7:18 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


I am having the sudden realization that there are many people out there who have as much disdain for Biden as they do for Trump.

Hearing the whole "I don't know what he's even done for the past four years schtick" is getting real old, too. At some point it's on you to not only read the clickbait. I can't handle following politics that deeply anymore, but even just from headlines I see around the Internet I've got a decent idea about good stuff that has happened thanks to Biden and his administration.

And personally, I don't actually give a shit if he's got a year left in him or four years left. The Constitution has a succession plan. I'm fine with Harris finishing out his term if something should happen.

TBH, I kinda feel like all this shit about replacing Biden is coming from the same place, if not the exact same assholes, who were angry that the Democratic Party didn't ignore the results of the primary vote and anoint Bernie the winner anyway and ceaselessly attacked Clinton as a result. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
posted by wierdo at 7:18 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


I am having the sudden realization that there are many people out there who have as much disdain for Biden as they do for Trump.

He's more than earned it.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:20 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


here are many people out there who have as much disdain for Biden as they do for Trump

Biden is a war criminal who belongs in the dock in the Hague along with his old friend Netanyahu. His active support of genocide has earned every bit of that disdain and more besides (along with his previous support of the Iraq War, quite honestly; I did the pragmatic thing in 2020 and voted for him, and voted for Clinton in 2016, but I sincerely loathe both of them and would have liked a better option).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:25 PM on July 5 [13 favorites]


jenfullmoon I think it's entirely possible it might work on Republicans, including Trump. Problem is it would have to be smearing him with something they care about and think is bad.

They like that Trump is a racist.

They like that Trump is a rapist.

They like that Trump is a misogynist.

They like that Trump is stupid.

They like that Trump is a criminal.

They like that Trump wants to be a dictator.

They know he's not really a Christian and they don't care.

Any of those, except the last perhaps, would tank a Democrat but what will hurt a Democrat is not what will hurt a Republican. And the things that will hurt Trump are not the things that will hurt Biden. They might not like that Trump is senile, but as long as he can keep shouting at rallies they can pretend he isn't and more important it just doesn't matter much to them if he is or not.

What would hurt Trump?

Convincing them that he's not manly, AS THEY DEFINE MANLY. Emphasis because their definition won't match how most people here would define it.

Convincing them that he's in league with a foreign power they think is bad (China or Iran perhaps), they are in favor of him being in league with Russia [1].

Convincing them that he wants to take their guns.

The problem is all of that takes years of work and a media machine that will amplify fringe positions and loons until the mainstream media has to talk about it if just to cover the "controversy" and thus the lies work into the general discourse for people who don't much care about politics.

For Biden, they've been pushing the senile and unable to perform his duties idea more or less since he was first nominated in 2020. And at first it sounded silly and made them seem foolish. But over time it wormed into the narrative. And, of course, the fact that Biden was hiding from the media instead of being out there visibly not being feeble and senile made their job a lot easier. Then came the debate which seemed to validate their smears and it got a lot more firmly embedded in people's minds.

Even if we could magic an entire liberal spin machine into existence, complete with a dedicated cable channel, dozens of websites, podcasts, a host of editorialists, a massive presence on every talking heads show, etc I'm not at all sure there'd be time to smear Trump with something that would really turn Republicans against him. And it would probably have to be completely fictitious which many Democratic leaning people object to on philosophic grounds.

TL;DR: it would work against Republicans but only if they are attacked and smeared on things that matter to Republican voters and only if there's an entire media apparatus working to spread the smear.

Ray Walston, Luck Dragon The West Wing comment is spot on. West Wing was basically political porn for liberals. It took place in a world where explaining things to people, being condescending and putting Republicans in their place, actually WORKED and really did shame them into silence.

This particular clip is the near platonic ideal of what I'm talking about https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSXJzybEeJM&t=70s. He traps her with his witty explanation, he forces her to look silly, stupid, and shames her into silence showing the world just how stupid and primitive those Republicans really are. All the "ZOMG President totally OWNS right wing twit!" tweets and so on practically write themselves.

We, because I'm into that sort of fantasy too, absolutely LOVE the idea of putting them down and winning by the sheer power of explaining why they're wrong.

And it's 100% fantasy because in the real world it never works out.

If we want to successfully smear and tear down Republicans we have to do it in their cultural language and by their standards, not ours. And explaining at them, no matter how much we want it to, will never work.

[1] Which seems odd at first but actually makes a lot of sense. Russians are white. Russians are Christian. During the Cold War they built up the image of Russians as powerful, smart, worthy foes. So as soon as they dropped Communism and leaned into misogyny, homophobia, and Christofascism in general the myth of the Strong Worthy Warrior Russian meant that Conservatives would almost inevitably fall in love with Russia.
posted by sotonohito at 7:27 PM on July 5 [29 favorites]


Good news about the Supreme Court turning the President into a King then. He's actually got the authority to do what you want him to do now Well, not the authority so much as the ability to ignore federal law requiring him to do certain things without fear of prosecution.

Three cheers for John Roberts and the seditionist 6 (or maybe 5, ACB's concurrence wouldn't have made Presidents into kings) then!
posted by wierdo at 7:27 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Good news about the Supreme Court turning the President into a King then. He's actually got the authority to do what you want him to do now

Sorry, but what is this in reference to? (To clarify, what who wants him to do?)
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:30 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


However Biden performed in the "debate" is in the past.

What should be frightening is the post-debate media flex that someone orchestrated where almost every single outlet of political news went on the attack. I mean, I saw it, it was gigantic, almost instantaneous and it's still going. Biden's debate performance is somehow a bigger story than the ex-president getting convicted on a boatload of felonies.
posted by Sphinx at 7:41 PM on July 5 [33 favorites]


If we want to successfully smear and tear down Republicans we have to do it in their cultural language and by their standards, not ours. And explaining at them, no matter how much we want it to, will never work.

It's like reading a book to a dog. The truth is, they want to do what they want to do, and any argument against that is invalid. You or I can be successfully persuaded that a course of action can be abandoned, even if that knowledge disappoints us. These are emotional toddlers who live for sensations that make them happy. You will never convince them they are wrong, because they feel right. There's no point in talking about it.

Ironically, this is why I expect more from democrats, because -- possibly incorrectly -- I believe they are capable of making adult decisions.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:41 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


It might be best for the country if someone extorted Jon Stewart into running (since he won’t do it willingly, and would definitely win).

Hard pass on this both-siding jerk.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:42 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


Good news about the Supreme Court turning the President into a King then. He's actually got the authority to do what you want him to do now

Biden is not going to order SEAL Team 6 to assassinate Trump, and even if he did as an official act, he'd be put in The Hague for it because laws aren't real. They're just a bunch of Calvinball that keep the ruling class in power.
posted by AlSweigart at 7:43 PM on July 5 [17 favorites]


Which seems odd at first but actually makes a lot of sense. Russians are white. Russians are Christian.

It's not even about that, it's that Putin took in the Christofascists when they were on the outs after Obama's election, Obergefell, and all that. Not only did he literally give many of them a home as they left the country in disgust, he took on their cause and promoted it within Russia. They therefore feel a deep debt of gratitude and very much think of him as one of them in a way they don't even think of Trump.

This is why Trump absolutely will not say anything bad about Russia. He knows damn well they'd pick Putin over him any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It helps that he gives zero shits about Project 2025 or any of their other plans. It's all jolly to him as long as they don't get in the way of his grifting.
posted by wierdo at 7:44 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


wierdo We've been explicitly saying we utterly hate him at least since 2020, it's hardly a secret.

He's awful.

But Trump has somehow managed to actually be worse so I voted for Biden in 2020 (for all the good it did, I'm Texan so my vote doesn't count), and if he's on the ballot in 2024 I'll vote for him again (for all the good it will do because I'm still in Texas where my vote means jack shit).

And the truth is, I feel about that level of disdain for any mainstream Democrat you care to name.

I didn't vote for them because I liked them, I voted for them because as horrible as they were they were still better than the Republicans.

I don't think my current belief that he's tanking the possibility of a Democratic victory in November is rooted in that loathing of him. I hated him as much back in 2020 as I do now and I thought he had a pretty good shot at winning then.

Nor, I should mention, is my dislike of him due to any Sanders love. I'm not all that fond of Sanders and I damn sure don't buy into conspiracy shit about him being shut out. I've long accepted that most people are bootlickers at heart and as a result leftism will never be anything but a fringe belief. I hate it, but you don't get anywhere by denying reality.

On not previewing: Yes, definitely that too re: Russia and Republicans.
posted by sotonohito at 7:45 PM on July 5 [8 favorites]


Kudos to Biden for beating Trump last time. He has accomplished many more good things than I would have thought possible in this political climate. Overall a successful term and he is a million times better than Trump and a good person.

It’s also clear that he can’t run this campaign and he can’t win this race. I don’t know why he can’t see that. I can only imagine that trusted colleagues are being more direct with him about his need to step aside than they are in their public comments. It is sad to see, and the longer this goes on the worse it is for the campaign, and by extension the future of the whole earth.
posted by snofoam at 7:47 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


What should be frightening is the post-debate media flex that someone orchestrated where almost every single outlet of political news went on the attack.

The sitting president of the US being borderline incoherent during a massively viewed, televised debate is newsworthy. It is important and it is frightening and it is exciting depending on who your audience is.

Maybe someone did somehow have a massive media machine in every news network, just waiting for the word 'go' if Biden showed any weakness. It certainly isn't impossible. But it also isn't necessary. The media reaction wasn't too far different from the reactions of ordinary people watching the debate.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:47 PM on July 5 [26 favorites]


My unsolicited advice for Grandpa Joe: Lean into that shit.

Pick five or so issues to campaign on, just to keep it simple. Then get together with five or so up and coming Democrats, aka, the future, and have them decide if they want to headline a particular issue or work together as a team to deal with said issues. This is your very public braintrust to head up these major issues, be in singularly or as a team.

The issues would be probably be Roe v Wade, rising housing prices, immigration, foreign policy, health care, and the US space program. The last one is a personal thing for me, just pat me (not Joe) on the head about it and let me prattle on about rockets at times.

Then, grandpa Joe, say this: "Yeah, I'm old and don't walk and talk as well as I once did. So what, I'm still on the right side of these issues and i know the american public wants these issues to be worked out, so that's what I'm gonna focus on and that's where I'm gonna need your help. Vote for candidates, Democrat or Republican, who are solidly behind these issues and vote out anyone who isn't. That's the only way we'll get bills through Congress to support this stuff." There's better ways to say this, get the speech writers together, my caffeine reserves are slow.

Then just hammer that shit home for the next four months. Repeatedly and completely. Ask the Democrats to start proposing bills related to this stuff and when they're shot down because of Republicans, point it out the American public. Remind them that we could be getting all of these if it wasn't for the Republicans and Donald Trump (especially on immigration).

Also, at the next debate, ignore the rules and ask Trump this question the first chance you get to speak: "Do you believe you lost the 2020 election" Then just pick at him about that. "But what about the 60+ court cases that said there was no cheating, some of those cases decided by judges you appointed, how do you explain that?" Push that button repeatedly. Ignore what the moderators say, you're the goddamn President of these United States, quit fucking around and letting people shape you.

When you're elected, appoint me head of NASA with a 30 billion a year budget. We'll put a statue of you on Europa, I promise.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 PM on July 5 [26 favorites]


"This is happening again and a lot of you are falling for it again."

(Link is a screenshot of various 2016 headlines questioning Hillary Clinton's health and asking questions about her replacement.)
posted by AlSweigart at 7:50 PM on July 5 [23 favorites]


Come on.
posted by Gadarene at 7:52 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


but even just from headlines I see around the Internet I've got a decent idea about good stuff that has happened thanks to Biden and his administration.

Omg wait till you hear about the bad stuff!!!!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:54 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


(Link is a screenshot of various 2016 headlines questioning Hillary Clinton's health and asking questions about her replacement.)

Yeah, the media loves that sort of thing. There is no need for a conspiracy. But even if there were, there is a reason replacing Clinton was not taken seriously in 2016, but replacing Biden is getting traction from people with actual influence in 2024.

The right were claiming Biden was senile pretty much from day one. They tried to use the documents case against him to claim he was losing it. And it got basically no traction, despite their being several notable gaffes to point to as evidence. That changed when a large chunk of the country watched him barely function for an hour on live television. The repeated refrain that this is all media manipulation isn't going to work.

This is the Democrats go to reply now. Criticise Biden's record, you're a Russian bot. People oppose Biden's Israel policy, they are brainwashed by the Chinese App. People think a visibly unfit man is unfit, they've fallen for the trickery of the right wing cabal that runs the media. At some point you have to accept that people can just think your candidate sucks.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:58 PM on July 5 [18 favorites]


Meh, a feeble Biden is still a helluva lot better than Trump. That's needs to be hammered home also. Have Kamala step up and be more active so that people know if Biden does get terrible, there's a qualified person to step in, the Constitution already thought of that. You remember that document don't you (general you, not a specific you), the one the Republicans have been trying to dismantle?

Be that ornery grandpa that has the right ideas, but is past their prime. Lean into it grandpa. 'Cause you're never gonna win trying to prove to people that everything is fine, so don't even go that route.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 PM on July 5 [13 favorites]


Meh, a feeble Biden is still a helluva lot better than Trump.

Ask Hillary Clinton how far that gets you.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:06 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


a feeble Biden is still a helluva lot better than Trump.

Sure, but a feeble Biden is not going to be elected. That’s the reason why people are worried about this.
posted by snofoam at 8:13 PM on July 5 [34 favorites]


I hate to keep bringing it back to this, but why is this feeble old man the best thing the democratic party has to offer? Doesn't that sound strange to anybody else?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:24 PM on July 5 [31 favorites]


If you didn't watch the debate, you probably saw almost every media organisation in existence immediately devote wall to wall coverage of (how Biden might drop out / is about to drop out / needs to drop out / why hasn't he dropped out yet, it has been a week) and thought what the fuck this has to be a coordinated attack or conspiracy.

Please go back and actually watch the whole debate, not just clips. It's the worst debate performance I've ever seen. It's a performance so bad that it would bar someone from being Miss USA, let alone president.
posted by zymil at 8:30 PM on July 5 [23 favorites]


Overall a successful term and he is a million times better than Trump and a good person.

(From the previous Biden thread: Is he old? Yes. Is he frail? Perhaps. Is he a liar, a cheat, a racist, a fascist, a felon? No.)

When I reacted to the second comment in the previous thread, I wasn’t saying don’t vote for Biden or whoever the Democratic candidate is. I wasn’t arguing that Biden has done nothing good for Americans. And I wasn’t arguing that Trump would be better for Palestinians.

I was trying to point out the utter erasure of Palestinians as human beings that is inherent in claiming that Biden is a “good person” or “not a racist.” He is helping Israel to exterminate Palestinians by continuing to provide that country with weapons. In that context, you can’t claim he is a “good person” or “not a racist” unless you believe Palestinians don’t count as human beings with the same universal human rights as we do (or you keep forgetting that Palestinians exist and are currently being exterminated, which amounts to the same thing).

Saying “I am aware of what Biden is responsible for in Gaza but I have decided to vote for him anyway for xx reasons” is fundamentally different because it doesn’t utterly erase Palestinian humanity.
posted by mydonkeybenjamin at 8:33 PM on July 5 [19 favorites]


The thing that makes it feel like a media conspiracy is how little it seems to me that it actually matters for the governance of the country whether Biden steps down or not. Even well before the debate, I expected Harris would very likely end up taking over a lot of the duties of president. Because he's in fact old.

Like, I'm guessing the reason he hasn't handed the torch off to her is because the polls say America's still too racist and sexist to vote for a competent black woman over an aging white guy.

I hate to keep bringing it back to this, but why is this feeble old man the best thing the democratic party has to offer? Doesn't that sound strange to anybody else?

Why is he the best thing the entire political establishment has to offer?
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:40 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


>duties of president

these, actually, approach nil.
posted by torokunai at 8:46 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


>Why is he the best thing the entire political establishment has to offer?

Democracy does not, and can not, select for competence. I consider myself a liberal republican in exile, like Elizabeth Warren I guess. She got my primary vote in 2016, but of course could not get the votes to be the party nominee.
posted by torokunai at 8:48 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


(^2020)
posted by torokunai at 9:08 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Someone on Twitter regarding Biden's "as long as I try my best" answer:

either democracy is on the ballot or this is a little league baseball game but it cannot be both

.
posted by Gadarene at 9:17 PM on July 5 [35 favorites]


"If nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through" -- senior Biden adviser Ron Melchett
posted by zaixfeep at 9:28 PM on July 5


David Roberts (@drvolts):
Just gonna make my one point, which is this: the idea that that the process of jettisoning Biden & choosing someone else will go well -- will be *allowed* to go well -- is a deeply deranged fantasy.

The idea that Dems will do this & will end up feeling unified, that Harris will come out popular, that "the dynamics of the race will shift," all of that ... fucking deranged. Deranged in such a perfectly characteristic Dem way.

[...]

Anyway, my point is just: none of this will change if Harris replaces Biden at the top of the ticket. The idea that the media -- with these soulless careerist court gossips in charge -- will allow it is just fantasy. They *need* Dems in disarray & so they will engineer it.

The US is right on the precipice of falling into bona fide fascism & *the vast majority of the voting public doesn't even know it*. That speaks to a deeply diseased information environment. Until Dems do something about that, all their self-flagellation will buy them nothing.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:32 PM on July 5 [29 favorites]


Logged onto Twitter and the first post was someone I follow addressing that precise argument:

Then the election is just lost and we should hand Trump back the WH right now. If you believe campaigns matter, then it matters if you have the candidate best able to combat the media and its nonsense.

.
posted by Gadarene at 9:36 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


either democracy is on the ballot or this is a little league baseball game but it cannot be both

So much for not putting ego above the good of the country, I guess. Wasn't that long ago that people were laughing at the egotism of Trump's "I alone can fix it", and here's Biden doing the exact same thing. One way or another, it looks like America may end up being destroyed because of one man's ego, ambition, and pride; it'd be almost bleakly funny if it weren't tragic if that turns out to be the guy everyone thought was a saviour, at first.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:43 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


Sorry I didn't read all of this thread but my question has been: why the hell did the campaign have him participate in the debate? What value did they think that could possibly add for team Biden?
posted by latkes at 9:45 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


> Then the election is just lost and we should hand Trump back the WH right now. If you believe campaigns matter, then it matters if you have the candidate best able to combat the media and its nonsense.

Except this isn't a D&D character generator or a fantasy sports draft. We can't wish away the existence of a political process that would do a massive amount of damage to whoever emerges from the process of getting from Biden to your favorite alternative, and despite the nearly infinite capacity of the Internet and the large amount of thinking going into finding a plausible story of how we get there, nobody's managed to do it without yadda-yadda-ing the part where whoever comes out of that process takes a ton of arrows from within the party, and then from the same diseased media and GOP hitmen.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:47 PM on July 5 [5 favorites]


Except this isn't a D&D character generator or a fantasy sports draft. We can't wish away the existence of a political process that would do a massive amount of damage to whoever emerges from the process of getting from Biden to your favorite alternative, and despite the nearly infinite capacity of the Internet and the large amount of thinking going into finding a plausible story of how we get there, nobody's managed to do it without yadda-yadda-ing the part where whoever comes out of that process takes a ton of arrows from within the party, and then from the same diseased media and GOP hitmen.

Harris. Next.

Process is already underway and would be more than straightforward if Biden would just gracefully bow out rather than caring more about proving people wrong than about his legacy as the person who let democracy die, but there you go.

Biden's prospects for reelection have been fatally damaged, whether he recognizes it or not. Harris polls ahead of Biden vs Trump and is the natural successor. The Trump campaign would LOVE for Biden to stay in. Whatever slings and arrows they might throw at Harris won't make her campaign as dead as Biden's already is. Full stop.
posted by Gadarene at 9:54 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


(and I really, really, REALLY dislike Harris's politics. But I need to see Trump defeated, and Biden has become a terrible person to do that)
posted by Gadarene at 9:55 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Biden's not a genocidal egotist.

He's a boring, work-within-the-system centrist who thought he chum up with the Israelis. could soft power Netanyahu into not being genocidal and whose decision on whether to step aside is almost certainly based on polling as to whether he or Harris has a better chance of winning.

If the polling continues to suggest Harris, I expect he will step down.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:58 PM on July 5 [12 favorites]


the process of getting from Biden to your favorite alternative

Pretty much everyone commenting here who thinks Biden's candidacy is non-viable would be vote for pretty much any alternative who can demonstrate competence, active engagement, and a capacity to govern. We have credible reports of his rapid senescence and increasing disengagement that should honestly be triggering discussions of the 25th Amendment, not merely replacing him on the ticket. I think if anyone has a "favorite alternative", it's "someone who isn't going to lose to Trump".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:01 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


I don't care that Biden did the politician thing of dodging questions so much as what questions he dodged - a lot of pretty simple questions that voters deserve answers to - like, will you undergo neurological testing?

The thing that makes it feel like a media conspiracy is how little it seems to me that it actually matters for the governance of the country whether Biden steps down or not.

Again, in the last week it's been reported that a wide range of elites (donors, politicians, journalists, etc.) have witnessed Biden be mentally unwell, similar to the debate, with increasing frequency, especially in the last six months. Recent reporting also suggests that he is increasingly isolated in the White House, to the degree that it's not even clear who is making a lot of decisions - him or his staff. So yeah, I actually would say this matters to the governance of the country.

Like, I'm guessing the reason he hasn't handed the torch off to her is because the polls say America's still too racist and sexist to vote for a competent black woman over an aging white guy.

Except the polls don't say that. I don't feel like Googling them, but you can find them mentioned in the previous thread.

Why is he the best thing the entire political establishment has to offer?

Here, we can only speculate. Look, I have seen people in the early stages of cognitive decline. It's always a really sad time and often the person gets angry and has a hard time facing the possibility.* What's more, politics is kinda like the mafia - there is intense hierarchy. There is a reason all of the candidates in the 2020 primary dropped out all at once - it's not a conspiracy to suggest the DNC encouraged it, promising it would be held against them if they didn't, and they might be rewarded if they did. (This episode of the Run Up covered this well) And so we got Biden at the top, and while it may be easier to topple a president than a king, I think this is all revealing that it's still pretty hard to topple a president that doesn't want to give up power. The DNC set up the primaries to be favorable to Biden and squashed any chance there would be a completive primary. Given that the Republicans have been making fun of "Sleepy Joe" since 2019, I can imagine a lot of people were nervous about seeming like they were endorsing alt-right talking points. And so a lot of people have just been collectively holding in their breath, at least until the debate. The only person who orchestrated the media fallout was Biden with his disastrous performance.

What bothered me about the interview was how much Biden lied about the position he's currently in. Here are just a few of the lies I can remember right now:

1. That all of the governors support him. This is a lie. At least the governor of Colorado and MA have come out with their concerns.

2. That the NYTimes poll had him down 10 points before the debate (lie) and 9 points after the debate (double lie, given that it implies he did better post-debate)

3. He claimed the polls showed him losing in 2020 (they did not) and therefore we can ignore them this time.

4. He claimed that Mark Warner (the Senator currently making moves against him) tried to get the presidential nomination in 2020 (sorta implying this is out of bitterness/spite). I haven't been able to find any evidence of that - perhaps this is less a lie than him mixing up Warner for another Senator?

5. He leaned into the conspiracy theory (which obviously some people here believe too) that this is all #FakeNews.

In short, Biden (and his supporters) is increasingly resembling Trump (and his supporters). Really depressing.

*I am not a doctor, but a few neurologists specializing in Parkinson's have gone on record recently saying that if he was a patient, based on his symptoms (trouble walking, raspy voice, slurred speech, confusion, etc.) they would feel negligent not recommending a full neurological exam to rule it out - again, they aren't diagnosing him - they are just saying that he meets a certain threshold where they would feel compelled to test.
posted by coffeecat at 10:04 PM on July 5 [20 favorites]


> Harris. Next.

I'd love to live in a country and media environment that would give Harris the fair shot you seem to think she'd get given that she has most of Biden's negatives, including being part of his administration that everyone will say could have or should have pressured him to (end support of Israel's destruction of Gaza, cancel student loans, pack the court to save Roe, etc.), plus some negatives of her own, including also not being a great public speaker or a charismatic campaigner. On the "pro" side of the ledger, she'd presumably get the campaign war chest and she's not showing signs of cognitive decline. How that nets out to a better chance at a win does not come across as obvious as you seem to think it is.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:05 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


why the hell did the campaign have him participate in the debate?

It's a good question! At this point, given his apparent delusions and stubbornness, I'm starting to wonder if he was encouraged not to do it and he just ignored them (much like he's ignored advice to involve Hunter less).
posted by coffeecat at 10:06 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I think that if Biden resigns and Kamala Harris runs as the incumbent... ...all the questions voters had about Biden's age, would suddenly be about Trump.
posted by interogative mood


It would be the big plus in that scenario, by neutralising Trump's most effective campaign line against Biden, however unjustified and shamelessly hypocritical it may be, and throwing the spotlight firmly back on his obvious age and mental infirmity.

Though no doubt he has others he could use against Harris.

Beyond that I have no idea what the best option is in the current circumstances, if for no other reason than I have no idea of the real story and general machinations behind the scenes, and no crystal ball. All paths from here are clearly fraught with serious danger. Changing horses now is not going to be easy or obviously offer a clear advantage. That can only be known post-change.

The fact that the second debate is not until September is a major concern, because if Biden fails to deliver there then it is too late to replace him. Any new leader will need some time to stamp themselves on the job and there is already little of that left. If there is going to be a change at the top it will have to be soon, maybe two weeks max.

I don't know the mechanics of it, but there is one serious particular concern with that path, which is how the new VP is chosen for the interim and the opportunity that might offer the Repubs to indulge in some real bastardry over it. It may well be why there is such a hard push for it to happen by, um, certain forces not necessarily friendly to the Dems. It gives them a chance to rat fuck on steroids before the election is even held.

The track record of actual elections, as opposed to polls, in recent times strongly favours the Dems, including critically in previously strong Repub polities. I remain unconvinced of the reliability of polling of late, and am fairly sure that Dem voters already intending to turn out under Biden will still do so, regardless of who the Dem leader is, because they are not turning out for Biden so much as turning out to stop Trump and the descent into degenerate kleptocratic tyranny that is all he is offering.

In the meantime, the one thing I am sure of is that the Dems and their leadership, should ruthlessly exploit the fucking bejeebus out of the the Epstein related accusations against Trump. That could be the last straw for any waverers about Trump, or those feeling unmotivated about making the effort to turn out for the Dems. Hit them where it really hurts, a parent's worst possible nightmare about their children.
posted by Pouteria at 10:23 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


She’s seen as very pro-cop in a party which is highly sympathetic to the abolish-the-police ethos

Multiple Gallup polls suggest the opposite. Support to abolish remains consistent at 27% for Democrats and 15% nationwide.

Support for major reform is much, much higher. Harris can win over a large majority with that message.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:43 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Man I’m soooo excited about the prospect of a new candidate - as long as they’re under 70 and reasonably coherent I’ll be thrilled. Everyone I know is absolutely hungry for some representation by the younger generation.

I’m still pretty bitter about RBG and Diane Feinstein. It’s such arrogance to think that holding public office is something anyone is entitled to - it is a privilege and the people who get to run the country should be at the absolute top of their game.

Anyway, fingers crossed that the dam breaks soon!
posted by catcafe at 10:46 PM on July 5 [28 favorites]


Ones argument in favor of Harris is that a lot of younger voters are turned off by another old, white men election. Having a fresh(er) face might get some people to vote who would stay home in the current race.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:17 PM on July 5 [7 favorites]


Ones argument in favor of Harris is that a lot of younger voters are turned off by another old, white men election. Having a fresh(er) face might get some people to vote who would stay home in the current race.

Also someone who is apparently to Biden's left on Palestine.

Which isn't hard.
posted by Gadarene at 11:21 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


"In our top story tonight, Democrats don't support their own incumbent, and they just noticed this five months out from the election. Do you trust Democrats to govern when they can't even run their own party? Let's see what our poll respondents said. This just in--the Democrats have picked their candidate, and she's a woke woman of color. Can woke win? Democrats went woke, but does America want woke? Let's have some more polls--are you tired of radical leftists shoving woke down your throat? Kamala Harris wants to defund the police! Will Kamala Harris defend our borders?..."

The major news outlets are all trying to find anything to talk about besides the news that Trump is a pedophile. And Christmas is coming early for them, because we're going to help them distract everybody with this clown show. They won't have to say one word about Trump between now and November; this is what will be in the news instead, every hour of every day.

I don't know if you guys have noticed this, but America is not a progressive utopia. Racism and misogyny are extremely powerful forces here. Engagement with politics is almost nonexistent, and anything that smacks of leftism is regarded with such deep-seated suspicion and hostility that you can't even get poor people to support programs to help poor people. If you think people even know who Kamala Harris is, you need to take a minute to reflect on the difference between our little internet kaffeeklatsch, and the general public.

I vividly remember what it was like in here the night that Hillary lost. You guys are gonna get all jazzed up again, and I have no doubt that Kamala Harris will win the Metafilter vote in a huge landslide. And then there'll be that dead feeling inside as everybody gets a refresher course in all the ways that America is unlike Metafilter.

I really hope I'm wrong.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:41 PM on July 5 [25 favorites]


America is not a progressive utopia.

Good, because Kamala Harris is not a progressive candidate.
posted by Gadarene at 11:46 PM on July 5 [19 favorites]


The head-in-the-sand-ism here is creepy. Frankly I consider it gaslighting.

The man is in serious decline — just compare his recent performance to his 2020 debate. He's too frail to do the job: to do press conferences, to handle long hours of travel and diplomacy, to forcefully communicate his message, to stay sharp through a long-running crisis, to answer the 3am phone call Hillary ran on. It's irresponsible to elect this man to four more years. It's not right. That should be enough but running him is a losing strategy to boot.

This isn't a media conspiracy. Hundreds of millions of people have seen it with their own eyes. Democratic governors and senators are troubled by what they see first-hand. The reports from every corner of Washington are consistent. It is literally a conspiracy theory to say this is a media-invented story. Shame on all of you trying to wish this away.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:47 PM on July 5 [30 favorites]


> 4. He claimed that Mark Warner (the Senator currently making moves against him) tried to get the presidential nomination in 2020 (sorta implying this is out of bitterness/spite). I haven't been able to find any evidence of that - perhaps this is less a lie than him mixing up Warner for another Senator?

Warner was widely rumoured to be looking to run for President in 2008, although he didn't. Biden might be remembering the 2008 election instead of 2020, or maybe Warner was talking about running in 2020 but again decided not to, although if he did he didn't talk about it publicly as far as I can tell. So either Biden is misremembering 2008 for 2020 or he suspects Warner is spreading the idea that Biden should drop out because Warner wants to run himself.
posted by dis_integration at 11:53 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


--only way to win at this point is to say the word “pedophile” as often as possible as loudly as possible, and harris can run campaign ads about child molesters locked up while she was in office that end with a promise (implicit? nah, explicit!) to put the pedophile donald trump in prison.

in a debate she could keep saying things like “americans, don’t trust your little girls with this man! don’t trust your little boys with this man!” over and over again--


kdot's free, I think, if the team is looking for advice - he's just filmed and dropped the MV for Not Like Us and everything.
posted by cendawanita at 11:59 PM on July 5 [11 favorites]


>America is not a progressive utopia.

>>Good, because Kamala Harris is not a progressive candidate.

In America she is. In America she's a Radical Leftist. Yes, I know that's ridiculous. But most Americans don't. The fact that people in here seem not to realize this is what worries me.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:06 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


In the America you describe, Joe Biden is a Radical Leftist.

Really.
posted by Gadarene at 12:07 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


in a debate she could keep saying things like “americans, don’t trust your little girls with this man! don’t trust your little boys with this man!” over and over again

Little hands, little pants
posted by flabdablet at 12:08 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


>This isn't a media conspiracy. Hundreds of millions of people have seen it with their own eyes.

Donald Trump is also old and suffering from cognitive decline. And he's neither smart nor studied to begin with, he lives for the abuse of power, he's an admirer of dictators, etc., etc. I surely don't need to go through the whole litany. There is absolutely nothing about Biden that is one ten-thousandth as alarming as anything you care to pick about Trump. The fact that the sirens are sounding about Biden's decline ABSOLUTELY IS a media conspiracy. The question isn't whether Biden is declining; the question is why that's being treated as the differentiating factor, when it's not.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:10 AM on July 6 [32 favorites]


>In the America you describe, Joe Biden is a Radical Leftist.

You're right, and there are people who won't vote for him for that reason. But he's also an old white guy. In the America I describe--in actual America as I suspect it exists outside of Metafilter--that's an advantage.

I'm gonna step out now, folks. I don't want to get heated about this; I hope you're all right and I'm wrong, and in a few short months Donald Trump will be defeated by Kamala Harris, because what America really wants is a youngish woman of color in the White House. The America that seems poised to decide that you shouldn't even be allowed to get divorced... I don't know, the idea that Kamala can beat Trump just doesn't correspond to anything I see happening in reality. If she's the candidate, I'll happily vote for her; I would also pull the lever for Bernie, John Stewart, Taylor Swift, Tom Lehrer, Robin Williams even though he's dead, the guy who lives across the street from me and plays 'Crazy Train' too loud sometimes, and... frankly, anybody you got, I'll vote for them, and I hope it goes well for all of us.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:24 AM on July 6 [21 favorites]


Donald Trump is also old and suffering from cognitive decline.

No, not to nearly the same extent, he's not. This is trivially demonstrated by watching the debate clip I posted. Biden was sharp in 2020. Since then he has experienced a sharp decline. Trump is still the same blowhard.

I surely don't need to go through the whole litany.

No, you don't, because it's pure cope and whataboutism to talk about the opponent in a discussion about fielding your best team. Trump being Trump is out of our control. I can't believe I have to say this but Democrats nominate Democrats and Republicans nominate Republicans — what the other team does is not something we decide.

The fact that the sirens are sounding about Biden's decline ABSOLUTELY IS a media conspiracy.

If you think the press should ignore the emperor's lack of clothes, you're part of the problem. Should they also stay mum about the swell of prominent Democrats pushing for him to step aside?
posted by daveliepmann at 12:30 AM on July 6 [21 favorites]


I hate to keep bringing it back to this, but why is this feeble old man the best thing the democratic party has to offer? Doesn't that sound strange to anybody else?

Because any other kind of person is too radical for America. Even milquetoast Joe Biden himself was accused of being a communist in 2020. There IS no single
person that can appeal to Cubans in Florida, college students in cities across America, suburban moms, Black and Latino men, and on and on and on. That shouldn't be how democracy works anyway. It should not be about the personality or even the person.

I am pro-democracy and 100% against fascism. But the bigger question we need to wrestle with, beyond Biden-Harris and Trump, is how does democracy work with a misinformed and civically uneducated electorate?
posted by ichomp at 12:46 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


The question isn't whether Biden is declining; the question is why that's being treated as the differentiating factor, when it's not.

This question is making the wrong comparison. The differentiation is between Biden and all possible Democrat candidates, over who is best fit to defeat the evil candidate. The differentiation when it comes time to vote in November will be the Democrat candidate versus the evil candidate.

There are two differential comparisons being made and a lot of internet people are making a very simple error that needs to be corrected. There is no double standard going on, there are two different comparisons both of which will be made, by two different audiences (Democrat base vs. American voters), at two different times (this week vs. November).
posted by polymodus at 12:48 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Because any other kind of person is too radical for America.

literally every biden alternative outpolls him in every battleground state. the whole lot of 'em.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:48 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


The question isn't whether Biden is declining; the question is why that's being treated as the differentiating factor, when it's not.

My question is why we weren't seeing credible rumors of this decline before the debate. Also why my eyes saw something entirely different in the interview than seems to be consensus here.

And personally, comparing Biden to Trump in terms of ability to maintain a coherent train of thought, there's little competition. Watch a Trump rally sometime. Most days the man can't finish a sentence without wandering off to another topic.

Even Obama had off debates, I remember well the gnashing of teeth here and elsewhere. It happens. But of course the narrative that Biden is old turns it into an existential crisis rather than just a bad day. It's fucking bizarre. I expect that kind of muckraking shit of the media and even from some of the scared-of-their-own-shadow Democratic backbenchers, but I don't expect it from the folks here. The level of certainty some of you are displaying seems more like the result of an anxiety spiral than anything else.
posted by wierdo at 2:09 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


"When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."

If there ever was a textbook example of this, it's news organizations talking about Biden's ability to be president and less so about Trump's ability. It's news because it's news.

Is there a reader of any big east coast newspaper who's not informed of all the many Trump failings and crimes, most of which have been covered daily for years? Dog bites man, sure. I don't see why it's a media conspiracy to talk about what went wrong at an election debate.
posted by UN at 2:14 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


my eyes saw something entirely different in the interview

Did you see Biden do better, the same, or worse than this comparable 2020 interview? In terms of both message and ability to deliver the message. Bonus points for extrapolating out the trend line another four years.

Eric Levitz does a fine job highlighting that message:
The Biden who spoke with ABC News Friday night was enfeebled, ineloquent, egotistical, and intransigent. He was a man who appeared both ready and willing to lead his party into the wilderness. Asked how he would feel if he stayed in the race and Trump were elected, Biden replied, “I'll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that's what this is about.”
posted by daveliepmann at 2:30 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


> But the bigger question we need to wrestle with, beyond Biden-Harris and Trump, is how does democracy work with a misinformed and civically uneducated electorate?


It doesn't, which is why the right has spent a century trying to prevent education from being generally available.

Southern slave owners were quite explicit that they were keeping slaves illiterate so they wouldn't be able to resist.
posted by constraint at 2:47 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


One advantage of having Kamala run against Trump is that it will feel to voters a little like a re-run of Clinton vs Trump and the floating voters might just remember and think, 'oh perhaps we should try the other option this time'. People are ready for something new.
posted by Lanark at 2:47 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Multiple Gallup polls suggest the opposite. Support to abolish remains consistent at 27% for Democrats and 15% nationwide.

I stand corrected. And horrified.

Jesus wept, maybe Biden really is the best we can do.
posted by Ryvar at 2:48 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


The question with Harris is not "is she the ideal candidate", it's "is she better than Biden, given that Biden seems extremely unlikely to pull out of whatever this slump/illness/decline may be and that there is a powerful media/party narrative saying that he needs to step down"? There are a lot of risks to continuing with Biden - four months of high stress, high stakes campaigning is going to be really hard on a very strong, sharp person, and it's going to be even harder on someone who is getting frail. It seems like Biden's performance could actually worsen as we get closer to the election, and that would be a huge disaster.

There's no way the party comes out of this looking great - the Democrats have fielded a candidate who is in some kind of serious decline. But the party is going to look a lot worse after four months of weak performance from Biden and increasing calls for a new candidate. Imagine the present climate continuing until the election.

The choice here isn't "we all shut up about Biden and then everything is going to be great". That's not on the table. The choice is "continue with 'his own party thinks he's too old and frail' discourse for four months while rolling the dice that Biden has an even worse episode than the debate" versus replacing him ASAP and most people rally round.

It is just a hideous nightmare to watch the party drive past off-ramp after off-ramp. The off-ramps are fewer and fewer and they lead to worse and worse places, and eventually we're going to pass the last one. We're on the road to having an exhausted and fading Biden totally fall apart right when it's critical to be sharp, because that is what happens when people who are getting frailer and more ill do four months of exceedingly tough campaigning.

~~
I really hate, just on a personal moral level, the way our political system encourages people to pretend that rich people never get sick and die. Dianne Feinstein's terrible end was like something out of Edgar Allen Poe, when she could have stepped down in the mid-2010s and spent her time as an advisor and with her family and friends. A terrible, tragic, shameful spectacle that in a better society would be a unique situation rather than just the most visible one, and in a better society would cause real, serious reevaluation of our power-mad, prestige-mad culture. The shameful spectacle of this decaying country gesticulating on the world stage as the dying bits drop off - this could be a good place to live, we could have good lives with dignity and comfort, but we prefer this terrible necropolitics.
posted by Frowner at 3:11 AM on July 6 [52 favorites]


The difference is, when Trump misses his train of thought, it's the audience that ends up feeling lost and confused, not him. Trump just hops on the next train and rambles on. And since confusing and overwhelming people is what he does anyway, the mental decay is more of a boost than a drawback for him. And besides, really hard to tell apart from the usual con man routines. For me, anyway.

And 'try to keep something democracy-like going' vs 'kick everything over and appoint your cronies' don't even require the same skill set. People apply different standards precisely because the two are not competing for the same job.
posted by Ashenmote at 3:12 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


(In terms of abolishing the policy, 27% seems really good to me given how misled people have been on this topic. Again, this is where a leader who wanted to lead would come in really handy - a leader who wanted to educate people on the various ways to scale back policing could move the needle, but that's not how our politics works, a leader just exists to massage the politics of wealth and white supremacy so that the rest of us will vote for them.)
posted by Frowner at 3:16 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Beau and Olbermann have posted their reactions to the interview.

Beau watched it with a group of 'normies' (i.e. typical mildly-interested but non-obsessed American voters; their verdict: Biden peformed adequately and his/their concerns were lessened though not eliminated. Beau also notes that McConnell may be as much in decline as Biden but his cunning is still fully functional, so there's that.

Olbermann was disappointed with Biden and particularly angry at his attitude about losing: a self-serving egocentic 'I'll know I did my best' instead of a more defiant and appropriate 'l will not lose.'

Beau and Keith watched the same interview and came back with very different thoughts. I'm beginning to feel like this whole thing is acting like some kind of ad hoc political Rorshach test where we all seem to see what we want to see. The reality is this is a conflict of raw political power among several interests behind-the-scenes and we're just a bunch of shadow-watching inhabitants in Plato's Cave.

So I'm going to drop back into lurk mode for this topic and I trust you all will keep doing what MeFi does best.

I do feel certain of one specific point: The NYT's coverage is worthless and damaging to democracy. I've heard from 2 sources now that Sulzberger himself is totally butthurt that Biden won't submit to an exclusive NYT interview and instead went on Howard Stern, and in turn he is actively pressing NYT staff to badmouth Biden at every opportunity.
posted by zaixfeep at 3:30 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


I think it's less a matter of people seeing what they want to see, and more a matter of people not seeing what they don't want to see. I guess now we just hope he doesn't piss himself on camera between now and November, because Biden's not logging off and there is no way to take power from him that does not result in a deeply damaged replacement candidate. I don't think America would accept a candidate no one voted for; to me, it's Biden resigns and Harris runs, or it's nothing. Anyhow, it's nothing that could possibly win.

We're fucked. I am beyond horrified by the prospect of Trump enabled by a Court that has given him carte blanche to do whatever he wants without the fear of prosecution. I don't think the democrats grasp the immense danger they've put us all in by engineering the results of a popular primary the way they've done since at least 2016. You can force an unpopular candidate onto the people, but you can't force them to vote.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:45 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


We all agree that Trump is the worst person ever and he will deeply damage our country and the world, but he is beating Biden right now by a lot.

We don’t agree about whether Biden’s fitness to lead is a media creation or a real thing that is obvious by watching him, but he is way behind and losing ground either way.

Aside from some wishful thinking here and there, I think there is a consensus that switching candidates is challenging and every option has its own problems.

But no one supporting Biden, from the man himself to the folks in this thread, has proposed a realistic way to get Biden to be a viable candidate again. (I think BB’s idea upthread about leaning into the grandpa thing and having five “grandchildren” surrogates to tackle key issues for him was suggested in earnest, but does nothing to address Biden’s viability as a candidate. I guess Biden has suggested that he will try to go to bed early, which I don’t think will move the needle in this campaign.)

Does anyone in the world have even one idea of how Biden could get himself elected? This is a presidential race, the only issue is how to win it. There is overwhelming silence about how Biden could possibly do that.
posted by snofoam at 4:15 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


I would feel better about this if I thought Biden supporters were really dedicated to opposing Trump however possible. But I have a feeling that their aren't going to be many of them out in the streets or coordinating resistance or general strikes after a Trump victory.

I feel like we're going to be askes to treat the rise of a fascist government as legitimate, just because Trump won the election.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 4:16 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


Also, I like Biden as a far as mainstream politicians go and he has accomplished a lot. But “I’ll only step down if God almighty comes to tell me to do it” is fucking psycho and narcissistic. Was that supposed to be a folksy christian joke? It’s the fate of the world we’re talking about here. It’s an unacceptable answer. It’s the answer of someone unfit to run. Someone who’s top priority was to preserve democracy would never give that answer.
posted by snofoam at 4:29 AM on July 6 [32 favorites]


What really plucks my last nerve about the recent events, is the unwavering arrogance of Biden. We will never know if it is solely his own, or something his whole family and team swim in. But this arrogance will destroy what is left of our democracy unless he steps aside. I agree snofoam that his statement about “only if God almighty “ is very CRAZY. I want him to step aside with grace and dignity.

The DNC has really screwed this up too. it has been years that people have been saying Biden is too old. This is nothing new. And Biden has been on the wrong side of many issues over the decades, in my world view and opinion. He is no angel. He has done a lot of great things this term yes, but supporting a genocide is not one of them.

I think the same people are going to vote for Trump that always were. Some people will vote for Biden sure, but a lot of people are just not going to vote. Because what is the point now?

I am an election worker, and I am still planning to work this next General election, but it is not without trepidation.
posted by tarantula at 4:53 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


the lord almighty has the opportunity to do the funniest thing ever
posted by mittens at 5:02 AM on July 6 [26 favorites]


doesn't even need absolute presidential immunity to do it, either
posted by flabdablet at 5:04 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Supposedly, there are all these "regular people" walking around saying "I'm disappointed in both candidates, I wish someone else were running".

And here we are.
posted by gimonca at 5:10 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Has anyone seen a transcript of the interview?
posted by NotLost at 5:17 AM on July 6


>feel like we're going to be askes to treat the rise of a fascist government as legitimate, just because Trump won the election

Elections have consequences, yes.
posted by torokunai at 5:30 AM on July 6


Transcript from ABC

I don't care if Biden drops out. What I would like to see is the Democratic Party stumping hard for a constitutional amendment declaring that the president is subject to criminal prosecution. Obviously they don't have 2/3rds of either chamber of Congress or 2/3rds of the states, but that doesn't mean they can't steer the conversation. Make the conversation about whether or not we want a king.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:32 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


>could get himself elected?

the 2nd year of the upcoming presidential term is our bicentennial+50.

I was in grade school at the time and it was a pretty cool national party.

Hoover Institution et al have laid out enough rope to hang themselves with "Project 2025" etc. It's up to the democrats to inform the electorate of what 2026 will look between the alternatives.

If the nation breaks for Biff, that'll be on us in that case.
posted by torokunai at 5:34 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


>Trump is the worst person ever and he will deeply damage our country and the world

he's just moving his mouth and fingers. The agents of chaos are our conservative compatriots.
posted by torokunai at 5:37 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


>You can force an unpopular candidate onto the people, but you can't force them to vote.

After 50+ years on this planet, I don't labor under the misapprehension that democratic processes work optimally.
posted by torokunai at 5:41 AM on July 6


After 50+ years on this planet, I don't labor under the misapprehension that democratic processes work optimally.

This didn't just happen on its own. The DNC very deliberately pushed the nomination toward Biden in 2020. Contrast this to the republicans in 2016, who as a party were so opposed to Trump that there was a serious question as to whether he would really get the nomination at their convention. The RNC got out of the voters' way, and, God help us all, they wound up with a candidate who won office. The DNC pushed voters to Biden in 2020, a candidate for whom there was little popular enthusiasm, and it worked then, but it's not working now. But the point I'm trying to make is this: what we're seeing is not the end result of a process working on its own. The process was guided to this end.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:48 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


Two quick points:

1. “I’ll know I did my best” is not egocentric, narcissistic, or anything else along those lines. It’s the approach that any effective activist takes, because fighting fascism and oligarchy and Christian Nationalism are long, multigenerational fights (seriously, this has been part of the political struggle in the US since before the Civil War), and to make an effective contribution you need to not get burnt out. The egocentric part is perhaps that Biden is not an activist, and eg. in promising not to use his new Supreme Court determined absolute immunity to ensure that justice and rule of law are carried out more quickly, he is certainly not doing his best. (Seriously - we having a crisis in voting rights for racially marginalized people in the US - again. Past presidents during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights eras protected voting rights via deployment of National Guards. Can you imagine Biden doing that on his own, without a groundswell of grassroots concern about voting rights, safety of voters and poll workers, and calls for him to intervene?) But partly we need to recognize that protecting democracy is all of our job. What are Olbermann and other commenters in this thread who called that some variant of egocentric doing? In Obermann’s case, certainly short of his best.

2. Democracy is not just voting in Presidential elections. And if Trump wins the upcoming election and wanna-be fascists come to power, that will not just be Biden’s fault or the Democrat Party’s fault, but also the fault of all of us (myself included) who waited to be saved from above. And especially anyone (like various ‘Beltway Pundits’) who moan and debate about whether or not Biden should step down instead of doing anything to actually protect democracy (such as it imperfectly and incompletely is) in the US (I know this doesn’t apply to several of you in this thread who have weighed in on wanting Biden to drop out of the race).
posted by eviemath at 6:01 AM on July 6 [14 favorites]


You guys are gonna get all jazzed up again, and I have no doubt that Kamala Harris will win the Metafilter vote in a huge landslide.

This comment made me feel a lot less crazy. Three million more (non-Metafilter) votes than Trump still won’t win it in the Voter Suppression States and ultimately in the Electoral College. No way putting Vice President Harris on the ballots at this point doesn’t end up in a modern day misogynoir version of “hanging chads”/stop the count/Bush v Gore-tastic type of procedural nightmare at the hands of practiced election stealers in the states and SCOTUS.

The lockstepping GOP would never be played like this about their own shitty candidate who can win. Dems need that type of audacity. (You know, the type of audacity Biden “egotist!” “arrogant!” is perhaps finally exhibiting?) May he release all Epstein and Kavanaugh files ASAP.
posted by edithkeeler at 6:06 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Heather Cox Richardson as been stumping hard for Biden in ways that, as someone farther left of center, often annoy me. But she’s still quite on point about Trump and of course about her area of expertise, American history. Today’s letter makes some good points about Trump and about the unpopularity of Project 2025. One thing we can all do is hammer home the commitments to Project 2025 that Trump himself and the Republican Party have made.
posted by eviemath at 6:15 AM on July 6 [13 favorites]


So, the difference is that the GOP doesn't think their candidate is shitty. They think he's fucking awesome. Do you think Joe Biden is fucking awesome? What is he awesome at, exactly? Enabling genocide? Letting tax credits that help poor people with kids expire? Smelling like piss? Mangling syntax? Where is he kicking ass?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


The lockstepping GOP would never be played like this about their own shitty candidate who can win. Dems need that type of audacity

This requires running a strongman candidate, or at least someone who exudes power, charisma, strength, I'm the Decider energy. Which is basically the polar opposite of Biden at this point in his life. Where he used to be sharp, pugnacious, and reliable he is now ambling, timid, and inconsistent at best. Less the charging-ahead energy you point to, and more the pathetic look of a boxer who just woke up from a knockout and wants to fight another round.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:18 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Ya’ll keep doing that peak Metafilter bubble thing where instead of focusing on the obvious procedural issues that should be foreseeable af, you are instead trying to bait folks who disagree with you into a going-nowhere argument about Biden’s traits. Knock that off. Stop getting played by a side that is so much dumber than you but apparently much more strategic.
posted by edithkeeler at 6:23 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


What procedural issues does keeping Biden on the ballot solve that would exist if Harris was the candidate. Please enlighten us.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:26 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Asked and answered. Reread the three threads.
posted by edithkeeler at 6:29 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Elections have consequences, yes.

For now, sure.

None of those consequences is me accepting the ascension of a fascist government quietly.

The constitution isn't a suicide pact. If you won't oppose fascism because you are afraid, I understand that. We and our families are vulnerable. It makes sense to be afraid.

But if you accept fascism because they won fair and square; that is madness.

To hell with the election. To hell with the constitution. To hell with democracy that lets the powerful sacrifice the weak in the name of decorum and propriety.

All of these things are a means to an end. When they stop protecting human freedom, life, and dignity we throw them away.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:35 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


I'm pretty sure we've been played by what is ostensibly our own side. Our side is what brought us to this pass. Their side did not win the debate; other than some idiotic tripe about "Black jobs," no one remembers a single thing Trump said during the debate. Our side lost the debate.

Look, I'll vote for this ridiculous old fart because the Supreme Court has decided that the president can do anything now. We are at a point of existential national crisis. What I will not do is hit myself in the head however many times it would take to make me stupid enough to think he's worth a damn. I won't brainwash myself. Good luck to you in your endeavors to find anyone who will.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:38 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


The Trumpist troll farm social media hate machine against Harris is already ramping up, as noted above. It's foolhardy to assume they would not be generating content for leftist environments as well.

If she takes the wheel, we must think carefully about any "Harris isn't progressive enough" memes we see and feel obliged to share. It's not helping.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:50 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


Ya’ll keep doing that peak Metafilter bubble thing where instead of focusing on the obvious procedural issues that should be foreseeable af, you are instead trying to bait folks who disagree with you into a going-nowhere argument about Biden’s traits.

I think you're wrong but I'll admit I'm less familiar with the procedural side. In fact I have my preferences but I don't much care who replaces him or how it happens.

The important thing to me is recognizing that what we are seeing is not okay. It is not okay to field a presidential candidate with these traits. It's not right. Moral questions must come before questions of procedure and strategy.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:51 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Asked and answered. Reread the three threads

Not really. You’re just repeating vague anxieties like SCOTUS will f us! Without detailing how that happens or why the probability of that happening is substantially higher with Harris than Biden.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:54 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


The Trumpist troll farm social media hate machine against Harris is already ramping up

Cows gonna fart. They're ready to troll against Newsom, against Pritzker, against Michelle Obama. It's what they do. It's not a distinguishing factor between any candidate on the D side. There's no candidate anywhere where you could say "oh, the MAGA-heads won't act like monkeys and fling crap at this one".
posted by gimonca at 6:57 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


Last night I thought the President should resign. This morning the front page of openly fascist Atlanta Journal-Constiturion printed the story, “Voters across Georgia weigh in: Should President Biden stay atop the Democratic ticket?” above the fold. The highlighted person said Biden should step aside for "something fresh." If Cox Enterprises and the Atlanta Journal of Cop City are for it, I'm against it.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:08 AM on July 6 [13 favorites]


"I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about."

What the fuck, man. Tell me how you would have felt to hear George W. Bush say this shit. Tell me you can't hear him saying it!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:10 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


If the right puts me in a camp because I'm homeless but not a drain on the system, I'll be so very proud that president Biden tried his goodest!

If they torture me for being queer, I'm so very proud of Biden trying hard and being happy with the results!

His Lil Rascal optimism will warm my heart if I'm dying in a ditch or being shot at in an actual war.

Fascism, malarkey!
posted by Jacen at 7:13 AM on July 6 [18 favorites]


Biden is being replaced (note: done deal) because there are enough serious people in the Democratic Party leadership to do what is necessary, even if it is unpleasant. It's gotten beyond what best beats Trump, although that's certainly part of the equation.

While it will be very exciting to an observer, an open convention is definitely seen as risky by the powers that be. I doubt the delegate lists were polices for their views on Israel and Gaza, and they certainly weren't vetted for supporting Harris (or Whitmer, or Newsom, for that matter). Unpredictability is ... unpredictable.
posted by MattD at 7:15 AM on July 6


After a tense night of reading Metafilter using one of his sock accounts, Biden Narrows Gap With Trump in Swing States Despite Debate Loss.
posted by mittens at 7:22 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


> The choice is "continue with 'his own party thinks he's too old and frail' discourse for four months while rolling the dice that Biden has an even worse episode than the debate" versus replacing him ASAP and most people rally round.

The "rally round" part is a huge can opener to assume for a party that never really wanted Biden in the first place and doesn't love Harris, either. Everyone loves the backup quarterback when they're holding a clipboard on the sideline but hates them once they take the field. As soon as she's the nominee, the knives will be out just as they are for Biden. The attacks will be different, but they'll be coming from many of the same places, and some new ones. Nobody demanding that Biden step down is making a serious effort to reckon with that fact.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:42 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


One major difference is that a Harris campaign would be out for blood. There's a lot of ways to injure Trump's candidacy, and nasty stuff like focusing hard on his ties to Epstein, going straight at the rape conviction head-on, shit Biden's people are just too timid or inept to do, I am confident Harris' team would be all about.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


So if Biden declines the nomination he really has no say in assigning the current delegates.

What does that mean?

Wooo, most fun, most hilarious, most rambunctious Democrat Convention in decades!!!

Yes, fun/hilarious in a deeply dark perverse pathological sense. ;-) If I recall the votes from the primaries are locked in only for the first vote. Then they can go what every way they want. Does the VP have the political backroom clout to get the nomination on the 2nd/3rd/4th vote? Really can anyone make an educated guess? Bernie? Liz? Kennedy?
posted by sammyo at 7:50 AM on July 6


What I think a lot of us are concerned about is not just where we are right now (I mean, it's bad) - but also what might happen in the next few months. What happens if the 'God Almighty' decides for Biden to have a stroke? Or indeed, it turns out he does have early-stage Parkinson's? Or he continues to have incoherent interviews? What if the September debate is no better? With Harris, we don't really have to worry about the immediate future - as a primary candidate and as VP, we basically already know what "dirt" on her there is - it's unlikely anything new will be unearthed. Her health is unlikely to change. It will require a bit of a pivot and a lot of work, but the party as a whole would have confidence in the plan remaining on the same, rather than being on the edge of their seat. The focus could then be on attacking Trump, rather than anticipating the need to go on defense.

Just seeing:

As soon as she's the nominee, the knives will be out just as they are for Biden.

I'm curious why you think that? I think people will rally around her, because the majority of Democrats (however divided they are) are united in a strong desire to beat Trump. If the Democratic elite (politicians, DNC, political staff, party activists, etc.) all unite around her, I think most Democrats will see getting her elected as their mission. The knives are only out for Biden right now because people view the party as driving 90mph off a cliff and see an opportunity to course correct before it's too late. Nobody serious is going to think, if Harris takes over, "Oh, let's actually do an open convention!"
posted by coffeecat at 7:52 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


> One major difference is that a Harris campaign would be out for blood. There's a lot of ways to injure Trump's candidacy, and nasty stuff like focusing hard on his ties to Epstein, going straight at the rape conviction head-on, shit Biden's people are just too timid or inept to do, I am confident Harris' team would be all about.

What is there in Harris' history in public life that makes you think she'd go on the attack like this?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:52 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Uh, she's a former prosecutor? The Kavanaugh hearings?
posted by coffeecat at 7:54 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]




> Uh, she's a former prosecutor?

A prosecutor doesn't get to the level she did by running nasty attack ads or coming up with devastating lines in a debate. She was successful because she built strong cases over long periods of time. Running for President requires a much different skill set, and one that she showed very little of during her ill-fated 2020 campaign.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:58 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Nobody demanding that Biden step down is making a serious effort to reckon with that fact.

Everyone here is scared. Everyone here is scarred as well. And we’re all trying to reckon with all the facts we know. Everyone agrees that something has to change. The stay the course theory seems to be that as the election gets closer, folks will decide to rally around democracy and vote D despite Biden. The change course posits that the chaos of selecting a new candidate will drive much needed attention to positions and the future which overcome the downsides of disorganization.

It’s silly to say people aren’t seriously contending with all these facts. It’s a ‘wicked’ problem with no clearly good solution.

I’m coming simply from the place that if I track the performance curve of Biden as holder of the bully pulpit and chief orator of the Democratic Party, as well as inspirer of our country - I just can’t get excited about where that will be in four and a half more years. I could get excited about nearly any replacement. I don’t think I’m alone in that.
posted by meinvt at 8:03 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


I mean, in 2019 she already ran an add calling Trump "a sex predator" (Twitter link). It's actually a pretty good ad, as these things go - it's all comparing herself to Trump.

And look, Trump is already running against Harris (Twitter link to a recent campaign ad). The party may as well unite around her and make a case for why she's not an outcome to fear.
posted by coffeecat at 8:10 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I'll admit to feeling scared and powerless about this situation with no great solution. While part of that is media manipulation, part of it is 100% real. Even if I did magically know what the right answer was, Biden and the DNC don't take my calls so my opinion is pretty irrelevant.

While trying to find a way to feel less powerless I found www.turnoutpac.org/postcards. They will send you postcards and addresses to swing state voters. Personally I am feeling a little better knowing the postcards are on their way to me and I am doing what I can.
posted by being_quiet at 8:16 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


If people mean that Harris will get attacked within the party, I don't think she'll get attacked within the party by anyone who wouldn't attack any candidate, speaking as someone who doesn't like any of them, and my feeling is that simple movement, as a sign that the party is at least taking something seriously, is going to blunt some opposition. Harris, no matter what she might do in the future on Palestine, doesn't have Biden's track record either. My feeling, again as a person who votes out of fear and resentment and doesn't like any of them, is that a lot of people of my general sort (which is not the entire left, granted, but remember that we seem bigger online) are going to try to focus on other things. A candidate who at least doesn't have Biden's record on Gaza and who doesn't have a history of slump/decline/whatever would be about as much improvement as I think we're likely to have.

This is what happens when people spend years eating the seed corn - we're in a bad, bad spot and there aren't a lot of resources. Oh for a party that at least wanted to govern the country more than they wanted to preserve the status quo, get rich and enrich their buddies, because they'd have had some foresight. I can't help but feel that this is about the Democrats' move away from labor. The GOP has an ideology, they want a white Christian nation with women subservient and gays gone. The Democrats at the national level have handwaving and whatever they think looks good and won't piss off the rich. That's what happens when you're no longer the party of labor - at least, as it were, it was an ethos.
posted by Frowner at 8:27 AM on July 6 [14 favorites]


I just watched a few minutes toward the end of this Stephanopolous interview -- with some trepidation, based on press reports -- and I don't get why this is panicworthy or constitutes evidence that he should step down. I saw one or two pauses that I took as Biden collecting his thoughts and working to manage some incredulity that he's in this situation, incredulity that I find very relatable knowing that the most recent APSA survey ranks him the 14th best president in history and Trump the 45th. He's also always been measured in rate of speech IIRC and has a history of malapropisms stretching back at least to his vice presidency, so when he makes occasional speech errors and corrects them that doesn't seem like a red flag either. Yup, he seemed old, but -- keeping in mind that an interview is not a formal assessment -- he did not seem impaired to me.

Still voting D come hell or high water. You should vote too, if you can (treasonous liars platformed by the NYT notwithstanding).
posted by eirias at 8:34 AM on July 6 [13 favorites]


Harris's 2019-2020 Presidential campaign was obviously a campaign for the Vice Presidential nomination and she beat the people she was obviously running against for that - Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Gabbard, Yang, etc.
posted by MattD at 8:52 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]




>Bernie?

is 82.

> Liz?

is 75.

>Kennedy?

Fuck that guy.
posted by torokunai at 9:00 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


> Harris's 2019-2020 Presidential campaign was obviously a campaign for the Vice Presidential nomination and she beat the people she was obviously running against for that - Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Gabbard, Yang, etc.

If you mean "beat them by being selected VP", then that's obviously true, but Buttigieg doubled her polling average throughout the primary season and, unlike Harris, actually earned some delegates.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:04 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


you can't guss up Harris' shambolic campaign by claiming it was only a run for VP. If she had picked up in the polling there's no doubt she would've been happy to be the nominee. It was famously a campaign full of infighting, unclear direction, and gaffs, where she got very little traction and ran out of money before the first primary, many months before Biden would've been close to deciding who his VP was going to be. Now that she's VP maybe she can run a good campaign, but the idea that she actually ran exactly the campaign she wanted to run is just pure spin. Every senator wants to be President, and even when they say they're doing it "just" to push an issue or to raise their profile, the way you do that is by running a successful campaign that wins delegates and shows you're a force to be reckoned with in the party. Not getting a single vote is not how you do that, and being VP is probably more of a punishment than a prize, and it's more likely that a VP fizzles out in the following election cycles than it is that they become the nominee and win. But maybe she can do better than her 2020 showing now, who knows. She's basically been invisible as veep, which is how most presidents want it.
posted by dis_integration at 9:18 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


300 comments in and still no one has suggested what Biden could do to win the election. Because there is no answer. If he was fit enough to prove the debate was a fluke and then go on the offensive, he would have already done this. He didn't because he can't. He's clearly done.
posted by snofoam at 9:18 AM on July 6 [16 favorites]


Remember Kamala with her sharp attack on Biden in the Democratic debates for 2020?

That’s the energy I want against Trump. Grab him by his nasty hair and drown him in his own filth and awfulness.

Biden does not have the capability to do that. And as time ticks on, his aging will get worse. A fall, a total fade out, a word nobody would dare use in 2024 - all of that is on the table.

There is a reason party leadership and sensible minded folks are pushing for him to step aside. This isn’t about how bad Trump is - everyone gets that. It’s that the guy going against him isn’t going to motivate the key independent vote to get out and vote.
posted by glaucon at 9:20 AM on July 6 [6 favorites]


1. I won't quit until the Lord God Almighty tells me to: I'm reminded of that tired old story about God being all, "Look, I sent you two boats and a helicopter."
2. I can say from experience that if you get diagnosed with something (Parkinson's, whatever), that's gonna be Lord God Almighty telling you something.
3. Ethically, the dude needs to get himself checked out and it's concerning that he's refusing to on this level. I get he's probably avoiding it out of fear, but...seriously, dude needs to get checked and if he's got a mentally degenerative disease, he needs to bow out.
So this whole thing got really disturbing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:22 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


Biden's gotta go. Anyone is better. If Harris is easiest procedurally, great! Get her on a debate with Trump and let her be her-baddest-ass-prosecutor-self. She's gotta show up and demonstrate that she's more focused than Trump, which is trivial.

The debate was like two nightmare Thanksgivings together on one stage, your crazy right wing uncle hanging out with your decrepit incomprehensible uncle. Put someone new in the mix, even slightly new, and people will go for it.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:23 AM on July 6 [12 favorites]


campaign ad:

[show drawing of a large prehistoric elephant]. text and voiceover: “mastodon”
[show drawing of a herbivorous dinosaur from the cretaceous period]. text and voiceover: “iguanadon”
[show drawing of a grotesque game show host/landlord]. text and voiceover: “pedo don”
text and voiceover: “lock up pedophiles. lock up child molesters. lock up donald trump”
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:27 AM on July 6 [6 favorites]


In Harris' VP debate, she either lost or tied Pence, and she's been a non-entity as VP for the last 4 years. You all have way more faith in her than I do, and combine that with the fact that the US has gotten more openly sexist and racist in the past 4 years. I'd feel sorry for her.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:29 AM on July 6 [8 favorites]


from Canada, I say: Goddamn, you guys. Whatever you can do, get the focus off Biden's supposed infirmity. He's three years older than Trump, and Trump is the more obviously impaired candidate. Presidents don't govern alone; they have staff around them; just vote Democratic and stop trying to replace the candidate mere months before the election. It looks like the party is imploding. In the face of the Republican party being revealed as actual, mustache-twirling villains who want to turn America into a religious dystopia, at that. Start hammering about Project 2025 and all the obvious signs that Viktor Orban and his crew are their model for the future. Please, because if Trump wins, Canada is next, and we can see the pieces being lined up for pushing the Conservative Party up here--not the Conservatives of old, either.
posted by jokeefe at 9:39 AM on July 6 [23 favorites]


Biden is the only establishment candidate to win a presidential election since 2004, and that was only because Trump was so obviously a disaster. People are really unhappy right now, for a host of reasons, and want someone new. The Trump argument is 'anything but this', where 'anything' happens to include fascism, but people seem not to understand that.

I do think Biden has done a great job moving towards the future, but people don't understand that, and it hasn't helped people directly deal with the pain in their day to day lives. And Biden apparently isn't capable of making that case in a way that lands with people.

Throw a new person in and move on.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:46 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


Just for balance I'm calling for business leaders and major political donors to step down from their positions so we can find someone better to do whatever they do.
posted by srboisvert at 9:51 AM on July 6 [13 favorites]


WaPo: Men prefer Trump’s energetic falsehoods to Biden’s naked fragility

This maddening logic is the same rationale I’ve heard repeatedly from on-the-fence voters in my personal life. Do these voters like Trump or his policies? Not at all. And they think Biden’s policies are pretty great. But Biden just didn’t seem forceful enough. He looked a little wobbly. Frail. So instead of voting for the good guy who was perhaps too feeble to achieve all of his agenda, they plan to vote for the guy who was strong enough to deliver a completely different agenda, which they don’t even want. The guy who was strong enough to spew falsehoods with gusto, rather than the guy who was too glitchy to hold him accountable.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:51 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


300 comments in and still no one has suggested what Biden could do to win the election.

My suggestion was very serious, including making me head of NASA. Admittedly that part is not realistic, but dream big, you know?

Just keep poking Trump about losing the presidency (never let up on "Oh, I beat your before"), the House and the Senate. Then ask'em about Epstein.

Seriously, if you're gonna do this Joe, then go big, stop trying letting the Republicans and media define you. You generally have the right idea about the way the country should go, gather the future of the Democratic party around you and go to town pointing out all the good stuff you've done and all the bad stuff the loser president (definitely say that once or twice, preferably at the debate) is promising to do and let the chips fall where they may. Do that and I'm betting on you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:54 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Biden must be so furious. That's not a good argument for staying in the race; I don't personally think this election needs another angry old man with a bruised ego. What I want to hear is that there is a succession plan, that Biden's camp has put significant thought into what happens if he can't govern, if he can govern but can't campaign, if his helicopter crashes, et cetera, so that if one of those things happens it is not a crisis. (I also want to hear that Biden has doctors and is following their advice, not waiting for divine intervention.)

(And then I'd like someone to point out that Trump is also old and incoherent, and who is his vice presidential candidate, exactly? He doesn't have one, and he was ready to get his last vice president killed by a mob; what kind of person is going to sign up for that?)
posted by mersen at 9:56 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Someone who hopes Trump dies in office so he can become president, I presume.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


There is no freaking way that the NYT POSes and the rest of the vile major politico media does anything but relentlessly and exclusively focuses on Bidens old as the election narrative. Democratic powers absolutely cannot change that no matter what they do.

Trump can do his fabled shooting someone on 5th Ave and the media will still keep laser focused on Joe is Old. Damn the Supreme Court just said Trump will make a fine dictator and it’s already off the news scope

It will make ‘butter e-mails’ look fair and balanced. It’s not stopping. And if Biden shows feebleness again - wow.

Sorry if I’m repeating myself, IMO Harris /Whitmer: Never waver from focus on Dobbs, ending IVF, (crassly) women carrying products of rape or dying in ERs cause of pregnancies becoming unviable, Katie Britts national pregnancy registry.

The media will not allow any focus this election on anything but the right wings culture war (but sanitizing it for the fascist so as to not talk about any of the horrible impact of that culture war) .

So dem side, take it the fuck to them with the strongest arguments we have, these are - aside from being in the right - that the citizenry is clearly on our side, abortion rights won 60-40 in freaking Kansas!
posted by WatTylerJr at 10:12 AM on July 6 [11 favorites]


Well, given that Biden has confirmed both that a) he's losing it, and b) he's absolutely not going to step aside, what's the plan?

I'm not really asking anyone here, but rather the Democratic Powers That Be. Because from where I'm sitting it looks like there isn't a plan other than just beg for more money, repeat "vote blue no matter who" a lot, and remind people how shitty Trump is. And none of that looks like it's going to overcome Biden's average -10 to -5 point disadvantage.

I'd feel a lot better about things if there was the slightest indication of competence or ability on the part of the people running Biden's campaign, but so far they seem to think just saying "Joe Biden isn't Trump" or "If you don't vote Biden then Trump will win" is all they need to do. It's a repeat of their 2020 campaign. And if he was up 5 to 10 like he was in 2020 that would be enough, but he's not.

What really terrifies me is that no one at the DNC, Biden's campaign, or any of the other seats of Democratic power seem to have the faintest clue that they're even down in the polls much less how to turn that around.

So fine. Biden is the candidate. What now? Are us peons supposed to just bend over and kiss our asses goodbye since Biden's ego is more important than the nation?
posted by sotonohito at 10:18 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


I'm caring for someone in age-related cognitive decline, and it is a long and painful road. There are times when they seem like their former selves and are full of wisdom and sharp as a tack. Then there are times when they can't remember that they just called you 10 minutes ago, or get angry or frustrated or bossy or just generally difficult to deal with. Over time the latter states become more common and the former less so. Even family members can't always gauge things accurately, and importantly the people who respect and love them have a very hard time admitting what's going on. This person should not be driving a car even though they can sometimes play a pretty strong club-level chess game. This person cannot be trusted with financial decisions even though they remember exact dates and events from the 1940s with astonishing clarity. Et cetera. It's also not something people really "bounce back" from. When there's a clear step down from a previous competency plateau, the new lower level ends up being the new normal. That's life.

I watched the entire debate with no distractions in front of a large TV, and it was not just a "bad debate". Donald Trump made very little sense and said truly terrifying things and Biden was not able to stand up to him or refute him with any specificity or energy. All the comments wondering why Biden doesn't just do X or Y to refute concerns or call out Trump - the point is that he seems increasingly unable to do that. He needs to be able to think on his feet and not rely 100% on prompts and prep.

I did not vote for Biden in the 2020 primary, and I hate US Israel policy, but his administration as done an astonishingly large number of good and impactful things for Americans of all stripes in the last four years. It's great to see the executive branch once again filled with competent people who know their stuff and are taking action to keep us afloat and steer back from the precipice. But a president cannot just make their way into a second term with a self-declared fighting spirit (some pundit said that Biden has made a career out of being a fighter, but the Grim Reaper is undefeated).

I personally like the Harris route, as I said in the other thread. I also suggested a white male Southern running mate, and lo and behold yesterday I read that "unnamed sources" are looking at Brashear (Kentucky) and Roy Cooper (NC and a great governor). Imagine being in a hot debate over beers where people are arguing about politics like we do here. Could Biden sit there and reel off info about Project 2025 and connect the dots in a way that convinces his drinking buddies? I don't think so. Trump is serving up terrifying and gross softballs and we just need someone who can hit them. Biden cannot hit them.

On the media frenzy thing: I agree that they are stoking the fire on this and need to do even more to paint Trump in a clear and harsh light. But the wave of fear and sadness the night of the debate and the next day was 100% organic among the people I know. The discussion about him needing to bow out predated anything I saw from the media. And a presidential incumbent melting down on live TV in front of 51 million people ... well, that is legitimate news.
posted by caviar2d2 at 10:19 AM on July 6 [33 favorites]


So fine. Biden is the candidate. What now? Are us peons supposed to just bend over and kiss our asses goodbye since Biden's ego is more important than the nation?

Apparently!
posted by Gadarene at 10:19 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


My suggestion was very serious, including making me head of NASA.

Giving high profile issue assignments to five up and coming party leaders would have been an interesting way to act on the promise of being a bridge to the next generation of candidates…if he did it 3.5 years ago when he first got into office.

Leaning into being too old to govern and assigning key things to younger people when they have no time to get any results before an election does not seem like a viable campaign strategy. From here on, if I say that no one has suggested anything Biden can do to turn the election around, I mean except this one earnest idea that could never possibly work and would never be done.
posted by snofoam at 10:27 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I think it's too soon to say that Biden is definitely staying in, regardless of what he's saying right now. I would expect some major establishment shifts by the end of next week if they are going to come. Everyone is on holiday for July 4 (5/6/7) and that's given the rest of the Dems an excuse to sit and think about this (as they should). No one really knows whether Biden or Harris would do better, or whether either one of them could win, or what else might happen in the next few months. We don't get to see the alternate reality.

I also think that the defiance he's showing is some of the downside of having a competitive "I'll kick yer ass" red-blooded American male in his role. It can be a benefit in some situations, but as another white cis male, our society REALLY REALLY sends the message that it's not ok for men to quit and in this case just not worry about Trump and the right mocking you forever behind your back. Christ, Olympic silver medalists are seen as losers and failures by a lot of people.
posted by caviar2d2 at 10:27 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


People have been politely saying that Biden needs to go for months. It's been obvious in the polling. In the name of unity, the argument was put aside, the primaries were basically skipped, and now here we are.

If the message is anything other than a crystal clear, "you need to step aside," then he will not step aside. That's why this issue is so loud right now: the message is being sent.

It's a party. There's a deep bench of people who make things like the IRA actually happen. The Democratic party has been doing its best job actually acting as a united front in decades, out of pure necessity. The question now is whether the phalanx can successfully pivot, and show that (unlike the GOP) it isn't a personality cult.

We need a face on the machinery that actually has a chance to win against Trump. Biden ain't it.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:31 AM on July 6 [7 favorites]


My current fantasy is that on Monday Biden will hold a press conference and say, “I told you I was all in, and my team has been behind me 100% and we meant it. But last night I sprained my ankle, real bad, so I have to end my candidacy and resign from office.” Like all this bluster is to show that he went down fighting, when some external thing, that totally wasn’t just him being feeble and elderly, forced him to quit for the good of the nation.
posted by snofoam at 10:38 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


I just watched a few minutes toward the end of this Stephanopolous interview -- with some trepidation, based on press reports -- and I don't get why this is panicworthy or constitutes evidence that he should step down

With all due respect, I don't really think you can have an informed opinion if you didn't watch the whole thing. The part where he says "no, I won't submit to independent medical examination" is at the beginning. Along with "I had a bad night" justifications for his debate performance, which honestly sounded a lot like "no, George, I know I drove my car into a ditch, but I don't think you should take my keys away, that's not fair, it was just an episode, it can happen to anybody, don't tell me you've never had a bad day".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:41 AM on July 6 [10 favorites]


Someone who hopes Trump dies in office so he can become president, I presume

aka the Melania Maneuver.
posted by flabdablet at 10:42 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Man, Democrats really shouldn't be citing the IRA as a reason for swing voters to vote for Biden. It stands for "Inflation Reduction Act" and if there's one thing Biden hasn't even tried to do, it is reduce prices*, and if there is one set of voters who will switch from Biden to Trump between 2020 and 2024, it's people angry that prices are so much higher. You really want those people's attention on any other issue.

(*The Fed has slowed the rate of increase of prices, but Biden has done none of things in his power to do that could cut prices. Now, you could argue that those things he could do - cut spending deeply to reduce aggregate demand, cut regulations and tariffs - are cures worse than the disease, but it's still a choice.)
posted by MattD at 10:46 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


From Bill McKibben's most recent climate newsletter: I’ve talked with people who’ve spent their lives as union organizers, and people who are state legislators in swing states, and I’ve been out on an organizing tour for Third Act, speaking with people who between them will write hundreds of thousands of postcards and phone bank for untold hours between now and November. And what I hear, overwhelmingly, is that this view from ‘the doors’ makes them think Biden must do the realistic thing.

Yes, they’ll work for the president’s reelection if that’s the only choice. We all are so scared of Trumpism that, in that sense, Biden has us over a barrel—no one is going to walk away from this election. But there’s a growing sense of anger that we’re being put in an almost impossible situation. We want to talk, at every door and on every call, about the climate crisis, about abortion, about a dozen other places where the contrast between progressives and MAGA blowhards is enormous and works in our favor. But that’s impossible when you first have to have a conversation about whether or not Biden can do the job—a conversation none of us can win with any real conviction even in our own minds.

The perfect example is last week’s run of Supreme Court decisions, so radical in their implications that at any other time they’d be not just dominant stories but also a huge help in getting people to understand Trump’s threat. Instead, they’ve barely been noticed. You can blame the media for that, but one of the things you learn on ‘the doors’ is that people care mostly about things that seem immediate and real to them. We all have opinions about aging, because we’ve all gone through something like this with our parents or grandparents; it’s visceral, real, fascinating. Most people aren’t experts on constitutional law; most people have had an aunt or a father who needed to have their car keys negotiated away.
(Author's emphasis).
posted by Bella Donna at 10:52 AM on July 6 [33 favorites]


Anyone thinking Biden should step down is paying too much attention to public perception and not enough to what he and his administration has actually done

Public perception is kind of important if you want to actually win elections, though. A majority of voters including 76% of Democrats think Biden is too old to be President, his approval rating has been underwater for 3 years, and he's being consistently outpolled by Trump in swing states. But yes, people saying he needs to go are clearly the problem here.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:52 AM on July 6 [23 favorites]


I think we all wish the election could be won by paying attention to what Biden accomplished rather than paying attention to who people are going to vote for.
posted by snofoam at 10:52 AM on July 6 [15 favorites]


My team has been behind me 100%

You know who else had 100% support?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:53 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


If we lose in November it will be on your heads, because you couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and you couldn’t shut the hell up about things you simply don’t understand. For shame.

If we lose in November, it will be because Biden chose his ego over his country.

I thought it was bad enough that he had made sure his legacy would always include facilitating the genocide in Gaza. Being the midwife of American fascism now seems entirely plausible.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:55 AM on July 6 [14 favorites]


Not on, like, Trump voter's heads, khrusanthemon? Not on the head of anyone who pushed back against people who saw exactly this problem coming years ago? Not on the heads of a party apparatus that has done nothing to prepare for this possibility, and has never seemed to realize that "public perception" is actually important in an election?

Nope. As usual, it's people who are overwhelmingly going to vote for any Democratic candidate who are wrong and must shut up and not complain. For shame yourself.
posted by sagc at 10:56 AM on July 6 [23 favorites]


Reducing inflation doesn’t mean reducing prices. Inflation is the rate of change, hence when Nixon talked about slowing the rate of increase of inflation, it was the first time a president referenced a second derivative.

And reductions prices is REALLY bad.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:06 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I do not have an opinion about what Biden should do. If I had a crystal ball then sure, I would make a recommendation. But I have no idea if Biden staying or going is the better choice. Meanwhile, legal writer and attorney Elie Mystal is excellent in The Nation, Slate, and (apologies) Xitter:

Me: Yeah the debate was bad, but I'm sure that the Supreme Court wildin' out will refocus the narrative on what's important.
SCOTUS: PRESIDENTS ARE KINGS
Trump: I had Epstein on speed dial.
RFK: I ate a dog.
Me: See.
Media: BIDEN MUST DROP OUT OF THE RACE
Me: [deep sigh]
posted by Bella Donna at 11:10 AM on July 6 [25 favorites]


characterizing the problem as “biden old” at this point is not appropriate or correct.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 11:15 AM on July 6 [9 favorites]


MattD, it's the IRA not the PRA. Plus so much of the inflation is in home prices & rents, which the Feds can do f-all to address, and what the Fed is doing is probably actually making things worse.

"Inflation" itself has not even been cost-driven; I can prove that in one graph.
posted by torokunai at 11:21 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


If the other side is gonna stick with their guy - a racist, rapist autocrat who cuddles up to dictators and foments a violent coup - then we sure as hell can stick with Biden over a couple of verbal gaffes.

Again, shame on those of you dragging your own guy through the mud when we have bigger fish to fry. Get up and help, or get out of the way.
posted by khrusanthemon at 11:38 AM on July 6 [8 favorites]


characterizing the problem as “biden old” at this point is not appropriate or correct

The problem isn't so much that he's old as that he's frail, often confused, and evidently, if reports are to be believed, not capable of executing the duties of his office. In a serious country it would be a scandal that the cabinet hadn't staged a 25th Amendment intervention, honestly. (The fact that we've been here before with Reagan 40 years ago doesn't make it okay, either.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 11:40 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Democrats will "stick with our guy" until he loses an election that ushers in fascism, then pat themselves on the back and say "we tried our best" while blaming anyone to their left.
posted by sagc at 11:44 AM on July 6 [14 favorites]


Just stop this “shame on you” stuff. I’ve volunteered in every election since 2008. Many here have probably done the same. There is a need for healthy debate on this topic, and stating people should be ashamed for being concerned Biden’s fragility has been hidden throughout the primary process is just, you know, not helping?

Probably 99.9999% of the people here would move mountains if it meant Trump wasn’t elected. This isn’t about Metafilter “doing the work.” It’s a debate about Biden being entirely unfit to serve as the nominee or President, and the lack of appeal shown in polling again and again and again in key states and that gulf widening because of his obvious aging and behavior in the debate and interview.
posted by glaucon at 11:50 AM on July 6 [34 favorites]


This motherfucker said "goodest!!!" I feel like I am taking crazy pills, man! Fucking hell!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:54 AM on July 6 [21 favorites]


Thanks for your service, glaucon! That is meaningful stuff, and I appreciate it.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:54 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Some serious “When Prophecy Fails” energy kicking around this place
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 11:57 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Again, the problem is that Biden is quite arguably not trying his best to save democracy in the US, not that trying one’s best is somehow a bad or self-centered thing.
posted by eviemath at 11:58 AM on July 6 [4 favorites]


A reminder - contact your representatives (Congress and Governors).
posted by coffeecat at 11:59 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


The comparison between discussion of Biden’s suitability among Democrats and discussion of Bush II (“sure he’s not the brightest bulb, but he has surrounded himself with good people” - Republicans at the time) or Regan during his second term (a time when Republicans were still concerned with appearances and respectability to some extent, though also with gaining and holding power) is amusing, in a darkly humorous way.
posted by eviemath at 12:01 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Look. I don’t know why Biden needs to have his car keys taken away, but I do know that he needs to have his car keys away. Can we just agree on that?
posted by corb at 12:04 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I am quite aware that reducing the rate of growth of prices (second derivative) is the literal import of "Inflation Reduction." I am also aware that Biden has done nothing to reduce the inflation rate, probably deliberately (cure worse than disease), to say the least of actually facilitating prices going down (deflation - the first derivative).

I actually believe policy makers need to target deflation. Getting food, energy and rent back to 19% over 2020 levels by mid-2027 - i.e., where they would have been with a historically modest 2.5% CAGR - would be of immense benefit. The change June 2020 to June 2024 is about 22%, so we'd need about 1% deflation a year to get there. Not disastrous.
posted by MattD at 12:07 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Imagine you are someone who is middle of the road and not really involved in politics. Would you trust Biden with an important job after seeing clips from the debate? Would you want him as your surgeon, pilot, air traffic controller, or defense attorney? Would you get in a car with him driving?
posted by snofoam at 12:08 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


After the debate I wouldn't trust him to water my plants when I went on vacation.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:16 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]


“Biden Narrows Gap With Trump in Swing States Despite Debate Loss

The incumbent trails his GOP rival by just 2 points across key states, a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult shows

…President Joe Biden registered his best showing yet in a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult tracking poll of battleground states, even as voters offered withering appraisals of his debate performance amid panic within his party.”

Carry on.
posted by darkstar at 12:23 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out? from Rebecca Solnit in The Guardian

Plenty of people aren't seeing a worrying decline in Biden's appearances. Plenty of people are. But there isn't widespread agreement on that point among people who have an opinion on it, which is a skewed sample of the voting populace. So just saying "can't we all agree that Biden is unreliable," or the opposite, isn't going to convince anyone who disagrees. People will keep remembering their own memories instead of yours.
posted by the primroses were over at 12:24 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


If the only other choice was Trump I would absolutely get in a car with Biden driving. Trump’s car would be Death-Proofed.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:27 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


>Would you get in a car with him driving?

>I wouldn't trust him to water my plants when I went on vacation.

it is an interesting thought experiment as to how bad Biden would have to get before I'd vote for the alternative. I think as long as he could wiggle an eyebrow for yes/no I'd be good still.

then again I have an IQ above 80 last I tested so I understand the stakes here.
posted by torokunai at 12:28 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


If the other side is gonna stick with their guy - a racist, rapist autocrat who cuddles up to dictators and foments a violent coup - then we sure as hell can stick with Biden over a couple of verbal gaffes.

Biden isn't "my guy". He's the scumbag the Democrats foisted off on us, knowing we'd have no choice but to support him over Trump. And his arrogance might ruin that tiny bit of utility he had and guarantee we wind up with Trump anyway.

I do not give a solitary damn about Biden's feelings or Biden's political legacy. I have no loyalty to the man. If he can't beat Trump he is less than useless. He needs to get out of the way, before a lot of good people die because of his pride in his goodest job.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 12:31 PM on July 6 [16 favorites]


For a few years we've had neighborlike relations with people that I assumed, based on their demographics, were all Trump supporting Republicans. It turns out, I learned last week, that they all absolutely despise Trump and would never vote for him. (Don't shoot the messenger here; I'm just reporting on what I'm overhearing.)

However, they are all uniformly horrified by Biden's debate performance and want to know "who is actually running the country." They had planned to vote for Biden and are now planning to stay home. If Kamala Harris is the nominee, they say they will not vote for her, however, probably because they perceive her as a Berkeley liberal who is out of touch with their values. I also suspect they voted for Obama, but for some reason with Harris racism plays a larger role in their refusal to vote for her, but I don't know this for sure; it could also be that they tend to take Israel's side in the conflict and view Harris as more sympathetic to the Palestinian side. I don't know and after four years of wrongly assuming the worst about these folks, I don't want to assume more.

In any event, they don't know any of the other folks whose names are being floated (Shapiro, Pritzker, Whitmer) but I suspect they would be very happy to vote for someone with some energy and relative youth, and they say they like Buttigeg but claim no one else will vote for a gay man.

So, sample size of 7 people, but these people are likely Democratic voters right now planning to stay home unless a major change is made.
posted by luckdragon at 12:33 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


If the other side is gonna stick with their guy ... then we sure as hell can stick with Biden

This is such an odd framing to me. If the semi-authoritarian idiot party can stick with their demagogue then democrats should stick with Biden? It's beyond odd to think that we should emulate the party in the thrall of Trump. But also, I believe that this election is critical to the survival of democracy in the US and the fate of many things around the world. I just want to win the election. I have loyalty to the principles and goals I believe in. There's no reason to have loyalty to a specific candidate if they are failing.
posted by snofoam at 12:41 PM on July 6 [15 favorites]


Plenty of people aren't seeing a worrying decline in Biden's appearances.

2020 [44:23]

2024 [11:30]

about as hard as the top line at the eye doctor
posted by daveliepmann at 12:41 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


it is an interesting thought experiment as to how bad Biden would have to get before I'd vote for the alternative.

Is it really? I would vote for Biden if he were literally in a coma before I would vote for Trump. The issue is how bad Biden would have to be before he would lose to Trump. Right now all signs point towards the answer being less bad than he already has shown himself to be.
posted by snofoam at 12:45 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]


it is an interesting thought experiment as to how bad Biden would have to get before I'd vote for the alternative

That's not the thought experiment you should be running, honestly; I swear to god binary politics brain makes people utterly incapable of considering objective reality. The real question is "how bad does Biden have to be before people stay home rather than vote for him because they think he can't win anyway?"
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:51 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


I’m far left of the Democratic Party, and no one Biden might get replaced with is going to be appreciably closer to my values. I’m also politically opposed to the idea of a unitary executive, and concerned about this emphasis on Biden as a single individual decider who needs to be significantly above average rather than the president as head of a team. If it were my party/organization, I would want to ensure that folks within the group could have an actual discussion about his suitability in that leadership role. Where it’s not my party or group, I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other(*).

But you all absolutely can and should tell the Ezra Kleins and other conservative pundits to fuck off and get their own house in order before they presume to talk about Biden’s mental competence. That is in no way inconsistent with having your own concerns about Biden or supporting allowing discussion about his suitability as a candidate within the party.




(* Under-qualified straight white men from privileged backgrounds getting jobs that many other people are much better qualified for definitely angers me. At the same time, one of the long time - maybe founding? - members of the first union I was in was similarly aged, and spoke… very… very… slowly. Maybe he had had a stroke? Maybe there were some other old age issues that weren’t dementia but were reducing his communication faculties and speed? He was still one of the sharpest strategizers and clearest ethical compasses within the union leadership, however. I have no idea what Biden’s debate performance was due to, and I don’t think he has ever been the same calibre of strategist or ethical thinker as my former union comrade. But what folks are describing being concerned about isn’t necessarily indicative of a decline in Biden’s ability to do the non-figurehead aspects of the job of president, relative to his competence in that respect at any other point in the past couple decades. It might be, but we the general public don’t have enough information to conclude one way or the other without resorting to ableist assumptions. Now, being a figurehead is also an aspect of the job of president, so I understand that folks may find his performance disqualifying for that portion of the job. Personally I think it would be a great opportunity to distribute more of those sort of duties around and work on better distributing the power of the office of the presidency out of the hands of one single person. But I am some flavor of anarchist or something, so I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to dismantle hierarchies.)
posted by eviemath at 1:02 PM on July 6 [13 favorites]


then again I have an IQ above 80 last I tested so I understand the stakes here

You're not earning any rhetorical points by insulting the intelligence of people who disagree with you or by implying they're incapable of understanding the stakes as well as you do (otherwise surely they would agree). Maybe stick to making your case without the implied insults?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:14 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I actually think the fact that Biden is obviously losing a step may not matter much at all. Nobody who was going to vote for him is going to vote for Trump and nobody who was going to vote for Trump will change their vote.

The main problem here is I think in the media-political establishment. If the media keeps hammering this it might convince enough people who really don't pay much attention that there's no point in voting.

The best thing for the Biden campaign might be that in a few weeks the Olympics will dominate the news cycle for a while.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:16 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


That's why it's all the more important to field a candidate that can get people who normally don't vote to the polls!
posted by sagc at 1:19 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


If Harris is competent, rested and ready, I'm glad. Because even if Biden comes back and wins the 2024 election, she will be POTUS by mid-2025.

Not because Biden is absolutely going to be physically and mentally unable to continue, but because the public perception is that he is unable to continue and that if he wins, it will be solely because he is a lukewarm body that is Not Trump. His own Democratic detractors will continue sniping at him to try to get him to give way. Press conferences will not be about issues of the day, but questions directed at him will turn into "How many fingers am I holding up?" and "What does a duck say?" and "Do you have any idea who and where you are?" The slightest gaffe or misstatement will be held up as absolute proof that he is fully gone, and gaffes and misstatements are part of his GOOD DAYS. His infirmity is now his defining characteristic, and now that the media has lampreyed on to that to this level, the pressure for him to resign will remain intense until it happens.

If Dems want any chance of winning, they need to bring massive amounts of attention to the Republicans' ongoing supervillain monologues. Like any good serial villain, they are hard at work explaining their evil plan in detail before they put it fully into motion. Peepaw wanting his ice cream with a Constitutionally-designated successor already in place can and should pale besides religious, reproductive and civil freedom all about to go away. Trumpers are literally gloating "we're going to repeal the 20th century" out loud. You know, the century in which women, non-Caucasians, non-heterosexuals, non-Protestants, and many other groups actually became close to being full citizens? The decades in which Christian nationalism and racial discrimination were no longer UNDISPUTEDLY the American Way?

They are putting sound bites out there that could make killer ads and those ads need to blanket the airwaves. The donors demanding Biden step aside now need to be patient -- he will step aside soon enough, whether Father Time forces it or not. But their money and energy could be much better spent in other places.
posted by delfin at 1:36 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Press conferences

He rarely does these anyway.
posted by snofoam at 1:44 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


>intelligence of people who disagree with you

determining who's on the Dem ticket in November is way above my pay grade so I have 無想 (zero opinion) on that . . . so from my perspective you're disagreeing with nothing.
posted by torokunai at 1:47 PM on July 6


then again I have an IQ above 80 last I tested so I understand the stakes here

I think they were just trying to say they are at least smart enough to know to vote against Trump, though it was an odd framing that I found to be (to me) in bad taste. Many Trump supporters know exactly what they are supporting and are suffer from moral deficiency.
posted by snofoam at 1:54 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


And, reported in the Guardian (and probably elsewhere), a Parkinson's expert from Walter Reed has visited the White House eight times since August 2023. Coupled with "no, I won't take a cognitive test", this raises serious questions.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 1:55 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


I think the current moment (before the convention and ballot deadlines) is a reasonable time to be having this conversation. If the decision-makers all get to "never mind, Biden's good" in the next week or two, fine. If he ends up stepping aside, also fine. Feels like primary time a bit; everyone should be gut-checking here. Talking is not being dumb or sabotaging Biden.

Also the US actuarial table shows that the chance of dying within one year for a male is:

2% at age 65
4% at age 75
6.5% at age 80
10.5% at age 85 (around Biden's age at the end of term 2)

This Reddit thread seems to land on around a 58% chance of Biden surviving till the end of his next term. Someone else do the math better :-)
posted by caviar2d2 at 2:05 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


300 comments in and still no one has suggested what Biden could do to win the election. Because there is no answer. If he was fit enough to prove the debate was a fluke and then go on the offensive, he would have already done this. He didn't because he can't. He's clearly done.

If we and enough other people vote for him, he will win. If one believes that saying that he is too old, or going senile, or a supporter of genocide, will get enough people to vote for him, then they should do that.
posted by os tuberoes at 2:16 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


There is absolutely nothing to gain, and plenty to lose, from Biden's taking a cognitive test.

Anything less than an absolutely sparkling and perfect result ends his career. If he takes a test such as MoCA and the results are made public, they will be microanalyzed to the point of absurdity by those looking to prove that Biden's answers are deficient. If they are not, WHAT ARE THEY HIDING????!!!?!?!? becomes the rallying cry and the point of taking the test diminishes. A thousand doctored images of "Biden's REAL answers" will be mocked up and circulated within six seconds of Biden beginning the test, declaring that Biden is a potato and that the Deep State is lying in plain sight about it. Even if the results are accepted by most as genuine, it will be mocked as "well, that's just one test" and "test him during one of his BAD days, or after 8 PM" and "no test can tell me that my eyes and ears lied to me."
posted by delfin at 2:18 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


If we and enough other people vote for him, he will win. If one believes that saying that he is too old, or going senile, or a supporter of genocide, will get enough people to vote for him, then they should do that.

The onus is not on the public to pretend he isn't a supporter of genocide or suffering cognitive decline. It is on his party not to run such a poor candidate. If they choose to do so anyway, then the blame is on them, not the people who begged them to do otherwise.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:19 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Well, that's certainly a cutting remark. Weighing the end of Democracy in our country might tip the scales a bit for me, rather than just wanting to blame the Democratic party for allowing Biden to win all those primaries and such...
posted by Windopaene at 2:23 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


I'm sure we'll all find Joe Biden's 2020 performance in the SC primary a source of comfort and hope in the dark days ahead.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:27 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Congratulations on abandoning democracy, on what voters already voted for.

Congratulations on being part of White Boy Hysteria summer.

Congratulations on Hillary-ing Pres. Biden.

Congratulations on letting "our" billionaires and the right-wing media control the narrative.

There are multiple new stories the US media SHOULD be focused on re: trump.

But the broken media is failing spectacularly.

So, every Dem needs to suck it up, put on their big boy pants, and be focused on hammering home the truth about trump every moment, along with reiterating all that the Biden-Harris admin has achieved.

Every Dem should be donating whatever they can to Biden and up and down the ticket.

And BTW if anyone thinks that after DEMS have abandoned the democratic process and installed someone new:

That the media won't go after that person like rabid wolves,

That the media won't accuse Dems of illegally brokering a new candidate, thereby further deflating Dem voters,

All while the media continues to ignore the Big Fat Fascist Elephant in the room - well, you're as delusional as trump.

This attack by Dems the greatest thing that's happened to the incredibly UNPOPULAR child-raping, secret document stealing, insurrection-inciting, wanna-be dictator and his Christo-fascist cult in a long time.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:33 PM on July 6 [16 favorites]


allowing Biden to win all those primaries

More like "guaranteeing Biden would win all those primaries by making it clear that no credible challenge from within the party would be allowed" (in 2024, anyway); the other candidates were Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips, and Jason Palmer. If there had been any credible and serious opposition he very likely wouldn't have won "all those primaries", not with his consistently underwater approval.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 2:35 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


If we and enough other people vote for him, he will win.

This is basically the current Biden campaign strategy: hoping that, for some external reason, enough people will vote for him. The point of my comment is that no one, from Biden on down to Metafilter commenters has proposed any course of action that Biden could take to turn around his losing campaign and win the election. No one has articulated any argument for Biden, just arguments against the media, people who watched the debate, any alternate candidate, etc. There is no plan for Biden to win. It's just a bunch of people tying themselves to a sinking anchor.
posted by snofoam at 2:35 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


Nobody who was going to vote for him is going to vote for Trump and nobody who was going to vote for Trump will change their vote.

And that would be a compelling argument in a country where anywhere near 100% of the enfranchised public voted. Elections are mostly not won on supporters of your opponent whom you persuade over to your side, but on the lukewarm folks you get to show up at all. If "they both suck, but Biden sucks less" is the narrative the party's going to end up leaning into, that is not what is going to get apolitical cynics off their ass and into a voting booth. No, not even if they play up how much more the Trump administration will be, not once "they both suck" is the topline take-away. If people believe politics is bullshit contests among dumb people they hate, they're just going to check out.
posted by jackbishop at 2:36 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


if anyone thinks that after DEMS have abandoned the democratic process

Making this year's primary process a coronation rather than a contest was already abandoning the democratic process.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 2:36 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Congratulations on abandoning democracy, on what voters already voted for.

If the will of the voters is for the US to facilitate genocide and then hand control of the country to fascists, they can get stuffed.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:37 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


There is no new information in this comment.

For some context: I'm a 2016 Sanders in the primary to Clinton in the general, 2020 Warren in the primary to Biden in the general type of voter/volunteer on the left.

I knocked on doors across two states in 2019/2020 for Warren. I saw the risk-hedging calculus in real time (leading up to Super Tuesday) that led to an almost perfectly 50/50 flight-to-quality split of Warren supporters to the Biden and Sanders camps. I must've heard a hundred variations of "Yay! I love Elizabeth Warren!...I just--I don't know if she can win. We really have to win this election."

IMO, I thought Biden was too old in 2020, too risky (Sanders too, though he was a better communicator, particularly with certain demographics), and of course too centrist for my own leanings. But when Biden became the nominee, I knew what it meant for me and what it meant for the political conversations I was going to have.

Not trying to be overly dramatic here, but it meant something akin to when I learned I was likely not ever going to be able to have children of my own. I quickly needed to be OK with that. I needed to see the upside in that. I needed to contain a contradiction within myself and be able to articulate both sides of that contradiction believably, to myself; to contain even greater multitudes. Because unless you're very privileged, it turns out that life is very often not what you wanted, expected, planned for, or dreamed about.

Personally, I'm beginning to believe that Harris (who I thought was a flawed candidate in 2020) could be a good candidate for this moment, but it's impossible to know how much of that belief is due to my cultural bubble.

Heather Cox Richardson seems to think the vetted, winning (by definition) coalition of Biden-Harris voters could become a losing, smaller coalition if the personalities on the ticket change. She also mentioned in a recent interview that a new candidate would be subjected to the oppo research scanning electron microscope and all kinds of clips and quotes and info that will hurt the candidate with every demographic will come out. She also said that the reason we see such pointed attacks about Biden's age is that there's not much we don't know about Biden at this stage that can actually hurt his candidacy, and that age is a known, effective vector of attack, as it was in 2020. (And the "strategy" is older than rocks: If you see a schism in your opposition, drive a wedge in it.)

But at this stage it could be Biden. It could be Harris. Hell, it could be Newsom or someone else. But it could also be Biden. This scares me. It scares me because the SCOTUS decisions of the past week, in light of everything I know about Project 2025 and Trump and the Republican party are obviously the real slow-motion coup. I am almost to the point of despair, absolutely frightened it may be too late. But I don't have the luxury to lose hope. I can't and I won't.

Regardless of who the candidate is, we have to quickly be OK with it. We need to get ready to contain even greater multitudes. The time for healthy schisms is quickly drawing to a close. I'm not saying we have to fall in line. I'm not saying we have to like it. The quips, good god the quips, are actively detrimental. The sooner we're done trying to score goddamed favorites or likes or upvotes or uptoots, the better. Screw the social media game the insidious algorithms want us to play.

Reach out to allies with different points of view. Right now. Try to understand where they're coming from. Don't moralize; everyone arrives at their point of view with the best intentions. And get ready, to call, knock on doors, text, or have conversations at the checkout line about a far less than ideal solution. Because life often isn't what you want, but we still have to fight like hell for our survival, for our loved ones' survival.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 2:43 PM on July 6 [25 favorites]


“every Dem needs to suck it up”

See, this is the attitude that is so oddly familiar. It’s the tone of the MAGA asshats in 2016 who were gleefully rubbing Trump in the faces of establishment RNC officials and Republicans generally.

If the response to a collective realization that Biden looks precariously frail, unable to articulate thoughts fully and without the stamina to perhaps even govern the country is “ha ha too bad! Now go do the work you need to do so he wins you whiner!” Then I don’t even know how to explain how tone deaf and concerning that attitude is.

Also, the anti-media strain of these arguments is getting more gross by the minute. Are there problems with our media? Absolutely. But it is mind boggling to think some people don’t realize how much Biden’s piss poor performance and just barely not-as-devastating 22 minute interview have made people wonder if there isn’t someone else who can somehow take on Trump. The media isn’t creating this out of nothing. Biden can’t even keep his mouth closed and looks like he’s seeing the grim reaper standing behind every interviewer.
posted by glaucon at 2:48 PM on July 6 [19 favorites]


The folks above who are saying the media is being unfair by focusing on Biden's problems instead of Trump's are really missing the point. It's precisely because a second Trump presidency would be so disastrous that the debate performance was so consequential.

Before the debate, Biden was an underdog in the election. But there were still multiple plausible paths to victory for him. I think a lot of folks were nervous but hopeful that the polls would tighten once the campaign moved into high gear. After the debate, it was very clear to anybody who watched even five minutes of it that this man does not have what it takes to wage a national vigorous campaign. Without a real campaign, there is no reason to believe he can achieve a comeback in the polls. Staying on the status quo path means an almost guaranteed second Trump presidency. People who can see this are (correctly) freaking out and making noise about it.

Given that Biden can't win, there are three ways this resolves itself:
1. Biden gracefully admits reality and bows out of the race at some point in the next week or two, almost certainly handing the nomination to Kamala Harris.
2. Biden is forced out by delegates at the convention in August who find some legal loophole to not nominate him.
3. Biden runs a feeble campaign for the next four months, loses badly to Trump, and becomes an RBG-esque figure whose entire legacy is tarnished by a single selfish act that enabled the exact forces he has spent his career fighting against to undo his entire legacy.*

I don't know if option 2 is actually possible. But I believe Biden is a good man who is trying to do what he thinks is best for the country. I'm still holding out hope that someone close to him can reason with him in the next little while and get him to come to his senses and voluntarily drop out and transition the campaign to Kamala in a smooth and orderly fashion.

If not, and he stays in, then the only saving grace is we don't need to wait until November to know that Trump will be our next president. We'll know in mid July and can start preparing accordingly.

*Except he'll be even more hated than RBG because it's obvious in advance what's going to happen. He'll be like RBG, except if God had whispered in her ear in mid-2014 and foretold that "Trump is going to win in 2016 and you're going to die in 2020," and she still refused to retire from the court when Obama could have named her successor.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 2:50 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]


1. Biden privately agrees to step down.

2. A cognitive/intelligence test is chosen for Biden to take. This is a test that people believe Trump would not pass (or reach a particular score on).

3. An independent/random is chosen to administer the test.

4. Biden takes and fails the test.

5. Someone is chosen to replace Biden.

6. That person takes and passes the same test.

7. Democrats begin relentlessly calling for Trump to take the test.
posted by flarbuse at 2:52 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


8. Trump refuses and continues on.

9. (There is no 9.)
posted by delfin at 2:56 PM on July 6 [23 favorites]


There is absolutely nothing to gain, and plenty to lose, from Biden's taking a cognitive test.

Well, if Biden took a test and was diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's, I see the following upsides:

1. He could start taking medications that will delay progressing, being good for him and those that care for him.

2. He'd be able to realize he needs to step down, and so would his supporters. This would give the Democrats the best chance to untie and beat Trump.

If he doesn't have Parkinson's or Alzheimers, people would stop speculating. I don't think he'd need to release the raw data, but have 2-3 independent neurologists release public summaries of the main takeaways. His refusal to do this is already making people wonder what he's hiding.
posted by coffeecat at 3:02 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


Congratulations on abandoning democracy, on what voters already voted for.

Do you mean the 2020 election? Because even if Biden didn't take a pledge to be a one-term candidate, he and his campaign did imply he saw himself as a bridge candidate that would pass the torch. A lot of voters, rightly or wrongly, voting for him thinking he wouldn't run again.

If you mean the 2024 primaries....those weren't real primaries. And the majority of Democratic voters currently think he should step down.
posted by coffeecat at 3:07 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


Congratulations on letting "our" billionaires and the right-wing media control the narrative.

Guys, I gotta apologize, this one is on me. I accidentally let the billionaires and right-wing media control the narrative. I know that was wrong, and I promise to do better next election.
posted by mittens at 3:25 PM on July 6 [31 favorites]


No, not to nearly the same extent, he's not. This is trivially demonstrated by watching the debate clip I posted. Biden was sharp in 2020. Since then he has experienced a sharp decline. Trump is still the same blowhard.

daveliepmann: I agreed with the rest of your comment but i wanted to push back on this. Trump has obviously gone seriously downhill since 2020, to at least the same extent Biden has; it's just that he's also pretty obviously taking drugs that are masking some of the worst of it for public appearances.
posted by adrienneleigh at 3:31 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


He pushed back on the media reports that he was falling asleep in the middle of his own trial because he knows it's not a good look.
posted by Selena777 at 3:33 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda following along here... the thought ringing atm is ok, Dems replace Biden with a higher polling Dem. How do we avoid a 2016 Clinton situation (high polling up to the day of, then collapse*)? This is kinda along the lines of what Sing or Swim said up thread.

We know the stakes are high, and as long as we have history as a reference we know what can go very wrong when we rest on polls, and strategize from there.

*I have screencapped on a hard drive a moment on 538 from 2016 wherein Clinton had a 75% of winning the election... what a mess
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:40 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Well, if Biden took a test and was diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's, I see the following upsides:

1. He could start taking medications that will delay progressing, being good for him and those that care for him.


Without trying to be unnecessarily blunt, I have zero doubt that Joe Biden, being POTUS, keeper of the nuclear football, leader of the free world and enjoyer of Rehoboth Beach boardwalk ice cream that he is, is receiving the best medical care -- including preventative and diagnostic care on the regular -- that any of us could ever dream of, including cognitive care. I do not believe that he is shunning doctors and their advice in private, unlike certain candidates who only trust pill-popping nutballs to tell them what they want to hear about their health, but is understandably against turning his medical testing into a explicitly public spectacle.

Which means that one of the following is true.

1. Biden's doctors have not found evidence of dementia, Parkinson's, or other disorders that would significantly impact his ability to govern and function beyond the typical effects of aging.

2. Biden's doctors have found evidence of such disorders creeping in, all involved are keeping his medication and treatment on the down-low, and they are lying about that to everyone outside that need-to-know circle.

3. Both Biden and his doctors are declaring "screw it, I'm fine" and just not bothering to check anything.

Which do we believe?
posted by delfin at 3:41 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


His doctors are legally required to keep his medical information private. So the real question is whether Biden is lying or not. I know what I think.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 3:47 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


delfin, he said in the interview last night that he has not had a neurological exam. So it's either he is shunning his doctor's advice (which seems possible, given how stubborn he is), or he is lying about having an exam because he's hiding something.
posted by coffeecat at 3:48 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Maybe he has had one, and he just forgot.
posted by delfin at 3:49 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


I’m imagining it’s #2, plus an internal power struggle, which led one faction to ensure he did the debate (knowing it would be a train wreck) as a way to make the information public and force the situation .
posted by soylent00FF00 at 3:52 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Also, again, as someone who has watched a family member deal with cognitive decline up close....confronting the possibility that your brain is revolting and potentially turning you into a different person is really hard for people to confront. It's really hard for the people who love them to confront, and there can often be a degree of mutual denial within a family. It's not unusual for someone who is normally very on top of their health to drop the ball when it comes to this sort of thing - if it turns out to be what's happening, it certainly won't be the first time.
posted by coffeecat at 3:54 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Trump has just said he does not know the authors of Project 2025. This is profound evidence of senility beyond anything Biden has shown. The authors of Project 2025 are from Trump's own White House staff including several close advisors and at least one aide to a Cabinet appointee. He apparently doesn't even remember people he was supposed to working closely with for years while in the White House.

One of the main pushers of Project 2025 is Stephen Miller who was both an advisor and a speech writer for Trump for pretty much Trump's entire term in office.
posted by srboisvert at 3:54 PM on July 6 [11 favorites]


Isn't there a lot of runway between "cognitively healthy enough to be leader of the free world" and "has one of two incurable degenerative neurological diseases"?
posted by Selena777 at 3:54 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I have zero doubt that Joe Biden, being POTUS, keeper of the nuclear football, leader of the free world and enjoyer of Rehoboth Beach boardwalk ice cream that he is, is receiving the best medical care -- including preventative and diagnostic care on the regular -- that any of us could ever dream of, including cognitive care.

You might want give this a read…
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:00 PM on July 6


The media isn’t creating this out of nothing

The media has absolutely been broadcasting this narrative almost every day since Biden took office, and they've been ginning it up since the debate so more of us are noticing.

It's not like Trump hasn't been saying random old-man word salad shit for years. You can go on Twitter and see video clips of him at his Nazi rallies. It's just that the media doesn't report about him as if he was just as old and vulnerable as Biden, if not psychotic.

None of this drama means anything, of course. If Trump is installed, that's the end of everything for the rest of us, most of mainstream media included.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:01 PM on July 6 [13 favorites]


With all due respect, I don't really think you can have an informed opinion if you didn't watch the whole thing. The part where he says "no, I won't submit to independent medical examination" is at the beginning. Along with "I had a bad night" justifications for his debate performance, which honestly sounded a lot like "no, George, I know I drove my car into a ditch, but I don't think you should take my keys away, that's not fair, it was just an episode, it can happen to anybody, don't tell me you've never had a bad day".

Okay, that’s fair. I watched the full thing now (sans analysis). I don’t know how successful a political argument he made (obviously it didn’t do everything he could want or this thread would be otherwise!) but I did not see evidence of any kind of 25th amendment situation. He dodged some questions exactly as I’d expect a candidate to dodge those questions (he has to project optimism; he can’t give his detractors a map to his defeat or agree to conditions that bind only him) and redirected attention to his record. His speech errors just seemed like normal speech errors to me.

Could he have some kind of neurological disorder, sure, they are insidious and he’s old, but I didn’t see it there. I didn’t watch the debate, so I’m judging only on his responses to Stephanopolous.

This is neither a prediction of his ultimate victory (I’m a pessimist, but I was also one in 2020) nor is it meant to be a rousing defense (I’m not a huge fan, I did not love his exit plan for Covid precautions and have not loved the way I have seen him throw bones to the folks to his left that quickly turn out to be mirages; but I respect that he’s done a lot of good things in some very bad years). I just don’t see what some of y’all are seeing in that interview.
posted by eirias at 4:07 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Ah - and I don’t think he said “the goodest job.” I think he was going for “as good a job as” and it came out wrong, in the way normal speakers’ sentences sometimes do. I’d be really surprised if this has anything to do with a neurodegenerative thing — could be related to his stutter, maybe, but AFAIK he’s carried that fine.
posted by eirias at 4:32 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


I haven't had much to say on the previous thread or this one because, to be honest, I don't know what the right choice is out of a bunch of bad options. But I have been dwelling on an aspect that I do not see getting as much attention as I think it deserves, though I think many of us are aware of it and deeply troubled by the implications.

Anyway.. I've been considering this whole debacle through the lens of my professional experience, which is in the field of engineering. My own personal definition of that field is maybe a bit idiosyncratic but I have long considered the key to the profession as being the understanding, prediction, and mitigation of failure conditions in systems of sufficient complexity to be of interest.

Looked at through that lens, the current situation in which the Biden campaign finds itself certainly seems to show a terrifying failure of preparation and contingency planning for a number of situations that were clearly foreseeable and for which they should have gamed out strategies and responses well in advance.

A lot of my panic and anger right now is because Biden and his staff, who control billions of campaign dollars, can requisition experts in any field they need, and also command the resources of the executive branch of the most powerful government on the planet, do not seem to be reacting as though they had a coherent plan for "What will happen if our 81-year-old candidate suffers a medical setback or even the appearance of one?" or "What do we do to change the subject if the national press insist on focusing on a narrative other than the one we prefer?" and other difficulties that in the aggregate seem not only possible but actually likely to arise between now and November.

The idea that they cannot manage even this setback, that they do not even appear to have even had a PLAN in advance, makes me deeply unsettled and has me fearfully considering for what other situations they haven't prepared. It makes me wonder, too, whether my wishful thinking on many other topics (e.g. "I'm sure they have experts in charge of strategy who have decided that it's too early to hit Trump on Issue X and so they're probably saving that for closer to the election..") are 100% pure delusion on my part.

Obviously I am going to vote for Biden if he is the alternative to Trump in November but my confidence that he and his people (a) know what they are doing, and (b) share my sense of terrified urgency about the necessity of preventing a second Trump presidency have both been deeply shaken.

Lastly, and speaking just for myself: I also really did not appreciate his answer in the Stephanopoulos interview about what happens if he loses. There were so many better ways that could have been answered than something that essentially boils down to "Well, George, failure is a possibility but I'll be okay." Even just redirecting it to say "Should that happen, I will be devastated, not for myself, but for the millions of Americans whose lives will be made worse.." would have given some much-needed reassurance that he is seeing the whole situation through some bigger lens than "What does this mean for Joe Biden?" I think it likely that he is aware and mindful the bigger picture.. but if so he needs to stop missing opportunities to remind voters of that and invite them to share his concern. Because if he tanks this one, the very last person I am going to be concerned about is Joe Biden.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:40 PM on July 6 [43 favorites]


All year long I've been hearing that people on both sides don't believe Biden and Trump are really actually for really real going to be the nominees. Barring catastrophe, they will be, but it's interesting to see that sentiment playing out in this thread.

If you want to stop dooming, try to keep in mind that the election is 4 months away. Nobody is winning or losing right now, and this very thread is full of people who will definitely vote for Biden over Trump no matter what, but who are nevertheless hoping Biden won't be the nominee. This is evidence for why Biden's poll numbers might be pretty goddamn weak right now.
posted by surlyben at 4:40 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


This motherfucker said "goodest!!!" I feel like I am taking crazy pills, man! Fucking hell!

I haven't watched the interview itself, but I've also seen that quoted as "as good as," which would make sense and be less concerning.
posted by Gadarene at 4:49 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


(that took a long time to go through, and eirias got there first)
posted by Gadarene at 5:16 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


How do we avoid a 2016 Clinton situation (high polling up to the day of, then collapse*)

Biden was polling like dog shit before the debate, and is doing worse now. This is not the issue we have, it is much worse.
posted by snofoam at 5:19 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


>that in some case locked up parents of children with poor attendance records.


As a teacher, I'm okay with this.
posted by KazamaSmokers at 5:25 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]




I genuinely don't understand the "Biden is selfish" narrative. He had essentially retired from politics after 2016, and was seriously contemplating enjoying his golden years with a helluva lot less stress, until it became obvious that he was the only one with enough name recognition and political capital to garner enough general support to potentially beat the orange piece of shit in 2020. The most selfish thing Biden could do now is kowtow to the blathering pundits and step out. It would certainly help his own health, but it would most assuredly be the death knell of a chance at keeping Dems in power come next January. He quite obviously doesn't get the credit he deserves for preserving the union thus far.

I have no personal fealty to the man. Hell, I'm not even a registered Democrat. But he has weathered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with more fortitude than most people could hope to claim. Do I wish we had someone like a Gavin Newsom or a Kamala Harris as the sitting President, a youthful figure to sock it to the MAGAts like they deserve? Of course. But the never-ending onslaught against our democracy during Biden's entire term gave essentially no opportunity for a way to hand over the reigns midstream. So once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Stop repeating the enemy's talking points and doing their job for them.
posted by khrusanthemon at 5:35 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


until it became obvious that he was the only one with enough name recognition and political capital to garner enough general support to potentially beat the orange piece of shit in 2020

Assumes facts VERY MUCH not in evidence.
posted by Gadarene at 5:38 PM on July 6 [19 favorites]


I think what some people aren't getting is that no one here is saying they personally dislike Biden and for that reason want him to drop out.

We're saying we are afraid he can't win and on that basis we want him to drop out.

Personally I loathe Biden. But I can say exactly the same thing about Harris and she's the obvious choice to replace him.

What I want is a candidate who can beat Trump.

If that candidate is Biden then I'm fine with that. If, on the other hand, Biden cannot win in November then I want literally any other Democrat because the effect is going to be the same no matter who the actual President is: a Cabinet filled with bland centrist Democrats and probably a token Republican because bipartisanship.

That's the best outcome we can hope for.

I am in favor of WHATEVER beats Trump.

If Biden is capable of beating Trump I want him in the race.

If Biden is not capable of beating Trump I want him out.

I am Biden agnostic because anyone who would replace him is going to be no different.

Based on polling being against him since before this year, I do not believe he could beat Trump even if he hadn't done so poorly in the debate.

I would prefer it if Biden could beat Trump. The chaos of replacing him isn't good for his successor's chances. But I'd rather gamble on that than take what looks like the certainty of a loss with Biden.

I'll also clarify that I don't care if he's senile or not except inasmuch as senility would be a reason to remove him. If he was 40 years old and perfectly healthy while polling so badly I'd want him replaced.

If beating Trump is so important, and it is, then it cuts both ways. It means people like me have a moral obligation to vote for a party we despise and candidates who are all horrible.

But it ALSO means that the people running the Democratic Party have a moral obligation to do whatever it takes to win. Including ditching Biden if he's become a liability.

I will VBNMW becauseit reallyis important. But it seems they think the stakes aren't high enough for them to do anything unpleasant but necessary.
posted by sotonohito at 5:55 PM on July 6 [21 favorites]


Based on polling being against him since before this year,

And based on recent election results?
posted by Pouteria at 6:05 PM on July 6


And based on recent election results?

He was up in polls the entire 2020 cycle and barely squeaked out an EC victory. He’s down now with no plan for a comeback. Whether other people won elections in 2022 or whatever is totally irrelevant.
posted by snofoam at 6:17 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


Whether other people won elections in 2022 or whatever is totally irrelevant.

Totally?
posted by Pouteria at 6:20 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Totally?

To this race, absolutely. What does this presidential race have in common with house and senate races two years ago? Why would we think that a candidate behind in every swing state could possibly win a nationwide election? How is it not obvious that this election hinges on the very unique dynamic between these specific candidates? What do the 2022 elections have to tell us about a presidential candidate who his own party overwhelmingly believes is unfit to run?
posted by snofoam at 6:26 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


"If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth[e] last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour." -Churchill


"From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."


"If I lose, I'll have made a jolly gee whillikers tiddlywinks goodest attempt!" -Biden
posted by Jacen at 6:32 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


The media has absolutely been broadcasting this narrative almost every day since Biden took office, and they've been ginning it up since the debate so more of us are noticing.


"I was curious just how many stories the @nytimes has done on Biden's debate performance so I counted. Between the end of the debate & 8am this morning [July 5], it was a staggering 192 pieces.

Trump gets much less attention with 92 stories. Almost half are about the SCOTUS immunity ruling. Just one about Trump calling for military tribunals for his opponents. None of the stories focus on Trump's mental fitness."

None of this drama means anything, of course. If Trump is installed, that's the end of everything for the rest of us, most of mainstream media included.

As someone on Twitter said years ago, "They'll 'get it' when they're on the trains."
posted by NorthernLite at 6:38 PM on July 6 [11 favorites]


I can’t speak for everyone, but if Biden stays in the race, I would still vote for his losing campaign. The whole point is we don’t have to resign ourselves to losing quite yet. Any option besides Biden has some hope of succeeding.
posted by snofoam at 7:10 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


What do the 2022 elections have to tell us about a presidential candidate who his own party overwhelmingly believes is unfit to run?

And moreover a candidate whose physical and mental decline is such that he is visibly not the same man he was in 2022, let alone in 2020.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:10 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


What does this presidential race have in common with house and senate races two years ago?

I was thinking more of special elections and state constitution amendments.
posted by Pouteria at 7:11 PM on July 6


I was thinking more of special elections and state constitution amendments.

Oh, please, do tell us how these are relevant to this election!
posted by snofoam at 7:13 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Pouteria serious question here, let's break out of the whole talking points at each other thing.

Do you really think the fact that he was consistently polling 5 to 10 points above Trump in 2020 and that he's polling consistently 5 to 10 points below Trump for the past year is irrelevant?

Yeah, he won in 2020, in a race where the stupid thoughtless voters had just come off four years of Trump being manifestly incompetent and after Trump bungling the COVID response. And he still barely eeked out an EC victory. 2020 was a unique confluence of events.

Today there's a different unique confluence of events. The Supreme Court is visibly going full on dictatorial, and Trump continues to Trump. On the negative side prices are high and however irrational it is the bulk of voters are blaming that on Biden.

To me it looks like regardless of his mental state Biden is going to lose. It's looked like that all year. I've been spending most of this year trying to come to terms with what looks, to me, like an inevitable Trump victory.

And now he went full on senile during the debates and while on the one hand that's awful on the other it actually seems like a ray of hope to me.

From my POV he can't win. Now there's a chance to oust him and move from guaranteed failure to the unknown. And the unknown looks better than guaranteed failure to me.

I suspect that's partially behind so many elected Democrats calling for him to step aside. There's this sudden burst of hope that maybe we can salvage this.

Now if you can point me to the Biden campaign acting boldly and decisively to enact a new strategy and a new approach to the election my mind might be changed. But so far it looks exactly like the 2020 campaign only more tired.

khrusanthemon cousin, I really wish I had as much faith in my influence and importance as you seem to.

And sorry, but no.bwe can't just clap louder and convince the wavering idiot voters to stop believing their own lying eyes and just trust that Biden is totally with it and healthy. If clap louder worked we'd have won in 2016.
posted by sotonohito at 7:15 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


All the MeFites voting coupled with hopping in the Delorean and preventing 192 NYT articles wouldn't help 2024 Biden win swing voters and "maybe-I-won't-even-vote voters" in PA and GA, which are really the states where the Dem candidate needs to get several points ahead of Trump in order for anyone to rest easy.

And so I think a lot of our conversation and our well-earned animosities and anxieties are a little too complicated for the narrow question at hand: is Joe Biden, in the state of decline we've seen him in, best to win those states and a couple other swingy ones? If not, patriotism, loyalty to democracy as an ideal, loyalty to the future, all these beg for Biden to step aside, it's clear electoral and moral reasoning.

As we've seen, there's polls to help people with some influence to decide whether to put the full court press on Biden. Sadly, they show that he's not likely to win those needed states, and he's likely to put even more on the table to gamble over. He's gotta go.

(I don't love Kamala and I don't claim any wisdom about whether resignation or a brokered convention or something else is strategically preferable. But I sure would prefer to see what Kamala does to turnout in PA and GA, over what ol' Joe does.)
posted by kensington314 at 7:44 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


> "What will happen if our 81-year-old candidate suffers a medical setback or even the appearance of one?"

isn't harris supposed to be the backup plan?

also btw, re: smearing...
-Republicans turn their focus to Harris as talk of replacing Biden on Democratic ticket intensifies
-Trump allies intensify Harris attacks as Biden replacement talk builds
-Republicans target Harris in new ad amid Biden questions
-House Republicans target Harris as Biden concerns loom

> Trump has just said he does not know the authors of Project 2025.

i'm guessing this is more like putin saying he prefers biden -- and yeah, it apparently isn't polling well: "after its leader claimed a second American Revolution was underway that would 'remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.'"

> I can’t speak for everyone, but if Biden stays in the race, I would still vote for his losing campaign.

any (D) would do right? absent the debate, no one was questioning biden's mental faculties, which i think kinda shows the office of the presidency -- the whole apparatus behind it -- is bigger than the president. (or alternatively, trumpism is bigger than trump.) not that a figurehead isn't important -- or doesn't make key decisions or helps direct and galvanize underlying political currents -- but there is a whole machine/team out of the spotlight that keeps the executive running, presumably reflecting the party's interests. obviously you want the best QB (sorry) out there, but it isn't like (most) anyone is switching sides if they don't personally feel s/he's the one. and it isn't as if propped-up joe was inadequate for the show before we knew his team was (probably) covering for him.

so i guess for the (extremely?) marginal voters who would have voted for biden except for what his debate performance revealed about him and/or his administration -- but who could countenance a trump presidency -- it might matter? but if the (D) -- or at least not (R) -- is the overwhelmingly deciding factor, then it might not matter all that much.
posted by kliuless at 8:08 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


I am pretty sure that "r*tard*d" is a word that is not acceptable to use on MetaFilter.
posted by adrienneleigh at 8:28 PM on July 6 [16 favorites]


Any option besides Biden has some hope of succeeding.
an inevitable Trump victory
guaranteed failure
Can you guys share the crystal ball you're using?
posted by april of time at 8:42 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


And try diagraming that sentence. Sense it makes no.
posted by y2karl at 8:57 PM on July 6


Medical experts: Biden needs to be evaluated for Parkinson’s (Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns & Money)
posted by adrienneleigh at 9:19 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


No one has a crystal ball. I guess the case I'd make is: no one gets to look into the future and see housing market crashes and Comey disclosures and pandemics and SCOTUS rulings or anything. Both sides of the Biden vs Any Other Plausible Dem debate are equally unable to predict the outcome of the race on any terms.

But we can look at the candidate and see if he has the energy and ability to go to state after state, day after day, talk to voters, then perform well on TV on his worst days, constantly, for six months. It's gaslighting to pretend that the Joe Biden from last week has what it takes to get himself up into the +5% range MINIMUM in polling that is needed for a Dem to win the EC. There was a cat in a bag, fitfully, under the care of many unwise minders. The cat is no longer in the bag.

I think it's fair to say, during the most consequential election in memory, it would be better to get a candidate into the race who can run it, because there is time to do so.

Also I think we're suffering under the weight of the never-was-true claim that only Biden can beat Trump, from 2020. Others have said here that this view itself ("I alone can fix it") has a Trumpy valence. Maybe so! I'll just say, in a democracy we don't have a Teleological God Man who is the One. Because I'm far to the left of the Dem party, I keep many of the 2020 also-rans and 2024 might-runs out of my mind--my job is just to vote for whichever Dem I disagree with makes it to the General. But one of the weird post-debate experiences has been to look around and see how deep the Dems' shallow bench is. We've been lied to.
posted by kensington314 at 9:35 PM on July 6 [14 favorites]


Trump has just said he does not know the authors of Project 2025. This is profound evidence of senility beyond anything Biden has shown. The authors of Project 2025 are from Trump's own White House staff including several close advisors and at least one aide to a Cabinet appointee. He apparently doesn't even remember people he was supposed to working closely with for years while in the White House.

No, he's just lying. As usual! This is, if anything, the opposite of senility--he's understood that Project 2025 is an unpopular proposition and has decided to deceive voters about his complicity in its creation.
posted by knotty knots at 9:37 PM on July 6 [30 favorites]


Those comparing 2024 to 2020 and 2016 should realize that we've come through a lot since then, and there are reasons to believe the line will hold. You're not going to read about it in polling data or corporate-controlled news media, but plenty of people have woken up to the threat of a second Trump term. Whether it was his four years in office or the attempted coup at the end, or the cases piled against him now, there are previously apathetic or even conservative people who have told themselves, "I'm done with this shit" and made up their minds to kick Trump and MAGA to the curb. Trust me, I know some of them. I also know a number of diehard MAGAts who are beyond saving, but they haven't changed in 8 years, so I'm not going to waste my energy with them.

Touch some grass, folks. You're gonna wear yourselves out like this.
posted by khrusanthemon at 9:48 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


khrusanthemon That sounds a bit like "there's no way Biden can win, I don't see Biden signs anywhere and he doesn't have rallies".

Yes, you know people who are going to vote Biden. As do I.

But that doesn't change the polls.

It's disheartening how cult of personality the Democrats have become. Polls show Biden is down? Polls must be wrong. Biden had a horrible senile debate? Must be a conspiracy by the media. The very possibility of a different candidate is seen as somehow a grave offense against reality or something. I don't get it.

Do you really think what is happening now looks like a Biden victory? With all the polls so strongly against him? Leave out all the personality stuff and the debate. Just look at the polling. Is that an indicator of a likely Biden victory?
posted by sotonohito at 9:57 PM on July 6 [20 favorites]


Leaving aside the debate, the personality stuff, age, whatever, in any other iteration of Dem vs Trump Mach II, if the current polling held for a couple weeks I'd kinda think any candidate should drop out and give us an 11th hour redo. The stakes here are very high and the candidate should be able to pull ahead of an historically unpopular and weak candidate like Trump.
posted by kensington314 at 10:05 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I "like" Harris and I "like" Biden (that is, I believe their values are largely aligned with mine: and opposite of the Republican party's) and if it comes down to it, I'll vote Biden because it is important (In big, history repeating itself size letters important) that the republicans do not win.

The thing Harris "needs" to do, or at least the thing I can least imagine her doing, is sit down at a "local bar" or, better yet, a the NYTimes-fabled "Diner in Ohio/Middle America" and find common cause with the local older, white males who are sitting there at the counter. Because I imagine for this group in particular Harris is a hair-on-fire, the-world-is-no-longer-one-I-understand moment. Not only is she a woman, but she's not white?! (In no particular order.)

And like it or not, they are the majority and as noted upthread, that group would rather go with a blathering, senseless con-man/felon/rapist (and genocidal maniac (you think Biden is bad on Palestine? Trump has a beer he would like you to hold)) than someone else. Because it reflects something they "understand."

Uncertain times. Not a fan.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:05 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Is that an indicator of a likely Biden victory?
posted by sotonohito at 9:57 PM on July 6 [5 favorites +] [⚑]


Remember how you (I) felt in the two weeks before the election in 2016? When it seemed obvious the poling was simply wrong?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:12 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]



Remember how you (I) felt in the two weeks before the election in 2016? When it seemed obvious the poling was simply wrong?


Clinton had a consistent 3-5 point lead over Trump in polling leading up to Election Day and ended up winning the popular vote by almost three million and losing the electoral college by 69,000 votes spread across three states. The polling wasn't exactly wrong. Biden having a consistent deficit is considerably more concerning, honestly.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:28 AM on July 7 [18 favorites]


Mod note: One removed for using a slur against developmentally disabled people. See our FAQ section on Microaggressions, specifically here: "Dated/offensive/x-ist language." Also please discontinue the "shame on you" narrative and similar insulting rhetoric (one removed). Just explain your point of view without attacking other members. Guidelines: "Be considerate and respectful ... add your own informed perspective and nuance instead of shutting others down."
posted by taz (staff) at 12:36 AM on July 7 [17 favorites]


And try diagraming that sentence. Sense it makes no.

Can't let someone who mangled syntax do a job as important as posting on Metafilter, right?
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:50 AM on July 7 [8 favorites]


Actual state-by-state polling has been pretty sparse over the last week. (There was a long holiday weekend that we're just finishing up as well.) That Morning Consult/Bloomberg set of polls yesterday is the only group of state-by-state polls that's come out based on surveying done since 6/27.

I do have a sense of the polling landscape just before the debate:

Biden support way down in deep blue states (New York, Massachusetts, etc.). Not enough to affect electoral college votes.

Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania: even, 50/50, tossups, just like they were in 2020 and 2016. (Include Nebraska 2nd District in this if you like.)

Georgia and Arizona: Biden won these, just barely, in 2020. Polling this year looks like a reversion to 2016, with Trump leading by maybe 4 points or so.

North Carolina: Trump won barely in 2020. Similar pattern to GA and AZ, looks like a reversion to 2016.

Nevada: Worrisome. Trump leading this year. Biden won Nevada in 2020, Clinton won Nevada in 2016.

Virginia: Worrisome. Not as much polling, but Biden won VA by like 10 points in 2020, has slid into a tossup this year.

Florida: Still arguably a competitive state in 2020. This year (and in the 2022 midterms), sliding even deeper into redness, might be completely out of reach.

Formerly competitive red states (IA, OH, MO) and deep red states: no change from 2020 or 2016.

There are no states that Trump won in 2020 that Biden has made competitive this year.

It's been noted previously that Democratic candidates for Senate are polling way, way ahead of Biden in many important states, including Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

Conclusions: Trump has an advantage, it's small, but it's there. Trump's advantage is not because Trump support is growing, but because Biden support is dropping. The drop in Biden support is not affecting Democratic candidates for Senate.

Democratic candidates are doing pretty well. Except for one...important one.

All this is based on polling done before the debate on June 27.
posted by gimonca at 5:32 AM on July 7 [28 favorites]


The thing Harris "needs" to do, or at least the thing I can least imagine her doing, is sit down at a "local bar" or, better yet, a the NYTimes-fabled "Diner in Ohio/Middle America" and find common cause with the local older, white males who are sitting there at the counter.

One positive for Harris is everyone who has observed her up close notes that she is actually really, really, good at retail politics. She's warm, she listens, she has a good laugh, she connects with a wide range of people.

One thing I've been wondering is whether Harris even wants to become the nominee right now. I have no doubt she plans to run in 2028, but this would be very different - nobody serious thinks that if Biden stepped down, that she's be an easy win against Trump. It would be a close race, and she might lose. If that happened, her political career is likely over - whereas if she loses as VP, well, then the blame will fall elsewhere and she can still give it a go in 2028.
posted by coffeecat at 8:01 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Yes, yes, I will vote for Biden in order to vote against Trump.

But I sure would prefer not to vote for a presidential candidate who claims that only divine power can convince him to do what the majority of his constituents demonstrably want and need him to do.

And I sure would rally on behalf of a candidate who was selected by a plurality of Democrats in an open, public process of discussion and debate.

Out with divine selection, in with messy plural process!
(In other words, hey Democrats, let’s actually do this democracy thing please)
posted by marlys at 8:02 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Behind the Curtain: Unbendable Biden vs. breaking-point Dems (Axios, this morning)
The bottom line: Biden holds the power. If he doesn't blink, he'd be daring Democrats to wage a public fight at the convention to undo the will of voters 11 weeks before Election Day. It would tear apart the party, the convention, Biden's legacy. The president believes that in the end, his critics will cave.
posted by box at 8:05 AM on July 7


Are you sure you don't have senility?

Read the most recent mod note please.
posted by coffeecat at 8:05 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Mod note: One comment deleted. Let's stop calling another user senile for disagreeing with you.
posted by loup (staff) at 8:08 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


> One thing I've been wondering is whether Harris even wants to become the nominee right now. I have no doubt she plans to run in 2028, but this would be very different - nobody serious thinks that if Biden stepped down, that she's be an easy win against Trump. It would be a close race, and she might lose

yeah i don’t think there’s any path forward for the democrats at this point. i think replacing biden with harris is the least-bad option, but i acknowledge that this is more or less just shoving harris off the tallest glass cliff in history.

yes yes we’ll all vote for whoever has a d after their name in november. but at this point the pressing post-november problem is figuring out how to replace the democratic party with some other more functional organization. i advocate for replacing it with something that doesn’t operate through electoral means — we can all see that electoral means are donezo for the foreseeable future — but i don’t expect anyone else here to be as big a fan of lawless political violence as i am.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 8:15 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


re: harris as backup, where biden lost rick perlstein (besides gaza, and in historical context): "It happened when I realized that what I thought was his most impressive display of character had been but a mirage. That came in March of 2020, after he'd clinched the nomination but before he'd picked a running mate, when he said, 'I view myself as a bridge, nothing else. There's an entire generation of leaders... They are the future of this country.'[1,2] He was pledging, I let myself hear, to pass the torch to a new generation of Democrats after a single term. This, I decided, was a mensch. I was wrong."
posted by kliuless at 8:26 AM on July 7 [18 favorites]


You know what's really going to destroy the party? Let's assume the least bad Trump term possible - the worst of his pronouncements are just bloviating, abortion and trans healthcare are left to the states, the "immigration crackdown" is largely performative and he doesn't replace all the civil servants because people persuade him that quite a lot of commerce relies on the federal government. So it's worse than his first term, but not actually apocalyptic, and there actually is a meaningful 2028 election....

...And the Democratic party tears itself apart in a way that makes the DSA/Bernie situation look like a tea party because of how this has been handled. When Trump wins in November, a lot of people are going to blame Biden's declining ability to campaign, particularly if the next debate is also bad or there's some other unconcealable gaffe or it looks more and more like he has Parkinson's. And those people are going to hate and distrust the party leadership, and you know what I bet will actually happen? They will stay home. A whole generation of young voters will hate adult Trump but also hate the Democrats. People in their mid-thirties or older may have some positive memories of Democratic leadership, or at least have grown up with "Democrats are the party of labor" or something, but people who started voting in 2016 or 2020 won't. All they will know is stumbles, lies and everyone cheering for genocide.

I'm not a very good leftist, frankly, but I do try, and I can tell you that I was radicalized in my teens/early twenties by finding out what the US had done. Finding out about the Democratic convention in 1968 and about the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954 were what did it, oddly, because at the time I could not understand how a country that trumpted itself as the democratic good guys could do things that were so patently, obviously wrong and undemocratic. But anyway, if I had seen streaming video of little kids getting their heads blown off every day as the direct result of the actions of the existing democratic administration, I would have lost my mind.

Anyone in power (not mefites kicking ideas around, we're arguing but it's to hash out our viewpoints and we're all going to do pretty much the same stuff give or take, also we don't really have any power to speak of) who cared about the future of the party, never mind the future of the country, would be realizing about now that there is no "the Democratic Party unites without conflict and sails through whatever is coming". It seems unlikely that Biden is going to become a stronger campaigner as we go, he's too weak now and if, god forbid, something really bad happens in the next four months, it will be too late. It's like we're going with "there's a ten percent chance things will be great, a sixty percent chance that things will be merely bad and a thirty percent chance that they will be an apocalyptic disaster" and somehow it seems bad to change course. It's just, which are the better dice to roll. Even if there's only, say, a ten percent chance that Biden has a stroke, blanks out during a press conference or debate or otherwise totally collapses, well, ten percent is kind of a lot.
posted by Frowner at 8:51 AM on July 7 [20 favorites]


Less the charging-ahead energy you point to, and more the pathetic look of a boxer who just woke up from a knockout and wants to fight another round.

Straight outta Better Off Dead:
Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory-hungry stallion we've raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:58 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


I agree with Frowner: there is nothing for the democratic party to lose by running Harris. But unfortunately, I think the only way you get to Harris is for Biden to resign. He has to resign. No one will think that a candidate the party just selected is legit, not really. But if he does resign, Harris will do as well as Biden would have, and maybe better. A maybe is better than a no. And a no is what we got.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


frowner: i recall a while back you saying something about how in retrospect the left should have broken from the democratic party sometime back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, when (in retrospect) the stakes were low enough for us to absorb the decade or whatever in the wilderness that it would have taken to build a less-dysfunctional political party that could have successfully pushed back the rising tide of fascism that we find ourselves neck-deep in now. (apologies if i’m misrepresenting that particular take or if it’s something i hallucinated rather than something i read).

roundabout december of this year, failing a convenient act of god resolving the biden situation in time for the democrats to win, i think it might be time for whatever passes for an organized left in this country to pull the trigger on tearing the democratic party all the way apart. not because the stakes are low — they’re as high as they’ve ever been, obviously — but because the destruction of that particular organized group of von hindenberg stans and its special form of democratic centralism in the defense of feckless liberalism will at that point not be any sort of loss at all.

needless to say my whole super-arch shitposting-about-political-violence deal is just false bravado used as a coping mechanism against utter terror about what appears to now be at long last inevitably coming down the pike.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:09 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]


Did I say that? It sounds like something I would say. Good job, past Frowner!

Yeah, I dunno, my feeling is that there's going to be a collapse of the national Democratic party pretty soon unless they really move to turn things around because everything is too horrible and they either won't (Gaza, railworkers' strike, covid stuff) or can't (various gridlocks) change. That means disaffection and staying home and the only way forward is for the disaffected people to have something else to work on. Let's hope there's enough small-d democracy left that it's possible to construct a party/movement/whatever seems to work without it simply being crushed by brute force.

So here we are once again at the bottom of the hill having to push the boulder up again at enormous cost in time and lives. I think a lot of us, including me, don't really want to accept that, but it's the truth. Oh no, here we go again, etc.
posted by Frowner at 9:22 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Even if there's only, say, a ten percent chance that Biden has a stroke, blanks out during a press conference or debate or otherwise totally collapses, well, ten percent is kind of a lot.

Especially when you consider polls gave Trump a 30% chance of winning in 2016!

But yeah, I don't think I'm seen the Democratic Party this weak and divided in my lifetime (though as I'm in my late 30s, I can only really claim to clearly remember the Bush years onward). Before Gaza, the divide was mainly in terms of policy but there was still mostly a shared reality - but with Gaza the divide became moral with both sides living in entirely different media ecosystems/social circles and unable to talk with each other. Now this has divided the party along different lines - from what I've seen, the people calling for Biden to step down are pretty mixed ideologically - yes, it's many on the left, but also a lot of liberals and centrists. I'd say this even more than Gaza has made people feel let down, gaslit, and ignored by the party - the whole point of political parties, in theory, is to promote the best interests of the party - whereas it seems pretty clear to a significant chunk of the party that lately it's been mainly promoting the best interests of an out-of-touch, unpopular, 81 year-old who has been experiencing noticeable cognitive decline for at least the past year.
posted by coffeecat at 9:30 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


If you think the Democratic party should fall apart and leftists coalesce elsewhere, what do you think of these options:
* Democratic Socialists of America
* Green Party
* Working Families Party

Also, People for Democratic Party Reform?
posted by NotLost at 9:36 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Creating a new brand is often harder than re-branding. Personally, I'd rather the Democratic Party leadership just better resemble the voters - I'm progressive, but I'm also pragmatic, and I'd settle for leadership evenly split btw centrists, liberals, and progressives.

Anyway, just read Ezra Klein's recent column (and look, I don't always agree with him, but I find the characterization upthread that he's a "conservative pundit" to be wildly off-base - he's solidly a liberal). Anyway, it's relevant to the recent discussion here so I'll just post the key part in case people don't want to give him or the NYTimes clicks:

What Democrats — or at least the Biden campaign — thought they were doing was playing it safe. A primary campaign could only weaken Biden. Difficult interviews could create viral moments that harmed him. News conferences could reveal him flat-footed. But Democrats missed the risk they were running: They didn’t know how he would perform in a re-election campaign until it was nearly too late. Perhaps even Biden didn’t know how he’d perform.

Denying themselves information is not a mistake Democrats should make again. Which is why the most important comment I saw a Democrat make last week was from Representative Jim Clyburn, the South Carolina elder statesman who saved Biden’s campaign in 2020 and is one of its co-chairs in 2024. In an interview on CNN, Clyburn said on Wednesday that if Biden leaves the race, the party should hold “a mini-primary.”

“You can actually fashion the process that’s already in place to make it a mini-primary, and I would support that absolutely,” Clyburn said. “We can’t close that down, and we should open up everything for the general election. I think that Kamala Harris would acquit herself very well in that kind of a process, but then it would be fair to everybody.”

If Democrats need to choose another candidate, they need to make the process as competitive and open as possible. Harris would be the front-runner, and there’s a good case to be made that she’s underrated. But she needs to prove her mettle. To anoint her because it would minimize conflict would be madness. Imagine the intraparty battling if Democrats, after unwisely closing ranks around Biden, close ranks around Harris and lose to Trump.

The cliché used to be that Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. In recent years, Republicans have fallen apart and Democrats have fallen in line. But a fear of disorder can become a pathology all its own. Some problems cannot be solved without opening yourself to uncertainty. Some information cannot be surfaced without a bit of chaos and conflict. We have all had seasons in our lives in which we lost control, only to discover new strengths and possibilities. As it is for people, so it is for parties.

A coronation would also deny Democrats the reward of a contest: constant media coverage from here until their convention. Imagine Trump’s fury if he spent the next few months barely able to break into a news cycle. In an interview with Politico, a Democratic National Convention delegate from South Carolina said aloud what many Democrats have told me privately. “I think it would be fantastic for the party. I mean, think about it: People would watch it. It would get the ratings: It has the drama that people would pay attention to. And if multiple candidates were seeking our nomination, you would have wall-to-wall, weeklong, prime-time coverage of all of our best rising stars, delivering the party message that, frankly, Joe Biden couldn’t against Donald Trump.”

posted by coffeecat at 9:46 AM on July 7 [13 favorites]


Of course Harris wants to be the nominee. 2028 is the dark side of the moon and Trump is eminently beatable. She probably can’t run against Biden if the Convention is against his will - ingrate is a bad look - but she can if he steps aside, and 100% will.
posted by MattD at 10:07 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


And now Adam Schiff has defected - the question now seems to be whether Biden will make it to his recently-announced press conference on Thursday.
posted by coffeecat at 10:16 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


David Axelrod on Inside Politics Sunday (CNN, The Hill):
"His psyche is that he can beat anybody and any long odds. What he can't beat is Father Time.... He's not winning this race; he's more likely, if you just look at the data and talk to people around the country, it's more likely that he'll lose by a landslide than win narrowly. And if the stakes are as large as he says, then he really needs to consider what the right thing to do here is."
posted by box at 10:36 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


Oh wow! Adam Schiff already gunning for the VP spot on a Harris ticket. Just what the electorate asked for, a double California ticket.
posted by kensington314 at 11:11 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves... (12th amendment)
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:26 AM on July 7 [8 favorites]


Which is why Dick Cheney was from Wyoming not Texas where Bush the Younger lived, having "moved" there months before the election. Cheney had previously lived in Texas.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 AM on July 7 [11 favorites]


I guess if you combined Harris & Schiff's position on Gaza in a blender you'd get Biden's.
posted by torokunai at 11:54 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Battling stories from Tiger Beat on the Potomac:

Biden turns to Pennsylvania to try to save his campaign (Politico, 2:30 pm)
Biden is convinced he can win. Democrats say prove it (Politico, 3:02 pm)
posted by box at 12:51 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


According to the NYTimes:

During a virtual meeting convened by Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and at least one other senior Democrat said they believed it was time for President Biden to exit the race, according to a person briefed on the still-ongoing session who insisted on anonymity to describe it.
posted by coffeecat at 1:02 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Thanks coffeecat. I can't tell, is Jeffries one of the people saying it's time to exit? or is he only in there as the convener?

It looks like the Times must have realized the ambiguity because I'm seeing this similar-but-different graf now in the Times, which makes it sound like Jeffries merely convened (but adds two names to the list of senior Democrats calling for an exit):

Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee; Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee; Mark Takano of California, the ranking member of the Veterans Affairs panel; and Joseph D. Morelle of New York, the top Democrat on the Administration Committee, all said Mr. Biden should withdraw, according to the people, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a confidential virtual meeting on a sensitive topic. The discussion, which was still in progress on Sunday afternoon, was organized by Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader.

Fluid situation, at any rate.
posted by eirias at 1:34 PM on July 7


Should Biden end his 2024 campaign? What prominent Democrats are saying (NYT gift)

Wired: Updated regularly, includes people's jobs and states for context and links to the actual comment

Tired: Frames comments as 'said Biden should step aside,' 'expressed concern,' and 'expressed support,' which seems like horse-race-y scorekeeping that's probably irrelevant and doesn't capture the nuance of some of these statements (e.g. is something like 'he's our nominee' a statement of support, or a factual description of current conditions?)
posted by box at 1:36 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Yeah eirias, it was just one of their live updates, perhaps those get less copy-editing - but yes, Jeffries is just convening it.
posted by coffeecat at 2:06 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Would you get in a car with him driving?

Presidents don't work alone. You elect a vast administration, not a person. Would you elect a Biden administration or a Trump administration?

So if we have to stick to the car analogy, you're at a taxi stand and there are only two cars from which to choose. Do you get in the car designed, built, maintained, and provided with a driver by a Biden administration? An administration that has a great vice president ready to take charge of the taxi company if needed? Or do you choose the Trump administration's taxi company? There is no third choice.

Which administration has already promised to do all the wrong things as soon as it gets the chance?
posted by pracowity at 3:29 PM on July 7 [12 favorites]


Sure, that's a good argument for voting for the Democrats. It's not very persuasive about Biden being lucid enough to win an election, which is what concerns people here.

If the party offering the better plan always won, we wouldn't exactly be in this scenario, would we.
posted by sagc at 3:32 PM on July 7 [11 favorites]


In the tortured taxi analogy, there are two taxi companies. One is a terrible taxi company with the worst driver imaginable. The other taxi company is decent and we are still trying to figure out who the driver will be.
posted by snofoam at 3:34 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


...Trump’s support has gelled while Biden’s has frayed. Many Americans haven’t felt the benefits of what is a structurally sound Biden economy, and the young, activist portion of the Democratic base is angry about Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.

I, like many others, wish Biden hadn’t sought a second term. I wish that the Democratic nominee was a young visionary with verve.

But retrospective wishing is worthless.

Biden is the Democratic candidate. He’s the only person standing between us and Trump’s destructive, retributive impulses and the ever-increasing latitude that the Supreme Court has granted him.

The fact that an 81-year-old is increasingly showing signs of being an 81-year-old doesn’t panic me; what Trump has signaled he’ll do with another term does.

There’s another way that calls for Biden’s withdrawal could backfire on liberals. One of my favorite TV lines comes from Omar on “The Wire,” paraphrasing Emerson: “You come at the king, you best not miss.” A failed attempt to usurp a man in power risks his vengeance.

But I’ve been thinking of that line in another way as it relates to Biden. By building a case for Biden’s incapacity and his need for capitulation — without convincing him of the same — liberals risk further wounding their standard-bearer and increasing the probability of the thing they most desperately seek to avoid: Trump’s re-election.

And if Biden should decide to leave the race, as The Times reported on Wednesday that he is considering, his withdrawal would only add credence to the idea that some Democrats had, in effect, conspired to conceal a disqualifying impairment and only changed course when forced. The taint of this would linger over the party and any replacement candidate.

Instead of clearing the way for victory, liberals may well be paving the way for defeat.
On this one, I am with Charles Blow.
posted by y2karl at 3:40 PM on July 7 [15 favorites]


2024 Word of the Year: Presumptive
posted by snofoam at 3:47 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Does he mean "progressives" or "neoliberals" when he says liberals?
posted by Selena777 at 3:54 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


No nit is too small to pick for some wits.
posted by y2karl at 4:11 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


The next big event will be Biden's press conference at the NATO summit in Washington DC this week (July 9-11).
posted by interogative mood at 4:34 PM on July 7


And if Biden should decide to leave the race, as The Times reported on Wednesday that he is considering, his withdrawal would only add credence to the idea that some Democrats had, in effect, conspired to conceal a disqualifying impairment and only changed course when forced.

That does appear to be what actually happened.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 4:52 PM on July 7 [17 favorites]


Instead of clearing the way for victory, liberals may well be paving the way for defeat

Biden has been trailing pretty consistently in the polls before the debate, then the debate revealed that Biden very likely is suffering from a serious condition that is making his brain bad and his brain will only get worse. Keeping Biden in the race almost guarantees a defeat. I haven’t seen any plan to get Biden ahead, why we would expect all the polls to be wrong, why Biden actually had a shot at winning.

Another way of thinking about this whole situation is: wow this candidate sucks and will very likely lose, and Trump is an existential threat to the US, can’t we use Bidens clear cognitive difficulties as a justifiable reason to replace him and hopefully give us a chance at winning?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:57 PM on July 7 [12 favorites]


I theorize that sometimes, people don't want to change, because them doing so would mean admitting they were mistaken in a way that would be more painful for them to accept than staying stubbornly on course.
posted by polymodus at 5:06 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


They don't call it the fallacy of sunk costs for nothing!
posted by coffeecat at 5:12 PM on July 7 [6 favorites]


What I really wish is that I had any faith whatsoever in the Democratic Party movers and shakers, either in their ability to do the right thing or in their ability to at the very least prioritize winning the election above ALL other considerations including the seniority system, favors owed, etc.

They keep saying this is a pivotal election, and for the record I think they're right. But no one in the Democratic higher ranks seems to act like they think it's true. They show no sense of urgency, no willingness to discard old and failed approaches and politicians, no recognition that business as usual is what got us into this mess so their status quo really isn't a good baseline, none of that.

They're running Biden's campaign like it was 2012 and he was up against someone like Romney instead of up against a wannabe dictator backed by people who want to enact Project 2025. They knew what the stakes were two years ago. They REALLY knew in April of 2023 since that's when Project 2025 was published.

And yet.... They just drifted along, nothing new, nothing different, no sense of awareness that the threat of Trump was anything more than just a convenient boogieman to use when shaking us down for donations. They did not rise to the moment, or even seem to realize there was a moment.
posted by sotonohito at 5:20 PM on July 7 [22 favorites]


Timothy Snyder tiptoes into the debate fray, mostly as preamble to something more direct to come.

(FWIW, MeFi passes the good faith test he outlines within).
posted by mazola at 6:32 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Snyder doing his best to include ‘fascism’ in every sentence.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:46 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


I’m ok with that.
posted by mazola at 7:00 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine caring very much about Timothy Snyder's opinion about anything.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:09 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


To your detriment I think but different strokes and all that jazz.
posted by mazola at 7:19 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


I appreciate Biden’s first term accomplishments, but I don’t know what that has to do with observing that he doesn’t look like he can win this election. Likewise, this is an unusually important election, but I would want this Biden replaced even if he were losing to a moderate Republican right now. And obviously it is important to have a plan for how to replace him and win, but that’s just common sense, not some measure of good faith. I guess I find every aspect of this three way test to be arbitrary and irrelevant.
posted by snofoam at 7:19 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Here there is no undersupply of opinions for which I can't imagine ever paricularly caring.
posted by y2karl at 7:26 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I've yet to see anyone – including Charles Blow – provide a positive argument for why Biden is the Democrat's best shot right now to defeat Trump. All of what's in that quote above are negatives, which seem pretty questionable.

A failed attempt to usurp a man in power risks his vengeance.

Do people really think Biden will go scorched earth if he's pressured to step down? He is a life-long Democrat - if the majority of Congress tell him to go, he's not going to start campaigning for Trump.

his withdrawal would only add credence to the idea that some Democrats had, in effect, conspired to conceal a disqualifying impairment and only changed course when forced. The taint of this would linger over the party and any replacement candidate.

I agree it will linger over the party and his administration, but I see no reason why it would linger over the next candidate. Harris, maybe, but I think she and her team could figure out some statement about the importance of loyalty and also plausible deniability "I'm not a doctor," etc.
posted by coffeecat at 7:41 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Anyway, CNN is reporting "One senior Democratic lawmaker tells me dozens of colleagues agree Biden should step aside. The member said Tuesday will be the most consequential day for the president this week, and that the "dam will break" after a planned caucus meeting with ranking member Hakeem Jeffries."
posted by coffeecat at 7:49 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


Whether or not it lingers over the next candidate, it is lingering over Biden and his administration. Continuing to try to pretend nothing is wrong at this point is not going to make them look any better.

Also, it is getting very old to be told not to mention problems with Democrats, as if it is random people on the internet talking about Biden's decline, or talking about his refusal to stop backing Netanyahu's genocide that are the problem, and not that the candidate himself is a massive liability and refuses to do anything to mitigate that.

The people who could have prevented any of these things from being a liability for Biden are Biden and his administration.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:52 PM on July 7 [10 favorites]


...liberals risk further wounding their standard-bearer and increasing the probability of the thing they most desperately seek to avoid...

This was always going to be the narrative if Biden loses: Democrats that lost faith caused it! If they had shut up and pretended everything was OK after the debate, then he would have won! If Biden is replaced and the replacement loses, then the same crowd would say how stupid it was to change horses mid-race, especially to that choice, and that Biden would have easily won, so the doubters handed the election to Trump.

For the people that want a change, Biden losing in November would be the final proof of how arrogant and out-of-touch the Biden team was for making sure there was no real primary while hiding his true incompetence away. The same crowd would blame a replacement's loss on how Biden's team shut down the primary so no strong candidate could develop and then they poisoned the well against the new candidate as revenge.

If a Democrat wins, then knives will stay in their sheaves, but the two sides will glare at each other. If they lose, knives are out forever.

My prediction is that Biden stays in no matter what, and he loses because he's losing by a lot right now. So we get to live in a second Trump distopia with a new set of things nobody can reasonably discuss.
posted by netowl at 8:01 PM on July 7 [6 favorites]


Also, it is getting very old to be told not to mention problems with Democrats, as if it is random people on the internet talking about Biden's decline, or talking about his refusal to stop backing Netanyahu's genocide that are the problem, and not that the candidate himself is a massive liability and refuses to do anything to mitigate that.

The people who could have prevented any of these things from being a liability for Biden are Biden and his administration.


Preach it, The Manwich Horror

The future after Biden as the nominee is dark, which is, on the whole, the best thing, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf.

We must be prepared to go into the unknown to face what we already understand now.
posted by glaucon at 8:02 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


I'm not at all enthused about Biden, although the Stephanopoulos interview, stage-managed as it was, did honestly put my mind somewhat at ease relative to Biden's miserable debate performance. But I have to say that I'm way less enthused by Harris. Partly this is for personal reasons, because she used to shut down parties that friends of mine were throwing in San Francisco's SOMA district by sending a dude over to pointedly say that District Attorney Harris would like some rest tonight, but she's also a prosecutor through and through, and I've always had the strong sense that she's just out to climb the ladder, and now here she is on the second rung.

I mean, of course I'll vote for her if she's the nominee, I'm not a sociopath and have voted for far worse candidates in the unending string of lesser-of-two-evils scenarios that constitute American political life, but frankly the idea that the party which talks a big game about small-d democracy and a million small donors would put up a candidate that literally nobody in America has actually cast a vote for since she defeated a Blue Dog Democrat to win the California Senate race in 2016 kind of sticks in my craw. Do we not expect or need Democratic nominees to go through the primary process any more? I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't think it's great process, but at least the actual Democratic electorate is allowed to vote.
posted by whir at 8:52 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I've always had the strong sense that she's just out to climb the ladder, and now here she is on the second rung.

I've got some bad news for you about the current occupant of the top rung and his motivations for his entire political career.
posted by Gadarene at 9:08 PM on July 7 [15 favorites]


I've yet to see anyone – including Charles Blow – provide a positive argument for why Biden is the Democrat's best shot right now to defeat Trump.

FWIW, Bernie Sanders seems on board the Biden train…

Via dKos:
In an interview with Robert Costa of CBS’ Face the Nation today, Costa asked Senator Sanders about the movements orchestrated in the Senate by conservative Democrat Senator Mark Warner to push POTUS aside in the wake of the debate performance brouhaha and whether he would participate. Senator Sanders replied:

“No. Look, Mark is a friend of mine, I like Mark, is one of the more conservative members of the Democratic Caucus. No, I have not been invited. No, I will not attend...Biden had a terrible debate performance. I think he's done better since..But I think most importantly, now, this is not a beauty contest, it's not a Grammy Award contest. It is a contest of who stands with the vast majority of the people in this country, the elderly, the children, working class, the poor. And that candidate is obviously Joe Biden.”


Earlier in the interview, Sanders also stated that Biden’s record with respect to being the “first president in American history to walk a picket line; to put more money into fighting climate change than any time in the history of this country and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure makes him the clear choice for President.” He did however, advise POTUS to spell out in detail his agenda for the next term which will uplift the working class in his interactions with the public. He believes that if POTUS provides such a plan, he will not only win, but “win big.”

posted by darkstar at 9:21 PM on July 7 [8 favorites]


I've got some bad news for you about the current occupant of the top rung and his motivations for his entire political career.

I mean, I get that, and it's not like I'm expecting Jimmy Stewart to emerge from the shadows and start filibustering or something to provide an alternative candidate. And having voted against him when he was running for mayor, it doesn't please me in the least to consider Gavin Newsom to be the best hope for the medium-term future of democracy in the USA either. But at least Biden won the primary in 2020, anemic as it was.
posted by whir at 9:24 PM on July 7


(Er, if that was unclear about why I brought up Newsom, I meant to say that I've made my peace with voting grade-A narcissists into office, and plan to do so again in the future, but also that I still cling to a little naive shred of hope that small-d democratic institutions such as the primaries provide at least a fig leaf of defense against their worst excesses, and I'd like it if every nominee I vote for in a general election needed to at least make the appearance of conforming to those norms.)
posted by whir at 9:33 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out of the race? [The Guardian | Opinion]. Yes, Biden had a bad debate - but so did Trump. The media is once again repeating the mistakes of 2016
[The pundants] have become a stampeding herd producing an avalanche of stories suggesting Biden is unfit, will lose and should go away, at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic. They do this while ignoring something every scholar and critic of journalism knows well and every journalist should. As Nikole Hannah-Jones put it: “As media we consistently proclaim that we are just reporting the news when in fact we are driving it. What we cover, how we cover it, determines often what Americans think is important and how they perceive these issues yet we keep pretending it’s not so.” They are not reporting that he is a loser; they are making him one.

The main argument against Biden is not that he can’t govern – that would be hard to make given that he seems to have done so for the past years – but that he can’t win the election. But candidates do not win elections by themselves. Elections are won, to state the obvious, by how the electorate turns out and votes. The electorate votes based on how they understand the situation and evaluate the candidates. That is, of course, in large part shaped by the media, as Hannah-Jones points out, and the media is right now campaigning hard for a Democratic party loss. The other term for that is a Republican victory. Few things have terrified and horrified me the way this does.
posted by mazola at 11:04 PM on July 7 [16 favorites]


I think that Snyder piece comes from a good place. It serves to establish some useful heuristics to identify good faith debates about who should be the Democratic nominee. It also seems to provide a chilling explanation of how/why the media is failing us, at least partly. I found it useful, for what it's worth.

One thing that's always on my mind is, how many of the people wanting Biden to step aside also voted for Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary? I didn't, but I'm still not sure the withdrawal of his candidacy would be the best move.

And if that has to happen, I'm not sure whether an open convention or a presidential endorsement or something else would be the best move. The media coverage of an event like an open convention would take the focus away from Trump, but I'm not sure if less scrutiny on the Republican side would be a good thing. I do think Biden's replacement would most likely have to be Harris, though I'm also not sure who would/should take the VP spot on the ticket.

So the arguments for keeping Biden on the ticket seem to boil down to at least a couple of points:

1. Biden-Harris is a ticket that earned a winning coalition before. Changing the ticket now risks changing the size, composition, and distribution of that coalition to something that would lose in November.

2. Any new candidate for president will bring with them an unknown number of new vectors for attack that will surface though opposition research, and those attack vectors will be, by definition, more effective than anything already known about Biden because they would be new information. Therefore, these could have a much greater chilling effect on turnout than anything we've seen thus far.

On the first point, I think selecting Harris would have a smaller effect on the coalition because she's already on the ticket. However, it also seems to me that any gains in support would be primarily seen in safer Democratic-leaning states and districts (I think she could make some gains with youth, minority and women support to some degree, but the working class white vote that feels represented/seen by Biden may be chilled). It would be important to see who the VP candidate would be and where their presence on the ticket would have the greatest effect. (I've heard Josh Shapiro could be good because of PA, but on this, like everything else, I don't know.)

On the second point, I'm sure the Republicans have already amassed a decently-sized file full of ready-to-go attacks on Harris. We've seen some of the lowest-hanging fruit already in the 2020 primaries, but the voters who would swing the election probably haven't even seen those. I think I'd be more worried at attacks on Doug Emhoff because I'm almost certain we haven't seen much on the second gentleman, and I feel those kinds of attacks might be surprisingly effective on eroding her support for obvious reasons (misogyny, for one).

In any case, I found this discussion with Robert Reich (about where things stand after the Stephanopoulos interview) earnest, honest, and refreshing. But he's not a politician, so it would be good to take his views in that context.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 11:32 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic

Once again, assumes facts not in evidence.

If it turns out that replacing Biden would actually increase the Democrats' chances of retaining the presidency in November, then the entire thesis of that article falls apart.
posted by Gadarene at 11:34 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


On the second point, I'm sure the Republicans have already amassed a decently-sized file full of ready-to-go attacks on Harris.

It is very telling, I think, that not a single Republican is leading the charge for Biden to drop out or invoking the 25th Amendment, including Trump himself. If Biden was viewed as stronger than his potential replacement -- and especially if he was leading in battleground states, rather than trailing -- I promise you that the cacophony from the right would be loud as hell for him to step aside. Yet we haven't seen that at all. Curious.
posted by Gadarene at 11:37 PM on July 7 [13 favorites]


...not a single Republican is leading the charge for Biden to drop out or invoking the 25th Amendment, including Trump himself.

I think that's not the case, as even Forbes seems to be reporting that Republicans have been taking about how the 25th amendment should be invoked on Biden since right after the debate. I also seem to recall Trump saying the same in some rally or somewhere.

But I think the gist of what you're saying is probably right. I think the Republicans probably view Biden as a gravely wounded and easy opponent at this moment, especially given the media environment.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 11:46 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]


The main argument against Biden is not that he can’t govern – that would be hard to make given that he seems to have done so for the past years  

What a crock of shit. I can't believe I have to say this: Biden's ability to perform in 2021 doesn't mean he can in 2026. That's how getting old works!

And doubting his ability to govern is in fact my main argument. I have serious doubts that he can do the job now and certainly over the next term. I didn't have these concerns in 2020 because at that time he demonstrated he was up to the task. I have concerns now because of the clear and serious decline which seems to have accelerated circa 2023.

Biden's team has been doing good work on domestic policy despite (or because of?) his decreased involvement. That approach doesn't work when it comes to diplomacy and foreign policy. And what if we get hit with another sudden crisis like 9/11, Covid-19, the 2008 crash? I doubt he'd be able to make critical decisions or lead the country. There are plenty of things where having a good team doesn't cut it. Moreover, not knowing who is really making the decisions is fundamentally not okay. Matt Bruenig makes a point about that part:
Lots of reporting out showing that the Biden campaign was aware of his cognitive problems but opted not to reveal those problems to primary voters. I know politics these days is driven mostly by linguistic triggering, but conspire is the actual word for that!
It makes me feel gross being asked to support the man when all these signs say he is no longer qualified and they've been trying to hide that fact.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:55 PM on July 7 [11 favorites]


So yeah, things are very stressful and uncertain right now and the anxiety is bordering on the overwhelming.

I choose to look for a silver lining. Surely we all have to admit that it's a bit whimsical to be relitigating the LACK of primaries this time..
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:18 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


"If we're only going to count style over substance, I'll take hoarse and halting over hate-filled and unhinged every day of the week."

Mary Trump
posted by y2karl at 6:55 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Joe Biden has written a letter to Democrats stating that he plans to stay in the race, and laying out why he's the best person to beat Trump.

Here's an ABC news story, and Biden also posted the full text of the letter on Xitter.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 7:02 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


So the arguments for keeping Biden on the ticket seem to boil down to at least a couple of points:

1. Biden-Harris is a ticket that earned a winning coalition before.


Yes, but it's good to remember how fragile that coalition was - Bernie won voters under 40 across all racial/ethnic demographics. Biden won overall, it's true, but we all saw how weak he was when there were a number of different candidates - most voters in 2020 wanted someone else. And again, while his electoral votes suggest a decisive win, his margins in several states were razor thin - had turnout been different, he could have lost. It was a far closer election than the polls predicted.

So a question to ask is, where is that coalition today? Some leftists and Arab-Americans feel unable to vote for Biden given what's happened and is happening in Gaza (for those not keeping up, the Lancet now estimates roughly 8% of the population annihilated). We also see an increasing shift of men, of all racial/ethnic demographics, towards the right. Regardless whether it's fair a lot, a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet and blame Biden. And then a certain low-information voter sees yet another rematch of these two men and thinks "Ugh, I'm done" and won't bother to vote. This doesn't even take into account his debate performance - these factors explain why he was losing before the debate.

Biden (including in his recent letter to Congress) and his supporters keep mentioning the 2024 primary as though this proves anything. According to his letter, he got 14 million votes - that's about as many registered Democrats in Florida. It wasn't a real primary, and people who come out for non-competitive primaries are not representative of the electorate.

This twitter thread did a run down of recent post-debate polling about whether Biden should drop out:

NYT poll: 47% of black voters say there should be a different nominee
WSJ poll: Two-thirds of Democrats would replace Biden on the ballot with another nominee
NYT poll: 73% of those age 18-29 say there should be a different nominee
CBS poll: 68% of those age 18-29 say Biden should not be running for president
Edit: Also this more recent CNN poll has 75% of Democratic voters saying he should be replaced. (Source- Twitter link)

So what's that Biden says about respecting the will of the voters?

2. Any new candidate for president will bring with them an unknown number of new vectors for attack that will surface though opposition research, and those attack vectors will be, by definition, more effective than anything already known about Biden because they would be new information. Therefore, these could have a much greater chilling effect on turnout than anything we've seen thus far.

There is obviously some truth to this point - if they go with anyone but Harris, there will need to be a mini-primary, with debates, CNN town halls, etc. to see how they all fare under scrutiny. The DNC will also need to do serious behind-the-scenes digging into these people's pasts.

I don't quite get the logic that new information is automatically more damning than old info, and therefore we need to go with Biden. I mean, to daveliepmann's point above, there has been recent reporting about how it is not clear that Biden is currently even making a lot of his own decisions. The issue isn't just whether Biden can win, it's whether he can actual govern.

And given that cognitive decline is more likely to decline rather than improve, there is no reason to believe that there won't be future serious stumbles like the debate. Plus, the GOP in Congress might demand Biden's doctor testify and take questions on the record (as they are currently threatening).
posted by coffeecat at 7:12 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


wow. that does not read like a letter meant to reassure the public, it reads like a piece of bargaining and pleading with his own party.
posted by sagc at 7:12 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


That letter is a dud, much like Biden himself. He starts out by proclaiming himself the voters' choice, when -- as usual for an incumbent -- he ran for the nomination virtually unopposed. Then he tries trumpeting his achievements, which to be honest are a little underwhelming, if not invisible -- he lowered housing costs? Who the fuck for, exactly?

I really hope someone can convince him what a disaster this is. I keep hearing in my mind Stephanopoulos saying "36%" to him the way a kind-hearted doctor would tell someone, "Bro, you have a week," and Biden just not grasping what was being said.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:15 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


There are plenty of things where having a good team doesn't cut it. Moreover, not knowing who is really making the decisions is fundamentally not okay.

Tommy "What if Louie Gohmert was a Senator" Tuberville argues something similar, but with his own mental handicap added on:

Tommy Tuberville on Fox News: "We've all known Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Obama's been running the country ... they've had total control. Not the president."

So... it doesn't matter who's sitting in the symbolic POTUS chair, and Dems should simply vote Dem and let the Dem team that's been doing a pretty good job continue? I agree, Tommy. Thank you for your input.
posted by delfin at 7:20 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Also, the letter still barely lays out his agenda for the future - there is mention about "a plan to build 2 million new housing units" and "we will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again" and "We are the ones who will bring real Supreme Court reform" (But what reform?) and "We are finally going to make the rich and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes in this country" (Cool, how are you planning on doing that?)

If he wants to take the conversation away from his cognitive abilities, he should get his admin to release policy press releases and he should do press conferences about each one.
posted by coffeecat at 7:32 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]


His call-in on MSNBC feels particularly grim. He again dodges the question of whether he has had a neurological exam--a tactic I felt made a kind of sense during the ABC interview, but everyone who is interested in the race has seen that by now. Like, if only one person is asking, then the tactic of being offended by the mere suggestion has some heft to it, and viewers could be sympathetic to that. But to call in to an interview, to rattle papers and lose your train of thought (even though, like, clearly the rattling papers are where you're supposed to have written your answers so you won't lose your train of thought), and to continue to take offense at the suggestion, loses some of its power. Just take the test. Or lie about it. Or something that makes it clear you understand that the media is not going to stop hammering at this weak point.
posted by mittens at 7:42 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Am I living in an alternate world where everyone didn't make fun of Trump for proclaiming he passed his neurological exam with flying colors? The best anyone has ever done? Why would Biden step on that rock? WTF do you all think that is going to accomplish? You have to be impaired to not pass that test. 'I don't need it' is the proper answer.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:58 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


For those who can never read anything on the website formerly known as twitter and would like to read the Biden letter without editorial comment and selective quotation from a news site: you can see the original here
posted by dis_integration at 8:01 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I missed the edit window on my last comment: I'm not sure if it's been posted yet, but here was Biden's health assessment from February. At that time, "An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or ascending lateral sclerosis (...)."
posted by mittens at 8:03 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


What an utter nightmare this is. The best case scenario is that somehow everyone fears Trump and Project 2025 enough for Biden to scrape out a victory and then we limp along for four years that will be years of decline, because you don't get stronger and sharper when you're going from 81 to 85, even if you're healthy. And these will be years of decline during the moment when we most need a skilled, principled and physically resilient leader to try to turn us back from the brink of fascism. Instead we'll just kick the can down the road for four years and hope that old age takes more of the opposition.
posted by Frowner at 8:12 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Biden's health assessment from February. At that time, "An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's

Questionable given a Parkinson's expert from Walter Reed visiting the White House on multiple occasions within the past year, and several experts who saw the debate and observed Biden's symptoms saying they would have him tested for Parkinson's, specifically. An independent medical exam with public results from a physician who isn't subject to the military chain of command is the only thing that would settle any questions (FDR's physician gave him a clean bill of health in 1944, too, when he was basically on death's door).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 8:24 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


As a practical choice, a Joe in decline beats fasc in ascent.

Joe's biggest practical duties are: 1) win the election; and 2) seat an administration that can take on the challenges of the future. That's it. 1) becomes a lot easier when we accept 2) is all we need. That's really a 4-6 month timetable.
posted by mazola at 8:24 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


And if MAGA was easily duped into thinking a Biden win was "impossible" in 2020 because he was "campaigning from his basement," I can only imagine how easily they'll dip into conspiracy if he does manage to win again.

Thanks for that link to O'Connor's last summary, mittens. It all does seem a bit confusing - like Pseudonymous Cognomen writes, it does seem odd that the Parkinson's expert from Walter Reed has been to the White House eight times over the last 11 months (link to The Guardian). If all is fine, why almost monthly visits? And also from the same Guardian article, why did a "White House aide [say] that O’Connor, who has been Biden’s doctor since 2009, has never recommended that Biden take a cognitive test" if he did indeed test him in Feb? Something isn't quite adding up.
posted by coffeecat at 8:31 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I feel like "lower your expectations" is a chancey PR strategy. Maybe "Joe-er Your Expectations" would look good on a baseball hat, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:31 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


As a practical choice, a Joe in decline beats fasc in ascent.

I think anyone and everyone should vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. That should be an obvious choice. But it isn't. We know it is possible for a candidate to lose to Donald Trump. We need someone who can campaign at a high level for months, without projecting. weakness. That shouldn:t be required. It should be possible for anyone, Biden, Harris, Clinton, or a dack of potatoes to beat Trump
But that isn't reality.

I don't think Boden is up to it. I wouldn't be either. Neurological decline sucks, but sometimes you have to bow ro reality.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:36 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


if repeating "the democrats are the non-evil party" again and again worked, Trump wouldn't have been elected, would he?

Like, all the people saying "Biden did good things once! He's not Trump! Biden in a coma is better than live Trump!"... what has that ever had to do with winning elections? Do you think people are arguing that Biden shouldn't win the election, rather than that he won't win the election?

Like, is "continue the exact same strategy that had us down several points before the debate" the only thing on offer?
posted by sagc at 8:47 AM on July 8 [13 favorites]


it does seem odd that the Parkinson's expert from Walter Reed has been to the White House eight times over the last 11 months

That's definitely one way to look at it, but--and I can't believe I'm defending Biden here--that Guardian piece is just rephrasing an NY Post piece, and the Post is not exactly unbiased journalism. Dr. Cannard specializes in movement disorders, which, yes, includes Parkinson's, but whose expertise may also be relevant in a patient with spine-related gait problems and peripheral neuropathy, who is on anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation (which can cause clots and stroke). We really don't want Biden suffering a hemorrhage or other sequelae from a bad fall!

I do absolutely agree there's no real way out of this for Biden--agree to a test, don't agree to a test, the narrative is now firmly in place, and in politics, you live and die by the story other people tell about you.
posted by mittens at 8:51 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Harry Enten:"Biden's in his worst poll position ever against Trump. He's the 1st Democrat to trail in national July polls since 2000."

Since 2000!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:00 AM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Ah, that's interesting - if indeed he's just been visiting him more because of his difficulty walking, they really should get him to make a public statement. Otherwise rumors will keep spreading.
posted by coffeecat at 9:04 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Whelp, I guess that answers the question of whether Biden will bow out gracefully. He won't and his decline is going to get worse and worse. Fantastic for Biden and his handlers to come out strongly against (checks notes) other democrats..... that's just good politics.

Even if he performs above expectations from here to Nov, just the tiniest slip will motivate the political media jackals to make the election about Biden's feebleness, his continuing decline, and how his administration hid all that (not sure if that is possible, but never doubt the NYTs ability to launder reactionary talking points). Feeble old Joe versus good lookin rebel bad boy Donny Trump, that is the exclusive framing now. Biden doing the McConnell freeze in debate 2 seems an inevitability.

Trump2 is going to happen because of Biden's delusional narcissism and egomania which borders on Trumpian. E.g., sure Muslim Americans in Michigan will come out in droves to support the Netanyahu supporter, that's just a lock.

I guess that it's possible that the Dems pull a miracle on the Senate side with the Dem Senate candidates all polling 10% better than Biden. Looking forward to Schumer and Durbin's record setting 4000th sternly worded email when the Show Trials start.

Maybe they take back the house (no thanks to the NY Dem party who mirror the Biden team in incompetence).

None of that really matters though with the Supremes' decision that Trump can be a dictator.

FYI - I supported Biden strongly through the first 3 years of his Administration (but assumed he was a one-term guy). Found his support and advocacy of the Netanyahu IDF genocide repulsive while recognizing the extremely difficult context (that doesn't excuse the horribleness of the Admin's support there).

But this decision is just insane. I'll vote for the old piece of shit (cause what else can I do) but wow do I despise him.
posted by WatTylerJr at 9:04 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]


> I do absolutely agree there's no real way out of this for Biden

i can think of a way out that he could take.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:09 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


> it does seem odd that the Parkinson's expert from Walter Reed has been to the White House eight times over the last 11 months (link to The Guardian)

They *really* need to explain this. If Biden has Parkinsons he should resign today. If a member of the cabinet has Parkinsons, they should also resign? Basically the only case where this isn't a problem is if Jill Biden has parksinsons.
posted by dis_integration at 9:09 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I am obviously furious with Biden over what he has done to the people of Palestine.

But I think I find this intransigence especially galling because I understand it. I think most of us do. Life is in many ways a constant paring away. A loss of relationships, ambitions, capacities. We have to learn to accept a degree of circumscription. To accept that life can take without giving and that, for the good of others and our own sanity, we have to accept beung lessened. But Biden has power, and seems to have never learned that at a certain point, persistence becomes cruelty and pathology.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:10 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


i can think of a way out that he could take.

Mint the trillion-dollar coin and escape with it to Mexico?
posted by mittens at 9:10 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


No one's paying attention right now, but Trump is trying to pretend like he's never heard of Project 2025 (a surprise to Stephen Miller, I'm sure, who wrote it), and today he's trying to tone down the GOP position on abortion. I am astonished beyond belief, but it seems he's self-aware enough to try and shift to a center right position for campaign purposes. This is extremely bad news, because while it obviously won't prompt any democratic voters to switch their vote, it could move the needle enough to get never-Trump voters to become *sigh*-fine-Trump voters.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:13 AM on July 8 [19 favorites]


Over the course of the last few days, I have moved from "it's a terrible idea for Biden to drop out" to "OMFG HE MUST DROP OUT IMMEDIATELY." I don't see the press letting up on this, PLUS we have multiple Democrats calling for him to step down, and I honestly don't know how Biden can come back from this. (For the record, I think Biden has done a lot of good, but I am FURIOUS at him about the genocide in Palestine, and there is no goddamn way he can make it through a campaign, much less four more years of governance.) I don't see how he can win at this point, which is obviously crucial if we want to avoid, y'know, the end of democracy as we know it. It's hard for me to respect the Democratic party these days, but if they swiftly got Biden to step down and rallied around the new candidate, and showed some real energy and purpose around doing everything it takes to defeat Trump, that would be a good start.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 9:20 AM on July 8 [15 favorites]


kittens: NYT July 15th 2024, " Trump takes a moderating approach to a contentious issue, will sensible moderate democrats take him up on his offer to compromise or will they continue to be strident"

NYT January 22, 2025, "President Donald Trump signs the 'Protect Women and Babies Act', outlawing abortion nationwide. Republicans very pleased that they delivered on this long awaited promise to the nation, some democratic partisans concerned about the absence of a 'life of the mother' exception and retroactive prison sentences for abortion providers. Next up on Speaker Johnson's agenda, outlawing IVF and gender transitioning."
posted by WatTylerJr at 9:21 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]


Oh, ha ha, please understand, no one knows better than I do that Donald Trump is chock full of bullshit. What I'm saying is that what he's saying is what a lot of moderate Republicans who might not bother to vote this November want to hear.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:26 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


It makes me super uneasy that the [only?] thing that could actually force Biden to step aside is if enough deep-pocket donors pledge to donate only if he steps aside.

It makes me uneasy because I deeply distrust extremely rich people, and I get skeeved out every time I'm made aware of just how much power they have. I don't think extremely rich people should exist, at all.

Finding myself rooting for the extremely rich people to jump in and save us is depressing.
posted by gurple at 9:27 AM on July 8 [10 favorites]


As someone who has a family member with Parkinson’s, I find some of the comments a bit ableist above saying he should resign the Presidency immediately.

Parkinson’s would not necessarily prevent him from executing the duties of the office of the President. It can have many different effects, so assuming he cannot be President is a leap without more information. It isn’t impossible, but we just don’t know.

However, it definitely does *not* change the conversation around his capacity to manage his responsibilities as the Democratic nominee and be able to make the case to the American people that he can perform for another four years. Appearing with weakness or falling during a key meeting or summit would lose even more support with independents who don’t understand.
posted by glaucon at 10:06 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


God, that letter is such a load of bullshit. Please, we only have 42 days to get rid of him before the convention. I wonder what’s next. Will he essentially disappear except for the most stage-managed public appearances?
posted by snofoam at 10:13 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Parkinson's does have a lot of different manifestations, but cognitive effects are very common, and sadly more likely as the disease progresses. I think there is a very good argument someone with the disease should not assume a role that involves years of high level decision making.

That said, I pray it isn't that. I hope neither he nor his wife suffer through it. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. Not even Trump.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:14 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]


If it is Parkinsons, I think Biden stepping down because of it would generate a huge amount sympathy. Its more concrete, and absolutely devastating, then something vaguer than 'cognitive decline'.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:23 AM on July 8 [12 favorites]


OMFG if we go down in flames as a country because of one man's pathological arrogance AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH I am spitting angry.

And another thing that's plucking my last nerve, why did it take so long for media to pick up the Project 2025 story. That's been around for months and months. So many institutions asleep at the damn wheel.
posted by tarantula at 10:27 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


To be fair, the New Yorker, NYTimes, and NPR have reported on Project 2025 much earlier. Presumably other outlets too. It's not like it's been a secret - but I agree, it should have gotten more coverage, especially on cable news (which reaches more people anyway)
posted by coffeecat at 10:36 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Also, if it is Parkinsons, its going to be REALLY apparent in, say, 12 months. So what? he steps down in a year even if he wins the election and announces he knew about this for a while?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:41 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


To those who see doom for Democrats in this election if Biden steps aside: I propose that you're discounting the power of the process that can come when he does.

Biden claimed in his letter this morning that the voters chose him for this election: we all know that's nonsense. Party machinery, tradition, etc. made him inevitable. Last election he was voted in, but this time he was anointed.

Apparent inevitability - the idea that if we question the leader we lose - this is Trump's power, it is fascist power. Biden has repeatedly invoked that kind of thinking in his "here's why I'm staying in" discussions over these past few days, and I am frankly horrified by it. That approach to power will not draw Democrat voters, and it will certainly not feed the democracy that Biden claims he is defending in this very election.

If Biden steps out (or is forced out - will it come to that?) and there's an actual process at the convention - one that people get to see take place, put our imaginations into, write our representatives about - that very process is going to be extraordinarily galvanizing for many voters. And I can tell you that both my Gen X lefty feminist self and my father, a conservative-leaning septuagenarian swing voter - both of us are excited by the prospect of it.

If someone gets anointed in Biden's place, well, that will definitely not do the same thing.

But if there's a process of selection at the convention? Democracy will be in motion, folks - the very thing we want dearly to save from the clutches of Trump will be taking place, and the nation will be watching. Yes it will be disastrously messy, yes it is risky, no there are no perfect outcomes, but how could we want anything else?
posted by marlys at 10:42 AM on July 8 [14 favorites]


One add to that: witness the surprise rise of the left in France's snap election.
Messy, uncertain moments are scary, but they make new things possible like nothing else.
posted by marlys at 10:51 AM on July 8 [12 favorites]


The last line in the letter is an especially blatant in its lie.

We have not, in fact, gone over this for the past week. We've seen Biden hide from everyone following the debate, flub a softball interview horribly, get caught demanding a "journalist" stick to a tiny number of prepared questions, and on a voice only call with MSNBC completely lose his train of thought even though he could have had an actual teleprompter to help him.

What we've been doing this last week is watch Biden hide and strenuously avoid any and all unscripted contact with the press. That's not a week of deciding what to do and getting more info that's a week of Biden confirming our worst fears.

If he was mentally sound he could prove it trivially and end all the rumors overnight. All it would take is a single town hall type meeting with real members of the public where we can see him being mentally together. They must know this. HE must know this. Instead they hid him and wrote a belligerent letter.
posted by sotonohito at 10:54 AM on July 8 [18 favorites]


I was just about to say that people can rally round at the last minute to ward off the fascists if there's some political/emotional glue holding them together, as with France.

Even the UK finally gave the Tories the boot, and all the coverage in the popular news seems to be "looks like everything is a crumbling disaster" instead of "oh it's fine and inevitable that the water supply is failing and shareholders are looting the privatized companies that run it". It is so heartening, deeply flawed as the current labor party is, to hear politicians just freaking out and being like "OMG we have to fix our infrastructure, this is unacceptable" rather than just passively making money off the rot like the Tories did.
posted by Frowner at 10:54 AM on July 8 [11 favorites]


>if we go down in flames as a country because of one man's pathological arrogance

If Electoral College selects Trump, that's how it goes. The choice between Biden and Trump is pretty clear to me.

I have zero idea how the next 4 months are going to go regardless of what Biden does or does not do, and I don't think anybody else has any clearer view of the picture.

But if they do and they are in a position to affect the choices We the People have in November, I hope they step up.
posted by torokunai at 11:20 AM on July 8


Actually, now that I think about it, the Democrats, and especially Biden's team, have utterly failed on two counts.

First, by doing hte opposite of reassuring us about Biden's mental health. Far from feeling that the rumors of senility are overblown and just media hype his every action post-debate has reinforced the idea that he really is in cognitive decline. And seriously couldn't someone have told him to keep his fucking mouth SHUT when he wasn't talking during the first interview? Staring slack jawed into the middle distance is not a good look Mr. President.

But, more importantly, the Democrats as a whole have failed to reassure us that they are taking the threat of Trump seriously in anything but their fundraising emails.

Assume Biden has a great interview where he looked alert and with it. Assume after that he did several town halls, unscripted press confererences, and thereby completely put to rest the rumor that he was going senile.

That STILL doesn't actually show anyone how he plans on overcoming his -5 to -10 point deficit in the polls. They're acting like this is a normal campaign, like the stakes are just a matter of team colors, and that they can fundamentally do the same today they did in 2020, and 2016.

Let's be honest for a moment here: from the standpoint of a Presidential election most voters simply don't matter. The 2020 election was decided by fewer than 66,000 votes in a handful of states.

A significant number of those votes were from Muslim Americans, and especially Palestinian Americans. And rather than courting those voters, rewarding them for giving him the Presidency, Biden and the Democrats have done nothing but try to drive those voters away and make them regret giving Biden the Presidency.

Sure, you can say rock and hard place, but that's my point.

This. Is. The. Future. Of. America.

They tell us that over and over when they're begging for money. They sneer it at me when telling me that I need to suppress my stupid leftist urge to destroy everything good and just Vote Blue No Matter Who because this election is so important and the situation is so dire.

And yet, no one seems to have been thinking about votes and beating Trump in any of the actions taken by the President and Democrats.

Was Biden pushed in all different directions about Gaza? Sure. Did he and his team look at all that and say "welp, it's going to be bad in a lot of ways but we abslutely cannot lose the Deerborn Muslim vote so we're going to need to shut down arms shipments as a visible sign of opposition to genocide, what else can we do to reassure the Jewish and liberal hawk vote?"

I'm told my morals, my politics, my philosophy, all that doesn't matter. I must sacrifice all that and Vote Blue No Matter Who. And they're right when they say that.

But what are they sacrificing? What concessions they hate but realize they must make to win are they giving? What failed ad and strategy companies their good old boy network is loaded with have they dumped in favor of something different?

None.

And I don't think any of that would change if Biden dropped out today. If any hypothetical Biden replacement is going to keep doing the same old same old is there really any better chance of them winning?

So I'll VBNMW. And the DNC types at their cocktail parties will give up nothing because sacrifice is for the little people and not the rich and powerful.

on Preview: if Biden wins the popular vote but loses the EC then fuck it. We've had two Republicans stealing an eleciton via EC bullshit in the past 24 years. I think a quarter century of letting the ghosts of slave raping scumbags overturn Democracy is more than enough.

It's time to preemptively start planning protests to shut down every highway in America along with the trains and keep the economy shut down until Trump is forced to concede to Biden. It should start on Wednesday Nov 6 and only end after Trump has fled the country.
posted by sotonohito at 11:28 AM on July 8 [13 favorites]


Staring slack jawed into the middle distance is not a good look Mr. President.

Mefites come in many ages (and frankly, many of them old) and ability levels (and this is Disability Pride Month). Some may themselves have Parkinson’s disease or another similar disorder. Some may have Bell’s palsy or something else that affects how their faces look to others. None of those people are likely to take kindly to this kind of insinuation. Please remember that.

I’ve got a lot of conflicting feelings here. But one of them is: everyone is watching us have this fight. Republicans are taking notes. So are older voters in Florida. So are black women. I understand and sympathize with the motives here (truth telling, avoiding a worse outcome) but your friends will remember how you made them feel, and your enemies will remember that, too, and can use it to divide you.
posted by eirias at 11:41 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Mefites come in many ages (and frankly, many of them old) and ability levels (and this is Disability Pride Month). Some may themselves have Parkinson’s disease or another similar disorder. Some may have Bell’s palsy or something else that affects how their faces look to others. None of those people are likely to take kindly to this kind of insinuation. Please remember that.

Speaking as someone who is autistic and has had Bell's palsy (which is generally a self-limiting and not permanent condition, although it may leave behind some residual muscular weakness--when I had it, it resolved within six weeks), I agree that Biden's slackjawed staring off into the middle distance is not a good look and, like it or not, it's going to negatively affect general perceptions of his capacity and ability.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 11:46 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Biden tries to soothe top fundraisers on a private call (NYT gift)
The call, which also included Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland and Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, the president’s campaign chair, began more than 30 minutes late, with irritated donors stewing in front of blank Zoom screens. Mr. Biden’s appearance was announced to his fund-raisers just 24 minutes before the call was set to begin. Opinions of Mr. Biden’s performance were mixed — several participants told The Times that Mr. Biden had some bright, reassuring moments, while others were left unsatisfied and perturbed, especially by the screening of questions.
posted by box at 11:53 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I think a lot would be different if...I mean, I don't like John Fetterman, at all, but look at John Fetterman. He had a stroke. He came right out and said it, and he's still recovering from it, but you can tell he's mentally okay and that he's 100% in reality, just as he was before.

But ask yourself: have we EVER really known that about Joe Biden? We barely saw him when he was VP, we barely saw him during the 2020 campaign, he's given fewer press conferences than any president in living memory. So maybe this is a decline, or maybe this is just him.

Is that a reassuring idea?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:53 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Every time I check in on this thread I am reminded of this scene from Joe vs the Volcano, only with Dan Hedaya's interminable argument reversed.

People seem to keep stressing that he can still do the job. I *know* he can do the job. Or more specifically his team, his administration, which matters as much or more than the guy behind the desk. A second Biden term, with the right people in the right places, would not be a disaster. I'm confident that even a diminished Biden could still manage to get that team in place and if necessary that team would effect a smooth transition if Biden should choose to step down, once the immediate electoral threat has passed. I'm not worried about that. I'm not arguing that with you.

My concern is, can he *get* the job? Because what I'm seeing is absolutely not giving me confidence that he can get the job. He's shedding support by the day and the ways in which he's responding to it are alienating even more support. The coalition is splintering at a time it should be gaining strength and momentum.

Maybe his team have done the math and they're convinced that this is the best option, maybe the only option. Maybe they have good reason to believe that a switch to Harris could not be made to work. I wish I were more confident that they know what they're doing and this isn't all just driven by Joe being stubborn. Because if he can't *get* the job, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether he can still *do* the job.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:55 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]


It's time to preemptively start planning protests to shut down every highway in America along with the trains and keep the economy shut down until Trump is forced to concede to Biden. It should start on Wednesday Nov 6 and only end after Trump has fled the country.

Ignoring the fact that Americans aren't going to protest for a second. If they did, Biden would after 3 days of said protests send in the troops quicker than you can say '1st Amendment'
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 12:18 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Parkinson's is many things. Two things that it's not are Alzheimer's or dementia.

Cognitive decline is part and parcel of Parkinson's. However, it doesn't present to the degree that it does in Alzheimer's and dementia. Many people with Parkinson's, if treated appropriately, perform at a level on par with their non-impaired peers.

Consider Michael J. Fox. If you've seen his documentary, you've witnessed flights of verbal acuity and wit that leave his handlers and friends in stitches. His brain is as sharp as a tack. It's his appearance that deceives.

Yes, Biden should step down. Yes, he should be replaced with a younger and healthier candidate. Immediately.

But yes, we shouldn't fear a Biden presidency. And we should vote for him to safeguard against the alternative.
posted by Gordion Knott at 12:37 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


People seem to keep stressing that he can still do the job. I *know* he can do the job. Or more specifically his team, his administration, which matters as much or more than the guy behind the desk.

...My concern is, can he *get* the job? Because what I'm seeing is absolutely not giving me confidence that he can get the job.


This argument, if it continues to animate one's campaigning against Biden, is ultimately self-defeating, if the goal is to get the Democratic candidate elected in November (which I am assuming in good faith that most of us want).
1. I know Biden can DO the job.

2. I have concerns about him GETTING the job.

3. My concerns are based on whether OTHERS think he can DO the job.

4. Rather than spend my energy convincing others that he can DO the job -- as I believe -- I'm instead going to continue to spend my energy to convince others he can't GET the job.
I appreciate that many do not want Biden to be the Dem candidate. And I appreciate that they are taking every opportunity that may be available to try to leverage him out of the nomination. But I think we have passed the point at which this is a useful investment of time and energy, and it now seriously undermines our efforts to advance our political objectives.

If you think Biden can DO the job, then it would be useful for us to pivot clearly now to use our energy to share that view with others enthusiastically. Because the more people who believe Biden can do the job translates to more people voting for him so that he can get the job.

Now that we've had two weeks of post-debate fretting and argument and invective, and Biden has emphatically said, multiple ways and in multiple venues, "I'm still in the race", it's time to start moving on to "Okay, then, what can I do to help him win"?

The alternative is for Left-leaning folks to spend the next 40+ days continuing to tear Biden apart, which seems to me to be really self-defeating.

Again, it's well and truly time to move on. We're not going to crack open the Primary process for a re-do, and introduce the chaos that would entail. There is no compelling evidence that suggests any other Democratic candidate would perform any better than Biden, or not have their own oppo research ready to roll against them. And dumping him -- or even TRYING to dump him -- would almost certainly enrage a percentage of voters who actually LIKE Biden.

My personal goal is to make sure the Democratic candidate gets elected. I am now confident that Biden's not going anywhere -- he's our candidate. So I think it's time --acknowledging that some folks may not be enthused about the conductor -- to get on board the Biden Train, rather than continuing to try derail it.

GO BIDEN! 4 MORE YEARS!!!
posted by darkstar at 12:48 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I don't fear a Biden Presidency because I reject the Roberts notion of President as king and imagine that there must be some single individual super being who is keeping us safe and making the right call. Biden has clearly been doing nothing these past four years while his cabinet does the actual work, I'm 100% in favor of another four years with king log than giving Trump another chance to establish himself as a dictator.

What I fear is the selfish hubris of one senile old man, enabled by the entire fucking Democratic Party establishment, is going to condemn us to Trump rather than admit that Biden isn't capable of winning the election.

eirias There's a very simple solution then: he can fucking be honest and tell us what's going on.We shouldn't even be having this conversation becuse in a world where Biden and the Democrats aren't so arrogant, hubristic, and incredibly stupid they'd just tell us what was going on.

In the absence of any confirmed and admitted diagnosis of any condition like that from the White House we must assume he's healthy and therefore conclude that he's just so mentally degraded at this point he can't even rememeber to look at people or close his mouth when he's not talking.

You're also, sadly, incorrect. All the real conversations, not just randos like me arguing on the internet, have taken place in total secrecy and us commoners are not permitted to know shit about fuck.

It is a total lack of transparency that is one of the core problems here. It is Biden hiding from America for the past 4 years that is the problem here. It is the refusal of our betters to tell the peons the truth that is the problem here.

The world is indeed watching. And they're learning that the Democrats are a bunch of filthy fucking liars who can be relied on to never, under any circumstances, tell us what's actually going on.

When this is over it's time to tear the Democratic Party to pieces and rebuild something better from what bits of wreckage aren't totally contaminated by the taint of hubris and aristocracy.

922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a So you're saying that no peaceful method of preventing the naked theft of the Presidency exists? I believe Nelson Mandela taught us what to do in that circumstance.
posted by sotonohito at 12:48 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


I think Biden has been a remarkably uninspiring figure whose main selling point is that he isn't actively trying to overthrow our country's government and way of life. I'm sorry, but we can do better than that.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:54 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


see you in 2028 then
posted by torokunai at 12:56 PM on July 8


My personal goal is to make sure the Democratic candidate gets elected. I am now confident that Biden's not going anywhere -- he's our candidate. So I think it's time --acknowledging that some folks may not be enthused about the conductor -- to get on board the Biden Train, rather than continuing to try derail it.

Precisely. Like it or not, he is the dead horse we rode in on. I would like to see him put out to pasture, but he needs to win his last race before that can happen.
posted by delfin at 12:56 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Ignoring the fact that Americans aren't going to protest for a second. If they did, Biden would after 3 days of said protests send in the troops quicker than you can say '1st Amendment'

Some people will be. And some of them are even preparing for the response.

My personal goal is to make sure the Democratic candidate gets elected. I am now confident that Biden's not going anywhere -- he's our candidate. So I think it's time --acknowledging that some folks may not be enthused about the conductor -- to get on board the Biden Train, rather than continuing to try derail it.

My goal is to see Trump defeated. Biden can't do that. My enthusiasm or lack there of isn't going to change that reality. Neither will my desire for Biden to leave. It isn't appealing to think about, but we are now basically powerless. Joe Biden is right about being the only one who can save the country. He just won't do it.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 1:02 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


darkstar If clapping harder worked Hillary would have won.

I'd be a lot more willing to listen to you, and the Democratic leadership, if they showd us they had any new ideas at all instead of just rehasing the same tired bullshit that's going to lose this election.

If your strategy worked we wouldn't be worrying about Trump because this would be the end of Hillary's second term and we'd be watching the Republicans panic as her sucessor is poised to effortlessly sail into office.

But we live in the real world, not the DNC fantasy land where clapping harder and scolding leftists wins every election.

Now is not the time to fall back onto the failed approaches of the past regardless of how comforting you find them.
posted by sotonohito at 1:09 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


As a meta-level commentary -- and perhaps this should be a MeTa, but I think it's useful to note here in this thread -- I have been reflecting on the way MeFi handles its polticalfilter threads. I started lurking here in 2001, and formally joined in 2004. So for nearly a quarter century, I've seen MeFi go through some significant growing pains and realignment.

For many folks who weren't here in the "oughts", it might surprise you to know that we used to have several very outspoken (and often infuriating) right wingers on this site that would engage in full-throated fashion in these types of conversations. I can remember many very frustrating threads from those days. (Paris Paramus, wherever you are, you know what you did.)

Over the years, the Overton Window has shifted dramatically. I see this shift as a positive thing, overall, since participants in political discussion seem to be more "woke" in the positive sense, and less fascist-leaning.

A consequence of this, though is that our political discussions now aren't so much between Liberals and Conservatives, but more likely between Center-Left Liberals and Far Left Progressives. Which means, if you're a Democrat, that highly charged invective is very likely to occur between members of your own political party. And the adversaries that are cultivated in these threads can lead to a fracturing of the very delicate coalition that allows Center-Left Liberals and Far Left Progressives to find common cause in electing a single candidate for President.

I don't have any conclusions to draw from this, and I'm really not trying to quench debate. But I just thought it relevant to reflect on how important it is to remember that we -- each other in this thread -- are not the real enemy. Even if we may sometimes have profoundly different opinions on how best to realize the vision for a free and equitable society that affords everyone opportunity to thrive and self-actualize, while making sure that no one falls through the cracks.

Peace.
posted by darkstar at 1:11 PM on July 8 [21 favorites]


Everybody can stop worrying--Biden is going to be holding a 'big boy' press conference on Thursday.
posted by mittens at 1:13 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I don't think of the Democrats as my party. In the long term, I think both political parties are enemies of a truly just and humane society. But one is a much greater proximate threat to vulnerable people right now, and so an alliance with the "lesser evil" is morally necessary.

I think the majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans are basically well meaning, but I don't trust their political leaders and don't consider them allies in the way I would a communist or anarchist. Ultimately our aims are fundamentally at odds.

That said, I appreciate the attempt to bring some perspective and compassion to the conversation. Politics aside, we're all human and worthy of care and respect.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 1:19 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


538 just updated its prediction:

Based on their election forecast model as of today, the race is very tight. Out of 1000 simulations, Trump wins 516 and Biden wins 480. (4 simulations end in a tie.)

This is based on the latest poll aggregation, and considers the Electoral College.
“It might not seem like it based on the panicked reaction to Biden’s poor debate performance nearly two weeks ago, but the election is still a considerable ways away. This means there is a lot of uncertainty about where the polls will end up on Nov. 5. In turn, the 538 election model puts a healthy amount of weight on non-polling factors such as economic growth and political indicators. Today these indicators suggest an outcome closer to a 3-point Biden win — clear in the opposite direction of national polls.”
posted by darkstar at 1:36 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


It simply shouldn't be a close contest. It is so damning that it is.
posted by Gadarene at 1:55 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Also, while this isn’t a thread about reproductive rights, per se, it’s important to recall that reproductive rights legislation will be on the ballot in several states this November, which will certainly have an effect on voter turnout.

I think this will help drive turnout for Biden/Harris significantly, given their progress and plans to support reproductive health and safeguard access to reproductive care.
posted by darkstar at 1:57 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Also, while this isn’t a thread about reproductive rights, per se, it’s important to recall that reproductive rights legislation will be on the ballot in several swing states this November, which will certainly have an effect on voter turnout.

Hear, hear.

Given how much voter backlash there has been to the end of Roe already, this seems like the most likely boost to Biden's chances, and one that might not be coming up in polls this far out. Still, I wish Biden could pretend harder to be pro-choice, I mean he literally can't force the word "abortion" through his lips.
posted by kensington314 at 2:02 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Not to single you out, coffeecat; re: the "plan to build 2 million new housing units" (May 24, 2024 White House Fact Sheet) President Biden has a landmark plan to build over 2 million homes, which will lower rents, make houses more affordable, and promote fair housing.
"we will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again" (Mar. 7, 2024 WH Fact Sheet); Biden administration announces new abortion initiatives on Roe anniversary (ABC News, Jan. 22, 2024) Various agencies issued new guidance to clarify standards and support expanded coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
"Supreme Court" Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States (via executive order, April 2021), report, Dec. 2021
"rich and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes in this country" (Cool, how are you planning on doing that?)" President's Budget plan (WH Fact Sheet, March 11, 2024), US Dept. of Treasury breakout: The President’s long-term strategies have since sustained an unemployment rate below 4% for more than two years, the longest stretch in more than 50 years, increased real wages for Americans to above pre-pandemic levels, reduced inflation by more than 2/3 from its peak [...]

Key revenue proposals in the Greenbook would [e]nsure the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share, by:

- Implementing a global minimum tax that will strengthen the taxation of corporations’ foreign income by ensuring that all multinationals pay at least a 21% minimum rate on their earnings in each jurisdiction, thereby stopping the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates and leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses.

- Increasing the corporate minimum tax rate to 21% to align with the global minimum tax rate.

- Implementing a Billionaire Minimum Tax of 25% on the wealthiest taxpayers to ensure the top 0.01 percent pay taxes on their income as they go, just like everyone who earns a paycheck.

- Raising the tax rate on corporate stock buybacks from 1% to 4% to reduce the differential tax treatment between buybacks and dividends and encourage businesses to reinvest profits in their workers and in the company’s growth.

- Denying corporate tax deductions for employee compensation in excess of $1 million paid to any employee by both publicly and privately owned C corporations.

- Closing Medicare tax loopholes and extending solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund indefinitely by expanding the Net Investment Income Tax on income over $400,000 to cover all pass-through business income not otherwise covered by the Net Investment Income Tax or self-employment taxes, and by increasing the additional Medicare tax rate and the Net Investment Income Tax rate by 1.2 percentage points above $400,000 for a total Medicare tax rate of 5% on high-income taxpayers.

[2] Lower costs for workers and families, by:

- Making permanent expanded tax credits for health insurance that were first enacted in the American Rescue Plan and extended in the Inflation Reduction Act.

- Expanding the Child Tax Credit and making it fully refundable and available in advance monthly, a more practical solution to ensure that families can receive relief when they need it most instead of in one lump sum at the end of the year. In 2021, the expanded CTC cut child poverty nearly in half and helped bring child poverty to a historic low.

- Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to cover more workers without children.

- Expanding and enhancing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the largest federal incentive for affordable housing construction and rehabilitation, to boost the supply of housing that is affordable for low-income renters.

More at each link. What the Biden Administration needs to do is have a team of up-and-comers talking up these progressive reforms, on multiple platforms, to highlight the record and build name recognition for young Democratic politicians.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:11 PM on July 8 [21 favorites]


RE Biden’s cognitive health, today, via Robert Hubbell:
Amid all the calls for “cognitive tests” for Biden—but not Trump—journalists are committing malpractice by failing to note that President Biden released a detailed summary of his annual physical in February of this year. The full report is here: Health-Summary-2.28.pdf (whitehouse.gov). The examination included consultations with neurological experts at Walter Reed hospital. I urge you to read the entire report and consider how you would measure up to such a battery of tests!

On the issue of Biden’s neurological health, the report states the following:
An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy. This exam did again support a finding of peripheral neuropathy in both feet. No motor weakness was detected. He exhibits no tremor, either at rest or with activity. He demonstrates excellent fine motor dexterity. But a subtle difference in heat/cold sensation could be elicited as it was last year. This heat/cold sensation deficit was detected a couple inches higher on his ankle/calf this year, which is not unexpected, There may, in fact, be day to day subjective variation of these findings, as during last year’s exam, this area of sensation deficit was actually found to be smaller than the year before.
So, Biden did have a “detailed neurological exam” four-and-half months ago. The widespread media demands that Biden “take a neurological exam” should be directed to Trump instead.
Peripheral neuropathy in his feet, which is why he was visited by a specialist earlier this year (whom various media outlets are helpfully misframing as a “Parkinson’s doctor”).
posted by darkstar at 2:22 PM on July 8 [19 favorites]


Ok, then why is he so bad at debating and campaigning in public? Lack of skill? Lack of care for the country?
posted by sagc at 2:26 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Honestly? You don’t have to be senile to be a bad debater. Just being 81 with a life-long stutter would pretty much do it, I think. His public campaigning is much better than his debating, imho.
posted by darkstar at 2:28 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


darkstar The thing is, there isn't a coalition.

There's the Liberals, who are center right. And they own everything, control everyhing, set the terms of debate, decide what is and isn't permissable to discuss, and are 100% of elected Democrats.

Then there's the left, who are actually just the real left not "far left". They get the blame if the Democratic Party loses an election, and a lot of contempt. And that's all they get.

It isn't a coalition. It's the dominant liberal faction saying "vote for us or the bad guys win", and the left grumbling and concluding that at least they're not as bad as the Republicans.

In a Parlimentary setup where there would actually be a Leftist Party there might well be a coalition. Which would involve the Leftist Party agreeing to put in a Liberal PM in exchange for certain policy concessions and/or cabinet positions.

In America where your choice is the Democrats or Hitler, the liberal just run everything and scold leftists when they ask if maybe they could get something in exchange for their votes.

This, as you might guess, tends to create a lot of resentment on the left. To us lefties it seems basically like an abusive relationship. We get the blame when anything goes wrong, we get nothing we want, and if we complain we're told it means Hitler will win.

So... Yeah. Now it turns out that in addition to everything else the Liberal bosses of the Democratic Party have been systemically lying both to us and the rest of America, have been hiding the truth about Biden, and would rather give the eleciton to Trump than even consider that maybe their candidate just doesn't have what it takes to win.

It's not just the most recent lies and gaslighting and condescending smug hubris that is enraging the left right now. It's all that plus a lifetime of getting nothing but the blame.

Give us a little bit to process just how much liberal leadership is willing to destroy Amrica than admit they can make a mistake. I'll be able to try accepting that Biden is definitely the candidate without feeling enraged in a couple of weeks. RIght now, all the go biden clap harder stuff is just gasoline being poured on the fire. You won. Like you always do. All the strutting and crowing and go biden stuff is nothing but grinding our face in our defeat and the necessity of submitting to liberal whims yet again. The fact that we'll be able to say "I told you so, but you were too egotistical to listen" as America burns around us and the pigs round us up to put us in camps isn't really going to make up for anything.

As for 538, I'll note that they had HIllary Clinton at 71% to win back in 2016 so them showing Biden only slightly trailing Trump is not really reassuring to anyone.

And as for Biden's cognitive health, I will remind you that the White House doctor declared Trump was the healthiest individual he had ever seen, there was nothing wrong with him at all, and he had such great genes he'd live to be 200.

I don't really trust White House doctors. I also note that even if they're telling the truth, it still shows the contempt they have for everyone that they withheld that information for two weeks.

Which is more likely? They had info "proving" that Biden is totally the healthiest President ever and will live to be 200 and hid it while the media speculated about his mental health? Or that they're so incompetent it took them two weeks to fake this report?
You don’t have to be senile to be a bad debater. Just being 81 with a life-long stutter would pretty much do it, I think.
Which, crazy thought, might be a damn good reason not to have an octogenarian as the candidate don'tcha think?
posted by sotonohito at 2:30 PM on July 8 [15 favorites]


Biden has been busy campaigning lately, doing interviews, and he has a busy schedule ahead with both official and campaign events.

Trump hasn't been seen in public in quite a while.

But the press is only going after one of them, and it's not the one who is in hiding.

The press wants to get Biden out of the race so badly, not for any policy reasons but because they want that trophy of "we got him" in the case. Plus the chaos that would ensue. They thrive off of chaos. Chaos means clicks and viewership. And it turns out that way too many people are happy to feed the chaos.
posted by azpenguin at 2:32 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Trump ISN'T in hiding. He knows that every time he opens his mouth, it's news. He's showing remarkable restraint, because his people know that the longer Biden is under the microscope, the worse it gets for Biden.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:37 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Iris Gambol, I appreciate the links - but yeah, I agree that they need to be getting out the message better - I'm guessing the percentage of Americans who read White House fact sheets is in the low single digits. (I mean, only 20% read the news daily) One of my concerns with the debate wasn't just that he was often incoherent, but that I really didn't learn much about his vision for the next four years. At one point he did saying something along the lines of "If I'm president, Roe will be the law of the land" which was confusing, since you know, he is president - his administration can put out plans, but he needs to be selling them better. Even in the interview - he focused more on the past four years and taking shots at Trump, which is all fine (although I'm really tired of him repeating the same story about Trump calling fallen soldiers "losers and suckers") but Biden consistently seems to struggle with laying out new policies and also how he'll get them done (i.e. get the votes). Which will only fuel the perception that it's his admin doing the work, not him - personally I don't really care, but I reckon most voters want to know who they're voting for.
posted by coffeecat at 2:52 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Kevin O'Connor is not the same "White House doctor" who gave Trump a clean bill of health in 2018; that guy, Ronny Jackson, "is no longer a retired admiral. The Navy demoted him in July 2022 following a damaging Pentagon inspector general’s report that substantiated allegations about his inappropriate behavior as a White House physician." Jackson is now a Congressman.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:53 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


RE the independence of the Physician reporting, Biden was also seen by many specialists at Walter Reed, as noted in the medical report:
This physical has again included specialty consultation with several of our Presidential Specialty Consultants from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. These specialties have included Optometry. Dentistry, Orthopedics (Foot and Ankle), Orthopedics (Spine), Physical Therapy, Neurology, Sleep Medicine, Cardiology, Radiology and Dermatology. Each of these specialists have independently reviewed the chart, examined the President, and concur with my findings and recommendations.
Nowhere in the report, that I can tell, is any indication of the kind of farcical hyperpartisanship that characterized Trump’s physician reports, along the lines of “the healthiest President evar”.

On preview, what Iris Gambol said.
posted by darkstar at 2:55 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Biden repeats the Trump soldiers/"losers and suckers" bit because it's personal.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:56 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


As for 538, I'll note that they had Hillary Clinton at 71% to win back in 2016 so them showing Biden only slightly trailing Trump is not really reassuring to anyone.

I agree, but also that algorithm (which -- arguably -- was one of the few to maybe get things right in 2016: it shouldn't be too much of a surprise when something with a 29% chance of happening happens, and the other major poll aggregators had those chances at less than 5% or less than 1%) left with Nate Silver, and this is a new one the remaining 538 staffers rebuilt from the ground up.

If it makes you feel any better/worse, Nate Silver released his model's first set of odds not too long before the debate, paywalled but reported on elsewhere to predict around a 66% chance of Trump winning. I haven't seen whether he's released updated results since the debate. (He apparently decided not to update in real time this time around, and I haven't felt like digging around his Substack to suss out what might be behind the paywall.)

I wonder if the new 538 model -- in comparison to Silver's -- might be over-applying the weight it puts on the scales for "fundamentals": particularly all the good economic numbers the public nevertheless doesn't seem to have much belief in (and/or that are outweighed by bad economic factors the public is feeling but which standard economist models don't properly measure?).
posted by nobody at 3:04 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Trump hasn't been seen in public in quite a while. Neither has Mrs. Trump. Must be a second honeymoon!

But I think the press feeding frenzy is less about chaos & clicks, or even about getting a new nominee -- it's calculated to push the Dems-in-disarray trope hard against down-ballot Democrats and quash fair taxation of the 1%.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:09 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


look at John Fetterman. He had a stroke. He came right out and said it, and he's still recovering from it, but you can tell he's mentally okay and that he's 100% in reality, just as he was before.

Ummmm....are you sure about that?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:15 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Biden repeats the Trump soldiers/"losers and suckers" bit because it's personal.

Oh I know - but I'd say Trump's tendency to be a blowhard and say offensive things is not his most frightening qualities, and when Biden "quipped" during the debate "you're the loser!" I felt like I was at an elementary school playground.

Anyway, I imagine not much news will break until tomorrow after the Democrats' luncheon. Not a lot of members of Congress voicing support today, the majority seem to be making cautious "we'll have to wait and see" type of statements. Which honestly, is no doubt smart - if they are going to try to and force him out, they'll want a clear and united message first.
posted by coffeecat at 3:18 PM on July 8


Trump ISN'T in hiding. He knows that every time he opens his mouth, it's news. He's showing remarkable restraint, because his people know that the longer Biden is under the microscope, the worse it gets for Biden.

Which is exactly my point. The press is after Biden not for honest reasons. It's the chaos. If this were really about who was up for handling the pressure of the presidency, they'd be asking loudly, "where the hell is Trump?"
posted by azpenguin at 3:24 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


so what's the plan to convince voters? Is it just to complain about the media, say the refs are being unfair, and insult voters for wanting someone lucid? People don't care about the "pressure of the presidency" in the abstract, they're concerned that he is going to lose this election because of perception, and never even have a chance to face the pressures of actually being president.

Saying the perception of him as weak is false, and being forced by the nasty, nasty media, and how dare you say his debate was anything but an anomaly - what does that do to turn out the vote? How does that convince people not to believe their eyes when they see that Biden is struggling to campaign?

All of a sudden, it's the Biden dead-enders who are complaining that voters aren't perfectly-rational, un-influencable choice makers who aren't acting in their best interests. Don't people make fun of leftists when we complain about people voting against their interests?

It's a popularity contest. Biden has, apparently, completely inexplicable but extremely visible issues that make him unpopular. Just saying "it's not a popularity contest!!!" doesn't seem to be doing much to sway voters.
posted by sagc at 3:33 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


I'll see you guys in the next thread. Maybe we'll all be back here in a day or two when Biden drops a duece in his pants, or when his ear falls off and lands in his soup and he just keeps eating, like the zombie lady in Dead/Alive.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:42 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Which is more likely? They had info "proving" that Biden is totally the healthiest President ever and will live to be 200 and hid it while the media speculated about his mental health? Or that they're so incompetent it took them two weeks to fake this report?

I regret to inform you that you seem to be coming unglued. In reality, the report in question was posted on whitehouse.gov no later than February 28th.

When you're at the point that you're spewing an unhinged conspiracy theory that can be disproven in less than 30 seconds with a visit to archive.org it may be worth stepping back, taking a breath, and doing something else for a while.
posted by wierdo at 4:00 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]




Biden is losing to trump in Pennsylvania by 5.3%. In 2020 Biden was beating trump in PA by 6.5%.

How do you come back from that? You don’t. Tomorrow should be interesting
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:01 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


How do you come back from that? You don’t.

exactly - not enough of the american people are buying it - it may not be fair or just, but this is the situation we have
posted by pyramid termite at 4:07 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Reposting the WaPo gift link I posted upthread, since it seems increasingly relevant:

Is Biden fit for duty? The answer depends on little-known White House doctor
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:37 PM on July 8


Will that White House doctor tell us whether Biden is likely to be fit for duty two, three, or four years from now?
posted by Gadarene at 4:47 PM on July 8


"O’Connor was the physician to the vice president from 2009 to 2017 and White House physician from 2006-2009 during the Bush administration."

"Before joining the White House, O’Connor served 22 years in the Army, including tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and United States Army Special Operations Command. In 2010, he was designated master flight surgeon."
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:02 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]




Biden is losing to trump in Pennsylvania by 5.3%. In 2020 Biden was beating trump in PA by 6.5%.

How do you come back from that? You don’t. Tomorrow should be interesting


In March according to that Average Biden was up by 10, in October of last year Biden was down by 10. A comeback is not impossible.
posted by interogative mood at 5:08 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Just a few quick notes:

1. Biden had been leading Trump by 6.5% at one point in the 2020 race, in the summer, but Biden actually beat Trump in Nov 2020 by only 1.2%. I think it’s relevant to note, lest folks are inclined to imagine that Biden has somehow lost more ground than he has, since beating Trump the first time. YMMV on whether you think this is important context.

2. RealClearPolitics showed Biden trailing Trump in PA by about 2.5 points a few weeks ago, before the debate. Which means Trump got a 3-point bump since then. It remains to be seen how much of that persists, but generally debate bumps don’t persist.

3. Furthermore, 3% is not an unprecedented bump from a bad debate performance, and it’s certainly not unrecoverable. Again, I respectfully remind folks of Obama’s very bad first debate against Romney. Obama went into that debate with an 8-point lead (51-43) among Likely Voters in that linked Pew poll. He had a very bad debate performance, and in the next set of polls, Romney was in the lead by 4 points (49-45)…a 12 point shift against Obama from a bad first debate. And yes, there was a lot of panic then, too, when folks saw he was 4 points under!

4. This whole thing about the White House doctor? It’s a GOP conspiracy theory. I understand that folks on the Far Left (or “True Left”) are looking for evidence to support the argument for why Biden is bad and should be dumped, but it’s disappointing to hear folks amplifying GOP talking points.
posted by darkstar at 5:12 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Wait...where is Trump? He's only done one rally since the debate, and no interviews since the first of the month. He's not really known for "remarkable restraint"--normally he'd be reveling in the chaos in front of his fans.
posted by mittens at 5:16 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


darkstar, what’s the conspiracy theory you’re referring to? I haven’t seen any mention here of him belonging to a “crime family”, and your link is honestly the first I’ve heard of it. What do you think is happening here that has anything to do with that? Folks have expressed concerns about transparency, which seems pretty even-keeled and non-conspiratorial in my opinion.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 5:16 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


njebm…

To clarify: there are two general conspiracy theories, basically, related to the White House doctor.

One posits that Biden’s February health exam, including the neurology tests by a specialist at Walter Reed, can’t generally be trusted to be accurate, with a comment upthread that equated Trump’s lying and disgraced idiot Dr. Jackson with Biden’s (seemingly) respectable Dr. O’Connor.

Another, bigger conspiracy theory is that O’Connor isn’t just non-neutral, but is actively a part of the “Biden Crime Family”. No one in this thread has said that, and I apologize for the implication.
posted by darkstar at 5:32 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


How is the first a conspiracy theory, though? The White House’s disclosures about medical issues have never been trustworthy, regardless of the administration. That’s all anyone has been saying: we’re not getting the full picture, and to pretend we are is foolish.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 5:36 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


Side note: Project 2025 is starting to get attention and the GOP is trying to figure out how to distance themselves from it. The SCOTUS immunity decision also is in play. Both of these are extremely unpopular. Hopefully this is where voters start paying attention, because despite all the screaming about the debate, a lot people aren't really fully tuned in yet. The election gets real loud in a couple of months.
posted by azpenguin at 5:39 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


In 2016 and 2020 the argument for Hilary and Biden during the primaries basically came down to electability (aka they had a known national brand). Now that in 2024 Biden's brand has been tarnished by his debate performance, why isn't this argument relevant anymore? You can complain that it's the media playing favorites all you want but it doesn't change the fact that many people are having doubts after his debate performance. There's no time to wait months for the next debate to see if Biden can put up a better showing, it will be too late by then. Broadly speaking, you generally win by some combination of two things - you inspire your base enough to show up in numbers, or you convince the undecided middle. With Gaza as an ongoing issue I wouldn't count on the youth to turn out like they did in 2020 and I don't think most of the arguments put forth here are very convincing to somebody who's undecided.

The fact that the Biden campaign hasn't been able to aggressively play offense is deeply concerning to me. They have been letting their opponent define them and "better than the other guy" is not enough. People need something to vote for. They need to be inspired by something. Obama campaigned on hope. Trump claimed he'd Make America Great Again. 2020 Biden promised a return to normalcy. It's now 2024 and he needs to be able to make a persuasive case for what his presidency will deliver. Instead, he's trying to demonstrate - with questionable success to people who already have favorable views of him - that he's not unfit! There's a huge fucking gap between the two. You cannot simultaneously claim that the highest office in the land is demanding and immensely consequential then turn around and play it off like it'll all be fine as long as you try your best. The fact that they're even trying this line of argument is an insult.

It's a travesty that the DNC hasn't been preparing a contingency. You say democracy is on the line and this is the best you can come up with?? What the fuck have you been doing the last 4 years? Why haven't you been promoting Harris' national profile just in case? Biden was old in 2020 and he hasn't gotten any younger; if Harris wasn't ready to step in as president, why was she on the ticket as VP and second in line of succession at all?? Don't tell me this was unforeseeable, this was one of the most obvious things to plan for! The DNC keeps acting like they're just a sports fan instead of a player on the field - they'll celebrate a win or cry into their champagne if there's a loss, then show up at their day job next morning and collect a paycheck instead of worrying about if they'll have a spot on the team next season. If there had been a competitive primary this issue might've been discovered earlier and we'd have more time to course correct but in the name of party unity that was skipped over and ended up exposed during a national debate against Trump. A lack of introspection, self-criticism, and willingness to challenge entrenched status quo has led to a party that doesn't actually care about winning and the supposed best and only candidate they can put up in the face of a felonious authoritarian fascist running for president again is an octogenarian.
posted by ndr at 5:57 PM on July 8 [27 favorites]


It's a travesty that the DNC hasn't been preparing a contingency. You say democracy is on the line and this is the best you can come up with?? What the fuck have you been doing the last 4 years? Why haven't you been promoting Harris' national profile just in case? Biden was old in 2020 and he hasn't gotten any younger; if Harris wasn't ready to step in as president, why was she on the ticket as VP and second in line of succession at all?? Don't tell me this was unforeseeable, this was one of the most obvious things to plan for!

I find this upsetting, too, and have been puzzled for a long time. I really did believe Biden when he said he saw himself as a bridge to the next generation, but I’m pretty sure I saw coverage distancing Biden from Harris when he had not been in office that long.
posted by eirias at 6:30 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


I occasionally reflect on the horrifying reality that 74,000,000 of our neighbors, friends, and family members voted Trump in 2020, the second highest popular vote turnout for any US presidential candidate in history to date.

74,000,000 Americans voted for Trump, after they had already seen what four years of his lies, cruelty, bigotry, corruption, and authoritarianism was like. And there is every indication that he has even more solid support among traditional conservatives now, especially after he appointed three “conservative” SCOTUS Justices.

I don’t have any soothing words to offer, sadly. But I know folks of the Liberal and Left factions — including folks like me who find themselves somewhere in the middle of the two — have to continue the hard work of navigating the centuries-old discontents, and strive to work together on some level, to accomplish the continuing progress election by election, that comes at so often a maddening snail’s pace.
posted by darkstar at 6:31 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]




Right now, I think Biden has lost and does not have the ability to come back and beat Trump. But, if all the pushback after his terrifying debate performance made him and his campaign level up and prove they can win, I would be delighted. No sign of that yet, but it would be better than a “safe” campaign that continues to be behind and loses.
posted by snofoam at 6:44 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


So glad to have another president who calls in to their favorite cable news show, one they faithfully spend hours watching each day.
posted by Gadarene at 6:45 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


> The press is after Biden not for honest reasons. It's the chaos.

@GregTSargent (xorry): "What would it look like if NYT and other media crusaded against Trump's mental unfitness and his overt threats of lawlessness in the same way they are currently crusading against Biden's age?"

Trump's Wildly Unhinged Attack on NYT Should Wake Up Media: He's Unfit - "With Trump slamming the Times even as it crusades against Biden, a press critic explains how Trump scams the media into adopting a huge double standard on each man's fitness to serve."
SARGENT: Let's try to imagine what it would look like if The Times and other media crusaded against Trump in precisely the way they are currently crusading against Biden. Here's my example. You can imagine story after story about Trump's plans to simply end prosecutions of himself if elected president. They could quote experts warning of how dangerous this is, how it would put Trump above the law, how it would fundamentally undermine the rule of law itself, how this sort of attack on the rule of law is a hallmark of authoritarian governments. Trump and his allies could be hounded relentlessly by the press on all this. I'm not seeing that. Are you?

STANCIL: No. The key difference is that these stories are being written, but they're written with an air of inevitability. The stories about Trump are written as if they're explaining Trump to Democrats. They're saying, "Here's what Trump's gonna do when he takes over. So sad."

Stories about Biden are written as if they're pushing Democrats. They say, "Here's the problem with Biden, what are you going to do about it?" What the press really ought to be doing is writing all stories with that second frame. Trump is a convicted criminal. How are Republicans going to deal with it? How are they going to explain it to voters? You could press on all of these different things. The key is to present it as a live and open question, not as a forgone conclusion that it won't matter.
also btw, re: 'a mini-primary'
Democratic power players are circulating a proposal for Biden to exit, launch 'blitz primary' - "Overnight, Biden is hailed as a modern-day George Washington, not an octogenarian clinging to power with a 37% approval rating..."
The next phase of the plan is a “blitz primary,” where prospective Democratic candidates submit their bids and delegates to the Democratic National Convention ultimately narrow down the list to six contenders.

The hypothetical accelerated primary would involve a massive social media content campaign to engage voters, including forums between the candidates moderated by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift or Stephen Colbert, according to the memo.

Brooks and Dintersmith’s vision ends with delegates voting on the final nominee at the DNC, which would theoretically benefit from boosted viewership and donations from the viral hype of the preceding blitz primary.
posted by kliuless at 6:45 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Everyone knows Trump is unfit. Even if they report it, and they should, it’s not news. The reality-based parts of the press can choose what to report on, but they can’t choose what matters to people.
posted by snofoam at 6:52 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


If I were Biden's campaign, I would wait another day to see how the winds are blowing, and if Dems are still tepid, I would change the narrative to the following: You know Democrats--the party everybody hates? The Democrats tried to keep Biden down. But they couldn't--through sheer force of will, Biden fought the elements of his own party (the elements that you and I in our local diner hate so much), so that he could serve you, not them. And now that he has defeated the Dems, it's time to go after Trump. Lose the laser eyes and all that last-year stuff, Jack, this isn't playtime anymore. I'm not saying it would work, but it's a perfect opportunity to project strength rather than to excuse weakness.
posted by mittens at 6:53 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I’m sure Biden’s campaign wants to do many things, but you can’t win an election with just your team or your surrogates. At some point, the actual candidate has to earn those votes. Biden would have to project that “sheer force of will” and “strength” which are things that he does not seem able to project at this point.
posted by snofoam at 6:57 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


the second highest popular vote turnout for any US presidential candidate in history to date.

Because there are more people. Comparing percentage of votes cast would be a more useful comparison.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:58 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Yes, of course. But I’m reflecting rather on the magnitude of the number of people who seem to be okay with voting for the (figurative) Antichrist, rather than the percentage, per se. It is harrowing to imagine that there are 74,000,000 of them out there, mowing their lawns, driving their cars, standing next to us in the grocery line, and doing their part in the voting booth to subvert democracy.
posted by darkstar at 7:10 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


New: Biden-Harris campaign put out website to highlight Project 2025.

This is a line of attack that Trump is vulnerable to, as shown by his recent laughable denials of his awareness of the Plan or its architects.
posted by darkstar at 7:20 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


The hypothetical accelerated primary would involve a massive social media content campaign to engage voters, including forums between the candidates moderated by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift or Stephen Colbert, according to the memo.

🤦
posted by dirigibleman at 7:20 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


This is a line of attack that Trump is vulnerable to, as shown by his recent laughable denials of his awareness of the Plan or its architects.

Ooh, a website!
posted by Gadarene at 7:23 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


...moderated by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift or Stephen Colbert

I don't know about Colbert but as long as we are creating alternate candidates for President here, an Oprah-Taylor Swift ticket would flatten Count Flatula into a tortilla so wafer-thin you could slide it between Annunaki stonework. Not that they'd know what they were doing but they'd definitely do better than Teddy Dozevelt. Plus, presents under the seat! Not to mention an ice pick revenge ballad to boot.
posted by y2karl at 7:28 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


If trump and project 2025 are such massive, world ending threats, then why won’t Biden do a press conference about them?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:42 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


He's only good for one press conference a week max, and NATO already has dibs.
posted by ryanrs at 8:08 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, I just read a transcript of a recent interview with Elizabeth Warren about the Supreme Court and democracy and abortion and labor and things and, man. If Biden could care about things like this, and think like this, and speak like this, and want to fight like this...we would not be having this discussion today.

Bonus points to her for bringing up DC statehood, a fundamental issue of fairness, both good policy and good politics, that I would be surprised if Biden has mentioned more than once in his entire time in office so far.

(warning: Substack)
posted by Gadarene at 8:22 PM on July 8 [18 favorites]


LOL! Dude was all over Pennsylvania campaigning today. Multiple states this past week, interview with ABC, call-in to Morning Joe, vigorous rally in NC, good talk with the CBC, etc.

At some point, some of these criticisms begin to ring a little hollow.
posted by darkstar at 8:24 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


He's good at reading a teleprompter except when he isn't, I'll give him that.
posted by Gadarene at 8:25 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Warren was the candidate we needed four years ago. she is a badass.

Now we are left with this. Still pulling the "D" lever regardless of the candidate. What a shitstorm....
posted by Windopaene at 8:28 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


Cosigning everything in sotonohito's earlier comment here. There is no "coalition" between liberals and the actual left in America.
posted by adrienneleigh at 8:29 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


(By the way, how do you make it so you don't have to win every single election from now until the end of time to keep the barbarians from the gates?

You take advantage of the times you do win to enact structural reforms that further justice and address existing inherent disadvantages. Like DC and Puerto Rico statehood. Like expanding the Court. Like enacting sweeping voting rights legislation. And like not letting a procedural artifact from the Jim Crow era like the filibuster stop you from achieving those things.

The next time Biden gives a shit about any of that will be the first.)
posted by Gadarene at 8:34 PM on July 8 [13 favorites]


Everything you just listed is something that has to be passed by a Congress first, which, as you note, is stymied by the bullshit filibuster. Biden can’t wave his executive pen like a wand and expand the court, give DC statehood, or enact voting rights legislation without 51 Democrats that are willing to do away with that antidemocratic rule.

Which is why, here in AZ, we’re doing our best to replace shitty Sinema with Gallego. But even though Manchin is leaving, he’s going to be replaced by a Republican that will be even worse. So we’ll see where Congress ends up in November.

Even if we hold the Senate and take the House, which trifecta is not projected to be in reach this year, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that there are a couple more crypto-filibusterites hiding in the Dem caucus, who haven’t made a point of it because they had Sinema and Manchin to provide cover for them.

But blaming the recalcitrance of crappy senators like Sinema and Manchin on Biden seems like misplaced anger.
posted by darkstar at 8:48 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


At some point, some of these criticisms begin to ring a little hollow.

Quite a ways back, really
posted by lescour at 8:51 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


But blaming the recalcitrance of crappy senators like Sinema and Manchin on Biden seems like misplaced anger.

Really? Wasn't Biden elected specifically because of his ability to work with senators and get things done? I won't relitigate the tragedy of the BBB here, but suffice to say that Joe Manchin at one point publicly supported a multi-trillion dollar package and then blithely reneged, leaving progressives to take the blame. Either Biden is actually terrible at the backroom arm-twisting he supposedly excels in, or passing all of the amazing things that were contained within that multi-trillion dollar package wasn't much of a priority for him. Damning either way.

Also, BIDEN is a "crypto-filibusterite"! Of course he's not going to put in particular effort on that front. So I don't think my anger is misplaced whatsoever.
posted by Gadarene at 8:53 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


Anyway, this is getting off track. I guess I would just like to see some actual fight FOR SOMETHING in our candidate in perhaps the most important election in our country's history. Biden doesn't have that in his gut; everything is about him. (Listen to that Morning Joe interview again if you're skeptical.)
posted by Gadarene at 9:00 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


A man who has had everything made about him in the past week talks about the situation as if everything is about him. The shock and horror. Oh, the humanity.

Hopefully the rash on Sulzberger's ass will calm down soon so that the NYT isn't running two hundred unhinged articles a week about Joe Biden's goddamn health and WaPo can stop trying to one up them. Then maybe we can actually hear what Biden is saying about everything else.
posted by wierdo at 9:32 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


they can’t choose what matters to people

The media decides what we talk about every day. Trump is senile, if not psychotic, and the media makes its choice as a unit as to what to talk about in that respect.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:35 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


LOL…Every four years, I have to re-learn the same lesson about these political threads. One of these days, it may stick.

That said, I’ll be voting for Biden and will be encouraging others to support him, because I think he’s fit for the job and electable. Of course, we’ll see in November.
posted by darkstar at 9:55 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Events in the UK and France give me hope TFG is not inevitable.
posted by mazola at 10:07 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


From kliuless' link:

“Overnight, Biden is hailed as a modern-day George Washington, not an octogenarian clinging to power with a 37% approval rating,” the proposal reads. “From goat to hero.”


I hate to see an editor let something like this pass by. In 2024 that should obviously read "from goat to GOAT." Or even "GOATed."
posted by kensington314 at 11:02 PM on July 8


...Biden actually beat Trump in Nov 2020 by only 1.2%.

How do you figure that? Here's the wikipedia article on the election. Trump lost by about 7 million votes, which is about a 4.5% difference between the two.
posted by netowl at 11:23 PM on July 8


Sorry, that 1.2% was referring to PA election results. Biden was up in PA by 6.5% at one point in the campaign, but by November 2020, he only won PA by 1.2%.
posted by darkstar at 12:45 AM on July 9


Just as a palate cleanser: What Biden Has Done
posted by darkstar at 1:00 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Which is why, here in AZ, we’re doing our best to replace shitty Sinema with Gallego.

Gallego is doing well, he's been leading Lake by about 4 points in that race, while Biden in Arizona is about 4 points behind. Performance gap between the two is eight points or more.
posted by gimonca at 3:19 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Andrew Solender, Axios, Twitter:

Vibe check for tomorrow: A House Democrat deeply skeptical of Biden tells me "the dam is holding" and predicts "very few members will openly speak in favor of Biden stepping aside."

"As someone who wanted the reckoning and is disappointed that it's over, trust me: it's over."

Related article


So there's that.
posted by delfin at 5:37 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]




But my Axios article is a couple of days older than delfin's.

Anyway, between the meetings today and the press conference this week, maybe something will solidify. I think Biden needs to get out of the race. But in a bigger way, I'm wishing for something big to happen, in one direction or the other, something definitive, that will make the right direction more clear for more people.
posted by NotLost at 5:54 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


one direction or the other, something definitive

Thing is, "definitive" only goes the one way here.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:06 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]



Yes, Trump is also unfit, but that's not news. Anyone who has paid even a modicum of attention over the last 8 years knows that.

Irrefutable evidence that Biden is also unfit is news. A few folks had been ringing alarm bells about this since the beginning of the year, but the debate made it very clear to anyone else who watched even a bit of it.

Now that that cat is out of the bag, we're now seeing Biden's true colors, and they are not pretty. He is showing us that he does not care if he takes down the Democratic Party and our entire democracy with him. He's selfishly refusing to step aside, while also having no realistic plan on how to revive his sinking campaign that was already behind before the debate and is now deeply underwater.

I'm not sure which is worse, but Biden either does not actually believe his own dire predictions about what will happen when Trump wins, or he does not care about them. Either way, what's happening this week is our country is being handed to Trump by a vain 81-year-old so he can live out his fantasy that he's going to be a two-term president for a few more months.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 6:14 AM on July 9 [12 favorites]


Maybe this is just an excuse to let myself not worry about it for a few days, but it struck me that it might be a smart move to wait until some time after next week's Republican convention before leaving the race, if Biden's considering it at all. The Republicans then have to spend their whole big televised four days splitting their focus between various possibilities, plus it would force Trump to select a running mate without full certainty about who they'd be running against.
posted by nobody at 6:25 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Biden should be asked, especially at the press conference, whether he has watched the debate. He should be asked if and how watching that performance does or should inform his decisions.
posted by NotLost at 6:42 AM on July 9


And how he expects his debate performance to inform decisions of the voters.
posted by NotLost at 6:43 AM on July 9


Hopefully the rash on Sulzberger's ass will calm down soon so that so that the NYT isn't running two hundred unhinged articles a week

As David Klion observed a few days ago, it's striking that Biden supporter have largely targeted the coverage in the NYTimes, when this story has dominated literally every media outlet. Do you really think Sulzberger single-handedly got all of the other media outlets to follow his lead?

I do think maybe some of the confusion here is over what the news story actually is - a lot of people on this thread have said something along the line of "It was just a bad debate! Those happen....remember Obama?" But the news story is not the bad debate, not really anyway. I feel like some of us have tried to address this already, but I'll try another angle since it keeps coming up.

Imagine an alternate timeline - Biden has the exact same debate, but then afterward everyone, from members of Congress to donors to DNC higher ups to to journalists who have followed Biden closely, everyone says the same message of "Wow. The debate was shockingly bad because we've never seen Biden like that - he must have been seriously sick! Get well soon Mr. President." Then yes, the bad debate would still be something of a story, but then it would fade as other news stories happened. And if it was indeed a fluke, Biden would do a press conference as soon as he was better, and he'd demonstrate he's the same Biden. That's what you'd expect to happen when a president has a bad debate. That's what political reporters would expect too.

But that's not what happened, obviously. You had top leadership (Clyburn, Pelosi, Jeffries) making rather cryptic messages that didn't completely dismiss concerns, you have leak after leak of Democratic politicians claiming that the Biden we all saw on the debate stage was one they had all increasingly encountered in the past six months, Biden did not get out in front of it and his administration stonewalled, his NC rally in which yes, he read off a teleprompter OK, also had him slurring his speech and trying to give a handshake to the air, he frequently sounded incoherent during his ABC interview, more Democrats released statements calling for him to step down, and his call-in to Morning Joe was also frequently hard to follow and to many reminded them of Trump's rambling and angry call-ins to Fox News.

So yeah, this was all news. The news story was not the debate, but rather that a significant chunk of the Democratic Party does not have confidence in the cognitive abilities of its president, with an extremely consequential election just four months away.

Anyway, it appears they are at least letting him do his NATO press conference. Hopefully they are taking this time to at least put a plan in place for what happens if he bombs that in a couple of days.
posted by coffeecat at 6:43 AM on July 9 [8 favorites]


It's fascinating. Up until just now it seemed to be a point of more or less universal agreement that White House doctors were guaranteed to say the President was perfectly healthy regardless of the President's actual health. Obviously Trump's doc took it further than most, but has any Presidential doctor EVER actually said "naah, he's pretty sick" unless it had been cleared by the President's PR team?

I'm old enough I remember the saga of Reagan's polyp, which first they said didn't exist. Which was kind of a giveaway since they wouldn't have announced there was no polyp unless, you know, there was one. Then they said it had been removed. Then they said no one had done a biopsy because it clearly wasn't cancerous. Then they said they were waiting for biopsy results. Then they said that the biopsy results were negaitve. Then they said the polyp was cancerous but it had been removed successfully and the President was TOTALLY not being treated in any way at all for cancer.

When did the general cynicism about White House doctors suddenly turn into absolute faith that the White House doctor would totally tell us something the President's PR team doesn't want themt o?

darkstar That said, I’ll be voting for Biden and will be encouraging others to support him, because I think he’s fit for the job and electable.

And I think that seems to be the core of our disagreement here. I'm ALSO voting for Biden and encouraging others to do so. Because despite his clearl inability to do the job and the humiliation it will bring America he's the only candidate who isn't Trump and Trump would (somehow) be worse.

You seem to believe that unless I'm a true Biden fan with stars in my eyes and an unwavering faith that he's the bestest thing to ever happen I'm somehow doing it wrong, or being a bad person, or whatever. And people of your mindset seem to think your job is to scold everyone who isn't breathlessly in love with Biden regardless of our many, many, many, many statements that we're voting for him.

Because just voting for him, to you, is insufficient. We must also love him and worship him and believe he's super duper great and totally a badass.

Of course, we’ll see in November.

Can you see, even a little, how that little zinger at the end is the exact opposite of reassuring, and comes across like you don't really give a flying fuck about the future of the country?

A brush off "we'll see in November" type line about the likelihood that Biden's obvious and blatant senility is not really helping you and your self appointed mission to make everyone love Biden and ignore the fact that he's falling apart while we watch.

Which, just to repeat it for the zillionth fucking time, does NOT mean I will be voting Trump. OK? I know this seems like it's utterly impossible for you to believe but people can both think that Biden is clearly unfit for the job, and also still vote for him.

But, again, you won. OK? Can you just take your goddamn victory lap and let people be sad that your faction has doomed us to fascism without scolding us for not clapping hard enough? For like just one fucking week?


On the topic of Biden's obvious mental state, you do not have the power to convince me that Biden isn't senile. Exactly one person can do that: Biden. He can do that only by not acting senile and feeble.

I know, to you, that position seems like utter madness. The White House doctor said he's healthy! The DNC and Biden's aids say he's sharp! What sort of idiot leftist child thinks that merely seeing Biden fail to answer the most basic unscripted questions means he's senile when all the authorities say he isn't?!

Well, as a stupid, childish, leftist I believe what I see, not what my betters me is actually happening.

I will vote for your stupid, racist, senile, feeble, coprolite of a candidate.

Moreover, I have been urging every leftist I know to do the same, and as a result have been taking a lot of heat and been actually kicked off two leftist boards for being a "liberal tool" in the words of one moderator. If that's not enough for you then you'll just have to learn to live with disappointment. I damn sure have.
posted by sotonohito at 6:54 AM on July 9 [25 favorites]


Also:

Biden had been leading Trump by 6.5% at one point in the 2020 race, in the summer, but Biden actually beat Trump in Nov 2020 by only 1.2%. I think it’s relevant to note, lest folks are inclined to imagine that Biden has somehow lost more ground than he has, since beating Trump the first time. YMMV on whether you think this is important context.

I do think it's important context, but for a different reason - it suggests that Trump over performs the polling, meaning that Biden is currently even more behind than the current polls. Not good.
posted by coffeecat at 6:55 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Nobody—what at excellent point. The republicans can spend the whole convention making fun of sleepy joe, then Biden steps down, then they have to conjure up a new line of attack. Gives me hope.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:00 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


White House doctors were guaranteed to say the President was perfectly healthy regardless of the President's actual health.

FWIW, at least Biden's report is within the range of typical expectations for someone his age and informative on several issues. Trump's was obviously an absurd fabrication, full of pointlessly broad generalities and hyperbole, but Biden's is, at worst, playing down the extent to which a range of ordinary health issues are hampering him. There's a lot of identification of specific health problems in there along with an assessment of their severity typically suggesting they don't seriously impact his ability.

I'm not saying "take it as gospel", but if it engages in fabrications or calculated omissions, it's at least doing so well within the range of plausibility and providing some measure of truth. Everything asserted as an infirmity or condition in there I would take as true (they wouldn't lie to make it look worse), although perhaps assessed with the most optimistic view of the extent it would impair him.
posted by jackbishop at 7:05 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


As David Klion observed a few days ago, it's striking that Biden supporter have largely targeted the coverage in the NYTimes, when this story has dominated literally every media outlet. Do you really think Sulzberger single-handedly got all of the other media outlets to follow his lead?

Work has been super busy for me, so I haven't watched the debate, and have not checked out other sources than CNN (which has made the reaction to Biden's debate performance their top story since it happened). But I wanted to note that even if other news outlets have unanimously pegged this story to the top, it doesn't have to be coordinated. There's no architect or designer that shapes a snowflake to be symmetric, making each branch grow in the same way. It's just that each growing branch of the snowflake is subject to the same conditions at the same times, and they behave in the same way. Or, perhaps more appropriately for news outlets that can observe and react to one another, there is no choreographer that ensures that starlings murmurate in near-synchrony.
posted by a faded photo of their beloved at 7:13 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Irrefutable evidence that Biden is also unfit is news.

Yeah I don’t concur. All-or-none thinking drives me nuts. He’s less able, but there’s demonstrably lots of able left too.
posted by mazola at 7:13 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Yes, Trump is also unfit, but that's not news.

LOL. Supposedly the 'unfit' guy it's not news about is leading, and per polls projected to win. Weird how that is not news, but I guess that's why they are journalists and not math majors. Did anyone notice he hasn't even named a presidential successor (VP?). Who cares!? He's great.


Also the Dems 'top thinkers' have big "let's put on a show" energy with Oprah and Taylor Swift moderating debates.

Man this is the dumbest timeline.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:14 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


It's her turn--again! "The poll also tested other potential Democratic tickets — and found one headed up by Clinton, with Harris staying on as her vice presidential nominee, in the strongest position. Clinton-Harris is beating Trump 43 percent to 40 percent, a four-point advantage over Biden-Harris."
posted by mittens at 7:25 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I want to find that pollster and smack them on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper for even suggesting that another Trump/Clinton duel could or should be possible.
posted by delfin at 7:30 AM on July 9 [12 favorites]


Yesterday evening I saw the first thing that made me think Joe Biden will weather this storm and remain the Democrats’ candidate for President. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared outside the Capitol stating clearly and categorically that Biden’s in the race and she supports him.

AOC & CBC - Talking Points Memo
posted by nanook at 8:14 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


New AARP poll of Wisconsin just released; it has Biden losing to Trump by either 5 or 6 points (depending whether third party candidates are included) and running 12 points behind incumbent Dem senator Tammy Baldwin.

I'm sure this is fine.
posted by Gadarene at 8:19 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


Biden Experiments: How it might go, from here to victory [Timothy Snyder, substack].

A fair outline of where we're at and what the choices are. Interestingly, it reads as a nudge to go bold and different.
People are nervous, which is understandable. Time is short. None of these choices is without risk. Operation Consistency … also involves risk. The question is: what is the least risky here? Which of these approaches is most likely to preserve the American republic? And which is most likely to generate a sense of hope and positive energy that will reach Americans in general? I think a President Biden who considered these options (or someone else’s better list) with his team, as part of a process, would make the right call.

I don’t fear this election. I think people will work hard and the right side will win. My concern is this: that the people on the right side, motivated by fear, will miss their chances. Giving the president options is an act, after all, of loyalty rather than disloyalty: to the man, to the office, to the legacy, and to the country.
posted by mazola at 8:38 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


The republicans can spend the whole convention making fun of sleepy joe, then Biden steps down, then they have to conjure up a new line of attack. Gives me hope.

Don't sweat it, it's probably just indigestion.
posted by flabdablet at 8:46 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Well, Democrats are currently describing the mood in the caucus either as "like a funeral" or so bad that describing it as a funeral is "an insult to funerals" so clearly as is well.
posted by coffeecat at 8:52 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


To follow onto darkstar -- Trump was interested in trading Puerto Rico for Greenland, and when he made an appearance there after Hurricane Maria he chucked rolls of paper towels at people. Effective relief aid for Hurricane Maria happened after the Biden Administration began. Biden's said, “I happen to believe that statehood would be the most effective means to ensure that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally with equal representation at the federal level." But statehood is a Congressional matter.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:57 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


To put that Wisconsin poll in context:

Individual polls can be off, sure, but what’s really striking about this one is that the Democratic senator is up 5 points in Wisconsin while the Democratic president is down six points *with the same voters.* That’s not polling bias. This is scary stuff in a crucial swing state.

.
posted by Gadarene at 9:03 AM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Contextless Biden/Trump contrasts are maybe not the most useful comments? Point me to all the people who need to be reminded that Trump is Worse; I promise you they aren't hanging out here in this thread. You are preaching choir, here!
posted by sagc at 9:04 AM on July 9 [14 favorites]




Biden should be asked, especially at the press conference, whether he has watched the debate.

George Stephanopoulos asked him and he said, “I don’t think so, no.”
posted by snofoam at 9:42 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


To expand on nanook’s comment, above…
AOC Breaks Her Post-Debate Silence With Ringing Biden Endorsement

‘MATTER IS CLOSED’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told reporters Monday that after speaking “extensively” with President Joe Biden over the weekend, she is supporting his reelection bid. “He made clear then, and he has made clear since that he is in this race. The matter is closed,” the New York lawmaker said outside the Capitol. “Joe Biden is our nominee. He is not leaving this race. He is in this race, and I support him.” She added: “What is critically important right now is that we focus on what it takes to win in November, because he is running against Donald Trump, who is a man with 34 felony convictions.”
This follows Bernie Sanders’ similar comments a couple of days ago.
posted by darkstar at 9:49 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


All the reporting suggests that the vast majority of Democratic Congressmembers (1) know that Biden is in no state to effectively campaign or to lead for the next four years; (2) strongly believe that Biden will lose to Trump in November; and (3) are choosing to say nothing about this publicly.

Thus the republic fell, I guess.
posted by Gadarene at 9:54 AM on July 9 [8 favorites]


When a US Senator is now openly stating that America is a Christian nation and that he is advocating for Christian Nationalism, maybe it won't fall if somehow the spotlight can be turned back onto blatantly anti-American shit like that.
posted by delfin at 10:02 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Personally, I hope the press conference generally avoids questions about his age and the debate, and just hits him hard with questions related to policy and campaign strategy that are specific enough that he can't just rattle off his canned talking points. And when he fails to answer such questions cogently, the centrists will have more ammunition to pressure him to step down - I have no doubt the progressives will follow along - I don't take their statements about Biden as anything other than strategic/letting the moderates take the lead on this. They are all politicians, after all.
posted by coffeecat at 10:10 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


One last point about the Wisconsin poll: someone on Twitter made the cogent point that the senator who Biden is running 12 points behind in this crucial swing state is Tammy Baldwin, an LBGTQ woman. But apparently only old white guys can win presidential elections.
posted by Gadarene at 10:26 AM on July 9 [8 favorites]


From Dave Weigel:

RCP poll average on this day in prior campaigns:

2020: Biden +9.0
2016: Clinton +4.7
2012: Obama +2.5
2008: Obama +4.2
2004: Kerry +2.0

First time in 24 years that the GOP nominee has led after the July 4 holiday, going into conventions.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:26 AM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Timothy Snyder is right, its long past time for the Biden campaign to go bold and different. They won't but they should. Unfortunately we see that the Biden campaign is phoning it in and doing nothing but more of the same bland and boring crap the Democrats always do.

darkstar I'm saying exactly what AOC is plus some bitterness and doom that she's not going to express even if she feels because shes a pro in a pro environment. He's the candidate and that's not going to change so we have no choice but to vote for him.

I'm just enraged at the inherent aristocratic dishonesty in the process. It seems as if the entire Democratic apparatus is devoted to denying reality and losing to Trump.

I hope I'm wrong, because this really is important and I'm not actually an accelerationist. I've studied too much history to believe the fairy tale that making things worse will magically turn into things being better.
posted by sotonohito at 10:37 AM on July 9 [13 favorites]


There's no plan and the Democrats can't even pretend that they care about winning. Jaw-dropping dereliction of duty by everyone from the party establishment, Schumer and Jeffries et al, to Bernie Sanders, AOC, and "The Squad." I'm furious as a grouchy leftie but I think there is a huge number of normier liberals who are experiencing even more appalment and shock because they're realizing for the first time that there is truly nobody behind the curtain.
posted by dusty potato at 10:53 AM on July 9 [8 favorites]


One thing that I'm not sure has come up yet is a reminder that part of Trump's talent, no doubt cultivated in his career of reality TV, is in knowing how to craft a message that appeals to the average American's common sense. "Washington is corrupt" and "Politicians are mostly phonies who don't care about you" were key to him winning the Republican primary in 2016 and then against Clinton (who was about as entrenched in D.C. as you can get). Yes, various bigotries played a role too, but a lot of low-information voters saw him as a chance to shake up a political machine that had long stopped working for them.

Biden too won in 2020 largely by appealing to common sense - certainly all Democrats, most Independents, and even some Republicans found the Trump presidency exhausting. I think most people have forgotten just how bad it felt to wake up every morning and see the headlines of whatever Trump had done or tweeted or whatever. And so Biden's main campaign message was "A return to normal," and while many on the left scoffed at it (myself included, I'll admit) it was a pretty good message for the electorate overall - it resonated with what most people felt.

This is all to say, the last week and a half have provided Trump with ample material for what I fear is a winning common sense message of "Biden is a mere figurehead incapable of the duties of office - why vote for a man who has an 8pm bedtime when you can vote for a man who will have America's back around the clock?" I'm not saying I agree with that argument - like pretty much everyone here, I'll vote for Biden's corpse if it comes down to it. But most Americans don't want to vote for an amorphous administration - they want to vote for an individual leader. I'd say this also appeals to people's common sense in that if you've had enough different types of bosses you know that while a team under a weak leader can certainly still get things done, a boss that knows how to unite people and to take control/give directions as needed is a more effective boss. It's not just that I think Harris or someone else would be a better candidate - I think they'd also be a better president.
posted by coffeecat at 11:06 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


(Good points there....but I'm going to admit I'm so close to ordering an "AMORPHOUS ADMINISTRATION 2024" bumpersticker with a waving stars-and-stripes pattern on it.)
posted by gimonca at 11:15 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


hey ho, propped-up joe
lower your expectations and away we go! :P
posted by kliuless at 11:19 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Once Biden, twice shy?
posted by snofoam at 11:22 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Via Axios: Based on the Dem caucus meeting Tuesday morning, and comments from legislators on Monday night, the Congressional revolt appears to be crumbling...
Scoop: Biden rebels in Congress see their revolt crumbling

Democrats' full caucus meeting was far less unanimous, with lawmakers both defending Biden and airing concerns about his ability to take on former President Trump, attendees told Axios.

...One House Democrat who was in both meetings said: "Most of our caucus is still with him ... meaning he'll stay in. Which sucks for our country."

..."Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point. He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)."

Biden enjoyed his first sustained show of support on Capitol Hill on Monday, with dozens of House and Senate Democrats saying publicly they support him staying on the ticket.

...On Monday evening, Biden joined a call with Congressional Black Caucus members, his strongest base of support on Capitol Hill, to cement their backing.

...Late Monday night, a House Democrat who is deeply skeptical of Biden acknowledged to Axios that Democrats were "folding all over the place" and "becoming resigned to Biden holding all the cards here, and us having no real say in the matter. As someone who wanted the reckoning and is really disappointed that it's over, trust me: it's over," the lawmaker added.
posted by darkstar at 11:23 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


"becoming resigned to Biden holding all the cards here, and us having no real say in the matter"

Sounds like a healthy process that definitely doesn't favor the doddering incumbent!
posted by sagc at 11:30 AM on July 9 [17 favorites]


Better things aren't possible!
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:31 AM on July 9 [10 favorites]


Emerson Poll just dropped:
The latest Emerson College Polling survey finds former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden in a national matchup, 46% to 43%; 11% are undecided.

When undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean toward, 50% support Trump and 50% support Biden.
posted by darkstar at 11:33 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


America, Biden Its Time Till 2028
posted by mittens at 11:41 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


More from that Emerson poll...
A series of prominent Democrats were tested in a head-to-head ballot against Donald Trump:

Vice President Kamala Harris: 49% Trump, 43% Harris, 8% undecided

Senator Bernie Sanders: 48% Trump, 42% Sanders, 10% undecided

California Governor Gavin Newsom: 48% Trump, 40% Newsom, 12% undecided

Former Vice President Al Gore: 47% Trump, 42% Gore, 11% undecided

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 48% Trump, 41% Clinton, 11% undecided

Senator Elizabeth Warren: 49% Trump, 39% Warren, 13% undecided

Secretary of State Pete Buttigieg: 49% Trump, 39% Buttigieg, 12% undecided

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro: 46% Trump, 38% Shapiro, 16% undecided

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer: 48% Trump, 38% Whitmer, 15% undecided
Noting that no one in the polled match-up is as good or better than Biden, and many that have been proposed to replace Biden perform significantly worse than he does.
posted by darkstar at 11:54 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


no one in the polled match-up is as good or better than Biden

(To clarify: Harris shows the same 43% against Trump that Biden does, but is weighed against a larger Trump percentage, with fewer undecided.)
posted by darkstar at 12:00 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Are they going to poll Trump against Rachel Maddow, Patton Oswalt and Oscar the Grouch, too? Yeesh.
posted by delfin at 12:02 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Public opinion can shift when something significant happens. Every one of those candidates has a higher polling ceiling than their current numbers once they're given the runway to show themselves to the public as a candidate and make a case for why they are a better option than Trump.

Does Biden?
posted by Gadarene at 12:03 PM on July 9 [14 favorites]


Who are you preaching to here with a copy paste of polling data?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:05 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Preemptively setting themselves up to be able to blame people who weren't sufficiently worshipful of Biden, is my theory.

The thesis seems to be that a) Biden is losing, b) Change is impossible, and c) Biden will win. Now, evidence seems to point to the first two, but the actual path to point c) where Biden outperforms polling is... a tad foggy.
posted by sagc at 12:10 PM on July 9 [10 favorites]


Who are you preaching to here with a copy paste of polling data?


I appreciate that the polling data in question does not align with some folks' preconceptions (or preferences), and any poll can be inaccurate, but it's my general view that more polling information, particularly when it can be quantified beyond someone's strongly held opinion, is helpful to elucidate the reality of our present situation.

That aside, given the extraordinary amount of proselytizing that self-identified Leftists have been doing in this thread, backed up by whatever polling data they can find to support their positions, this question is...breathtaking.
posted by darkstar at 12:19 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


LOL. People have actually checked if the Parkinson's Dr that visited the White House as referenced by The Guardian and NY Times coincide with dates Biden was at the White House. They don't, for the most part.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:19 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


a) Biden is losing, b) Change is impossible, and c) Biden will win

So that's why I can't now find several pairs of underpants that I would swear were there in the drawer just last week!
posted by flabdablet at 12:19 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


There is a scenario where this might actually end up working to Biden's benefit. This has been a wall to wall shitstorm in July, not October. The Republicans got this gift too early, it's news now but will it still be news in October, it might be old news. He's going to blame the attacks on his cognitive ability as just the attempt by the elites at the New York Times and in Congress to bully him out of the race, because they don't like his progressive policies that help unions, working people, students, etc. He'll point to the deals he's negotiated and his accomplishments while in office. Then they will raise the issue of fairness -- that Biden may have stumbled over a few words, but Donald Trump spent the entire debate lying and then the week afterwards lying around in Mar A Lago with his rich pals, while Biden was out there campaigning, hosting a NATO summit, etc. There is always this ping pong back and forth in the media as they seem to alternate which candidate they are going to focus on for a week or two, and then inevitably they switch to the other side. There is an incentive to keep the race close, because if there is a blowout the candidates are going to spend a lot less on advertising, and that's how the media pays its bills.
I'm reminded of the famous scene in the World According to Garp, perhaps instead of thinking of Biden as broken, just considered him pre-disastered.
posted by interogative mood at 12:21 PM on July 9 [8 favorites]


He's going to blame the attacks on his cognitive ability as just the attempt by the elites at the New York Times and in Congress to bully him out of the race, because they don't like his progressive policies that help unions, working people, students, etc.

I mean, he's already saying that, but it's obviously hogwash to everyone except Biden diehards.
posted by coffeecat at 12:46 PM on July 9 [12 favorites]


we already knew we had one ride-or-die cult, but apparently we have two?

Seems like the real accerlationists were the center all along.

Ok lemmings, you heard the boss mumble jump, time to dive.
posted by No Climate - No Food, No Food - No Future. at 1:06 PM on July 9 [10 favorites]


The Top 10 reasons Joe Biden should (and shouldn’t) step aside

Steve Benen from MSNBC argues both sides of the Biden issue.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 1:17 PM on July 9


Also, does it matter if a majority of Democratic voters polled think that Biden should step aside and let someone else be the candidate? Hypothetically.
posted by Gadarene at 1:18 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Noting that no one in the polled match-up is as good or better than Biden, and many that have been proposed to replace Biden perform significantly worse than he does.

This unfortunately doesn't surprise me. I've felt all year like the tide is overwhelmingly going for Trump (especially the way the news is going, especially the fucking NYT) and that literally nothing can stop him, and everything is going his way. Like it doesn't even matter who the Democrats put up against him, the odds are ever in his favor. It's hard for me to get worked up over Biden's issues when nobody can trump Trump. Nothing Trump does is bad enough to not vote for him, but oh, if Biden fumbles, OMGOMGOMG.

The real issue to me isn't what candidate you put up against him so much as that now literally the entire system is gamed to let him win.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:21 PM on July 9 [11 favorites]


What is the evidence that Donald Trump is fated to win this race, or that everything is going his way? He's an extremely unpopular candidate who lost his last race, he's probably already hit his ceiling with voters, his party has cratered in every electoral outcome since the Roe decision, he's been convicted of 34 felonies AND separately found liable for rape, and until a week ago he was basically in a margin-of-error tie with Joe Biden despite the fact that everyone is feeling inflation, etc. He's also running against a party with a much more popular agenda.

I don't mean to dismiss that, say, SCOTUS is working on his behalf, or Democrats have a hard time messaging with swing voters. But until a week ago I would have thought the biggest threat was the preponderance of third party candidates. Now it's that, plus a flagging Dem candidate who is on display in front of the nation as unable to run for or hold office.

I don't know why, but I always find myself on this hobby horse. Probably it is the leftist in me. "It doesn't even matter who the Democrats put up against him, the odds are ever in his favor" is essentially a politics of non-politics which is borne out of all of our trauma from Trump winning in 2016. But the job here is to get up around 52% or 53% in national polling and make sure you sell the shit out of your candidacy in PA, GA, AZ, and NM. The Trump on display right now--in the debate, in rallies, etc.--is beatable in those places. It's just that Joe ain't the guy to do this job anymore.
posted by kensington314 at 1:59 PM on July 9 [13 favorites]


Well, the Liberals have gotten what they wanted.

I hope it works.

If it doesn't though, just KNOW they're going to instantly blame that dastardly left for Biden's failure. Liberals can never fail because they can always blame it on the left.

Well, fuck that shit. If (god forbid) Trum wins, this is 100% on the Liberals and if somehow democracy survives the best efforts of Trump to destroy it we must never let them forget that it was their own hubris that brought us Trump 2.

And having said all that... I agree with jenfullmoon. There's been this feeling of inevitability around Trump in 2024 since mid 2023. Nothing ever seems to stick, nothing ever hurts him, his hand picked judges somehow "randomly" get picked for most of his cases. He's openly using Nazi phrases.

Shit, even the goddamn phone call between him and Epstein talking about how much they love to rape children didn't hurt him.

Mind you, I can't help but notice the Democrats seem strangely reluctant to engage on any of that. Where's the mud slinging and flood of negative ads?

"Donald Trump visited Epstein's rape island X times in just Y years. Donald Trump was recorded talking to Epstein about sex with underage girls. Don't let a pedophile win, vote against Trump."

Or heck, start with a listing of all the right wing pedos who have been convicted, the ages of thier victims, and their prison sentence, then show Trump with some question marks for age and sentence.

"Donald Trump stole millions meant for X from his so called charity. Can you trust a thief and con artist to be President?"

I mean this in the best possible faith here Liberals, attacking Trump is literally all you have. You can't run on Biden, dude is a lead weight. You need relentless attack ads that never even say Joe Biden's name.

I mean, come on, where's all the fucking dark money rolling in to Liberal front organizations to weaponize Citizens United against Trump with the absolute most vile attack ads that can be conjured up.

Run pix of all Trump's wives and have a scary voice over reading the dates he cheated on them. Then run Trump saying his "and Russia if you're listening" shit and end with "Donald Trump has cheated on every woman he's been with. Now he wants to cheat on America."

You guys aren't going to sell anyone on Biden being awesome. Just give that up. All you have is relentless, ceaseless, endless, attack ads and mud slinging so where are all the fucking ads?
posted by sotonohito at 2:02 PM on July 9 [14 favorites]


What is the evidence that Donald Trump is fated to win this race, or that everything is going his way? He's an extremely unpopular candidate who lost his last race, he's probably already hit his ceiling with voters, his party has cratered in every electoral outcome since the Roe decision, he's been convicted of 34 felonies AND separately found liable for rape, and until a week ago he was basically in a margin-of-error tie with Joe Biden despite the fact that everyone is feeling inflation, etc. He's also running against a party with a much more popular agenda.

***

The Trump on display right now--in the debate, in rallies, etc.--is beatable in those places. It's just that Joe ain't the guy to do this job anymore.


Bingo. Trump is an awful, awful candidate. It's hard not to conclude that the only reason he's polling so well right now is that Biden is too.

(Edit: and so is his campaign, as sotonohito aptly demonstrates)
posted by Gadarene at 2:04 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Democrats have had 8 years to come up with something, anything, and here we are with a choice to vote for an old incoherent lame duck being bossed around by his crackhead failson or Donald Trump.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:05 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Try another angle here too:

Run photos of Russian missile blowing up Ukraninan houses. Silent scroll of the death toll, ending with the number of dead children.

Voice over is all the times Trump said Russia was great or awesome, and if there's audio of him saying it's Ukraine's fault or that Ukraine should surrender run that too.

End text: "Donald Trump, Russia's favorite candidate"

for extra bonus points, show dead kids or dismembered Ukranian bodies. Yes, I'm going there. Yes, the Democrats should too, or at least their "unaffiliated" dark money ad groups should be. It's tasteless and exploitative and do you want to win or not?
posted by sotonohito at 2:09 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


The Supreme Court is asking for some bold and vigorous (and criminally dubious) Presidential action. Let the damaging leaks begin!
posted by mazola at 2:12 PM on July 9


jenfullmoon's post above attributes a Trump win in part to NYT coverage, and I've read a similar sentiment elsewhere in this thread. Can folks offer an explanation of what that means? Like is the NYT out here running stories about how Joe Biden sucks and Donald Trump is a strong and vigorous god man?

I ask the question sardonically, but genuinely. I stopped reading the NYT ten years ago and so I don't have a day-to-day or week-to-week handle on their coverage, and when someone sends me an article it is behind a paywall. I gather from following MetaFilter that they have a harmful "just asking questions" approach to trans coverage, but otherwise I am entirely NYT out of touch. My engagement with NYT at this point is occasionally looking at a Jamelle Bouie IG post or listening to an episode of the Daily or Ezra Klein once in a blue moon. So, pretty minimal.
posted by kensington314 at 2:30 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Biden about to give a big speech at the NATO conference. I think the press conference is later in the week.
posted by interogative mood at 2:30 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Jens Stoltenberg provides baseline normal boring speech.
posted by mazola at 2:38 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Okay, Biden is giving a good speech at NATO. Telepromptered, sure, but it’s vigorous.

Also very moving with the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Stoltenberg, and a great way to close.
posted by darkstar at 3:02 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I dig NATO's house band
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:10 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Yeah! In normal times it would be just another Presidential speech and no-one would blink.
posted by mazola at 3:10 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Actually, I was thinking from a non-right wing perspective for most of those. You need ads that attack him on things the right wing base cares about. That's not quite as easy, since they love most of his evil actions, but there's stuff to work with here.

Approach 1: attack his business sense.

"Donald Trump is so bad with money he made a casino go bankrupt! He had to call his daddy and beg for money to keep it open. America can't afford a loser President."

Put out ads about all his business failures and end them with "How do you make a small fortune? Give Trump a large fortune and wait."

Whatever. Hit his supposed business genius.

"Donald Trump claims to be a billiionaire, but he's never once proved it. Can America afford a loser?"

Option 2:

Attack his manhood and by that I mean strongly imply he has a small penis without ever QUITE saying so openly.

Run an ad flicking through the women who divorced him with Stormy Daniels doing voice over about how bad he was in bed. "Donald Trump, do you think he's always lying to make up for being a little small?"

Run an ad showing Trump's 10,000 foot penthouse and talking about how he kept saying it was 30,000 feet. "I guess after a lifetime of telling women that one inch is seven inches he's bad at judging size. America need a President who measures up."

Run his audio from 9/11 about after the twin towers were toppled his building was the biggest in NYC. "Even when Americans are dying, little Donald can't stop lying about having the longest... 'building'."

Run an ad about his hands being tiny. "With 'hands' that small no wonder Marla Malples left him."

Make fun of his height. There are dozens of pix of Trump in platform shoes, show those zoomed in and with lines showing how much height he added. "It looks like small Don always says he's a couple inches bigger than he really is."

Option 3: make him out to be a coward. Which is easy since he is.

Show an ad with lots of elderly Vietnam vets and where they were deployed. Show the ugliest, most awful, photo you can find of Trump with the word "his daddy helped him hide while real men fought". The voice over should be Trump talking about soldiers being losers.

Show an ad with Trump's voice over about how when he saw the old guy hit his head and started bleeding he ran away. "It's Commander in Chief little donnie not Cowad in Chef"

Show an ad opening with slow sad music and long lingering shots of the Vietnam memorial and Arlington cemetery. Voice over is Trump talking about how soldiers who get killed are losers. No need for anything else.

His base doesn't care if he's a Nazi, they probably think raping tweenage girls is proof he's manly, they don't give a shit if he ony pretends to be Christian. But they'll care if he looks like a wimp.

Find every picture or video clip you can of Trump flinching or looking frightened and run it with a laugh track. "America can't afford to be laughed at."

Etc etc. Hit him where the Right cares not where we'd care. Smear. Insinuate he's a tiny dick pedophile coward as much as you can without quite stepping over the line into actual lible or slander.

The right doesn't care about what we do, but they care deeply about stuff we don't. Find that, hammer it.

And they won't. Becuse I swear they want to lose.
posted by sotonohito at 3:12 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


there's no attack that works on Trump or Trumpers. The medium is the message with him.
posted by torokunai at 3:30 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


The NYT has a grudge against Biden these days. I definitely feel like they have more of a critical eye going on with him than with Trump. There is an overall vibe of how Trump is going to be the winner even as they admit (like, today) that he is unfit to hold the office. I don't have NYT access where I am right now to be able to cite things officially this second, but if you look at the headlines from day to day, and especially whatever editorial stuff is going on, it's generally crapping on Biden and only somewhat crapping on Trump, and some days it's more supportive of Trump, and I think there's some articles about what happens if/when he returns to power...I mean, they come off pretty pro-Trump and even before this incident every single poll result I see is Trump being ahead, like again, feels like all year. I don't pay for access to the thing (and wouldn't, I'm still mooching my free access until it's shut off), but it's fairly well infuriating to see the right wing leanings everywhere.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:32 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


How about ads with his crazy shit as president and ask if you want more?

On his first day in office, Trump lied about the crowd size at his inauguration. Then he lied to us thousands of times. Four more years?

Trump knew covid was deadly and lied about it. Tens of thousands died. Four more years?

And so on.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:33 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


There's been this feeling of inevitability around Trump in 2024 since mid 2023. Nothing ever seems to stick, nothing ever hurts him, his hand picked judges somehow "randomly" get picked for most of his cases.

Yeah, and at the rate we are going, his conviction will be overturned because he's immune forever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:34 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


>Like is the NYT out here running stories about how Joe Biden sucks and Donald Trump is a strong and vigorous god man?

July 4, 2024: Why I Won’t Vote (it's as thumb-sucking as it sounds)
posted by torokunai at 3:35 PM on July 9


Also I think negative ads should be calm serious women talking instead of the spooky boogie man ads.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:35 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I love this point from Twitter:

Added benefit to Biden dropping out right before the RNC. Think of how many speeches and vids are being produced right now attacking him. All the scripts would have to be tossed out. It’d be a disaster for the GOP lol.

They're not wrong.

.
posted by Gadarene at 3:45 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]




Ok jenfullmoon, but the article you link to doesn't suggest that the NYTimes is unfair to Biden or that they are pro-Trump - it's main thesis is, as the title says, that there is a "petty feud" between both sides.

some days it's more supportive of Trump

I'm genuinely curious how you get that opinion - really, this is a genuine question. I don't think I've seen a single positive story about Trump in the NYTimes. Even their conservative pundits are on record saying they don't want Trump elected. Their recent coverage connected to Trump has been on all of his legal woes, Project 2025, and some of the more wild things he's said during campaigning. None of it positive coverage. (Unless you count them reporting on how Trump forced the GOP platform to go softer on abortion to be positive? But reporting on the fact that Trump is trying to moderate his image is not being pro-Trump, it's just reporting what he is, indeed, doing.)

I mean, they come off pretty pro-Trump and even before this incident every single poll result I see is Trump being ahead

Do you mean that you think their coverage is causing Trump to win in the polls? (Again, only 20% of Americans read any newspaper on a daily basis) Or are you suggesting you think they are rigging the their poll in favor of Trump? (Again, genuine question - I do want to better understand where people who think like you are coming from)

Anyway, from the article you linked to, this the quote that stood out to me:

For many Times veterans, such actions suggest that the Trump era has warped many Democrats’ expectations of journalists.

“They’re not being realistic about what we do for a living,” Bumiller told me. “You can be a force for democracy, liberal democracy. You don’t have to be a force for the Biden White House.”


The NYTimes is not a partisan source of news. For that you have FOX or MSNBC. Also maybe worth remembering that they got flak for not reporting on Hunter Biden until after the 2020 election, when evidence came out that they temporarily killed that story since it was deemed too risky until after people voted. But they aren't in the business of producing state propaganda for the Democrats - and it's kinda alarming to me to see how many people seem to think that means they are pro-Trump.
posted by coffeecat at 4:10 PM on July 9 [8 favorites]


I love this point from Twitter:

Added benefit to Biden dropping out right before the RNC. Think of how many speeches and vids are being produced right now attacking him. All the scripts would have to be tossed out. It’d be a disaster for the GOP lol.

They're not wrong.


It would *not* be a disaster for the GOP. It's exactly what they want.

Biden is the candidate.
posted by azpenguin at 4:13 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


The NYTimes is meant for an audience who actually read the articles, not look at how negative the headlines seem compared to other papers. Typically, that audience is white-collar college-educated, somewhat classist elitist in a helpless manner, to be fair.
posted by polymodus at 4:14 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Annoyingly, I can't go find NYT articles right now that put those impressions into my brain. I'll see if I can find the time later, but my nights are occupied this week. Mostly I was just surprised by the whole petty feud thing and can't help but suspect that might influence the articles.

Do you mean that you think their coverage is causing Trump to win in the polls? (Again, only 20% of Americans read any newspaper on a daily basis) Or are you suggesting you think they are rigging the their poll in favor of Trump? (Again, genuine question - I do want to better understand where people who think like you are coming from)

Neither, I just see predictions saying he's winning over and over again. This was going on before the debates, so Biden losing in the polls isn't a fresh new thing, was the point I was attempting to make.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:16 PM on July 9


for extra bonus points, show dead kids or dismembered Ukranian bodies. Yes, I'm going there. Yes, the Democrats should too, or at least their "unaffiliated" dark money ad groups should be. It's tasteless and exploitative and do you want to win or not?

I actually think that Biden has mostly neutralized that line of attack by ignoring the horrors in Gaza and continuously supplying weapons to a genocidal regime. Maybe it will work, and I think they should try it. But Biden can't really claim to be the anti-mass murder candidate. And for Palestinian and Muslim voters, it is a clear reminder of whose lives matter to the president.

Democrats have had 8 years to come up with something, anything, and here we are with a choice to vote for an old incoherent lame duck being bossed around by his crackhead failson or Donald Trump.

I don't give a damn about Hunter Biden, but the idea of a "crackhead" is really racist and classist. He's just a rich weirdo with their typical fixations on drugs, sex, and guns and their typical inability to handle them responsibly. Crack is cheap and so it winds up being the drug of choice for people who have fallen through the cracks. But the fact that Biden smokes it shouldn't reflect badly on other crack users.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 4:17 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


It would *not* be a disaster for the GOP. It's exactly what they want.

What is exactly what they want? To have to scuttle all of their speeches and prepared videos at the last minute because they're attacking someone who is no longer the nominee?
posted by Gadarene at 4:17 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


What is exactly what they want? To have to scuttle all of their speeches and prepared videos at the last minute because they're attacking someone who is no longer the nominee?

They want Biden out. They want to go peacocking to the press “see? See? We told you so!” and then they’re going to switch names in their attack speeches and ads like nothing happened. It would just validate all of their attacks and they’ll just turn it up even louder. If you think for a fucking second that they’re not going to run the biggest damn campaign victory lap ever over this, you’re nuts. Their attacks DO NOT CHANGE. Their attacks are rarely rooted in reality. And who would you have replace Biden? Challenge: you need a candidate that can beat Trump. The recent Emerson poll, if you want to believe that one, means you’re going to have a hard time with that. Wanna run a progressive firebrand? You’ll lose by triple digit EVs. Keep wish casting if you want, but right now replacing Biden is just a fantasy. I’d love a more progressive candidate, sure - if they had a chance to win. But I choose to deal with the world as it is.
posted by azpenguin at 4:54 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


This has been a wall to wall shitstorm in July, not October.
But there's another debate in September.
posted by NotLost at 4:55 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]




What evidence is there, genuinely, that the GOP would like Biden to drop out of the race?
posted by Gadarene at 5:08 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Expectations for the debate in September will be incredibly low. It might be easy for him to over perform there. Everyone loves a good comeback story.
posted by interogative mood at 5:11 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I'm thrilled Kamala Harris polls better than Hillary Clinton, so thanks darkstar, also your other informative links. After all Clinton created Trump.

Republican candidates have become worse almost monotonically since Eisenhower. Afaik the only exceptions were George Bush v1 having less diverse corruption than Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford being incomparable to Richard Nixon. It's all down hill since 1953 otherwise!

Yes of course, Trump could select a relative boyscout now, win and die, but..

We'll more likely be declaring Trump less bad than the current guy before 2030 folks, so the fun quesiton becomes: How do the Republicans pick worse? America has many experts at running coups. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 5:24 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


Neither, I just see predictions saying he's winning over and over again. This was going on before the debates, so Biden losing in the polls isn't a fresh new thing, was the point I was attempting to make.

Ah ok, thanks for clarifying. In recent days when his polling has come up as news (in the NYTimes and elsewhere), it's because of the following:

-Biden lied in the ABC interview that the polls had him down before the 2020 election too - this is patently false, they had him with a clear lead.
-The whole argument for Biden in 2020 was "he's electable" but now, with his polls and approval ratings at depths that rarely if ever produce a winner, it's reasonable to ask, "why is the parting rallying around this guy?"

Thanks for the links - I saw them right after I hit "post." I looked at most of the recent ones, except the Atlantic (going to save my limited articles).

The New York Times is facing backlash over its coverage of Donald Trump and the 2024 election (CNN)
This is a somewhat click-bait-y headline. The actual article notes some criticism touches on a problem not unique to the NYTimes - i.e. that the lesson the media on the whole seemed to take away from the 2016 election was "giving Trump attention makes him stronger so we should just ignore him and pretend he doesn't exist" rather than "just letting Trump get uncritical airtime is bad, but we should still inform the public of what he does as a political figure." I certainly share this criticism of the media - but again, it's not unique to the Times, and I don't think it was done out of a desire to help Trump - rather, it was a misguided understanding of what would hurt him.

Even the article writes: "Moreover, some of the more well-founded criticism against The Times has been misguided. For instance, when complaining about the poll The Times conducted with Siena College, some critics skewered the paper’s sample size of 980 registered voters, ironically echoing complaints that Trump and his supporters have previously made against political polls. But as Harry Enten, CNN’s senior data reporter said such a sample size is “well within the norm” for a scientific poll. And The Times/Siena College poll, as Enten put it, is “one of the best in the business.”

The one thing it does leave open is whether the Times should have polled voters on whether they felt like Joe Biden was too old to be president. But given voters have been voicing concerning about his age since 2019, and that his campaign hinted he'd be a one-term president, it seems...I dunno, not exactly a scandalous thing to do.

There is something wrong at the New York Times (Salon.com)
Ok, this one is really angry about the Times poll asking if Biden is too old. I'll admit I had a hard time taking this one seriously once the author complained that "How did the New York Times come up with a polling sample that included 36 percent rural voters when the 2020 proportion of rural voters was 19 percent?" I'm not a pollster, but even I understand that polling samples never match the population and that this is normal - it's why polls weight their polling sample to adjust that - so yeah, this guy seems angry about something he doesn't understand.

OPINION: Is The New York Times pro-Trump and anti-Biden? Recent coverage raises some serious questions. (WCPT820 RADIO)
Sorry, but this is a silly article - the whole argument that the NYTimes is anti-Biden is that they didn't cover the Democratic primaries as much as the GOP primaries. But it misses the fact that the GOP primaries were at least competitive with debates, whereas the DNC set things up for Biden to easily win and discouraged competition and did not hold debates. So, apples to oranges.

How the Real Mainstream Media Bias Favors Donald Trump (The New Republic)
Again, I had a hard time taking this author seriously since they start out writing:
Watching and reading American media, a certain bias becomes immediately evident. Stories proliferate about pundits and a handful of Democrats calling for President Biden to drop out of the race, but they are almost never “balanced” by pointing out the massively larger number of Republicans (many now “former” or “never Trump” Republicans, but Republicans nonetheless) who are calling for Trump to drop out or be defeated.

I mean, I wish as many Republican politicians ever called for Trump to step down as the nominee as have Democratic politicians called for Biden to step down in the last week, but that's just not true. And then the author goes on to claim that "virtually all of the calls for Biden to step aside have come from the media," which is pretty absurd given that a plurality of Democratic voters want him to step aside.

Anyway, this comment is now absurdly long - I do appreciate the links though, they've helped me see how this line of thinking has been developing over recent months.
posted by coffeecat at 5:33 PM on July 9 [12 favorites]


What is exactly what they want? To have to scuttle all of their speeches and prepared videos at the last minute because they're attacking someone who is no longer the nominee?

That's what they refer to as a "success problem."
posted by mph at 5:52 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


They want to go peacocking to the press “see? See? We told you so!”

Nothing is stopping them from doing that right now. It is in fact obvious that they were, however accidentally, correct.

The question is whether the Democrats will engage with reality or deny it to avoid agreeing with a Republican talking point. Terrifyingly, it appears they will do the latter.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:54 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


OPINION: Is The New York Times pro-Trump and anti-Biden? Recent coverage raises some serious questions. (WCPT820 RADIO)
Sorry, but this is a silly article - the whole argument that the NYTimes is anti-Biden is that they didn't cover the Democratic primaries as much as the GOP primaries.


It does speak to a certain persistent Trump advantage in that he is good at making making news work for him. This year his narrative is “can controversial ex-President Donald Trump come back??” But yes, treating it as big news that the incumbent and presumptive nominee won in a landslide over - Marianne Williamson? was she on the ballot? - would be ludicrous. That is not the solution to this problem.
posted by atoxyl at 6:33 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Marianne Williamson? was she on the ballot?

Orb Mom got my primary-protest-vote, and I’ve gotta admit it felt great.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 6:38 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


In today’s NATO speech, Biden surprised me a little with a very pointed, direct and explicit defiance against Putin and allowing him to win in the invasion of Ukraine.

Which explains (via X/WSJ):
The Russian government has launched a “whole-of-government” effort to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and favors Republican candidate Donald Trump in the race, senior U.S. intelligence officials said https://on.wsj.com/3xQyRJN
And NBC
Russia aims to undermine Biden in November election, intel officials say

Previous U.S. intelligence assessments dating to 2016 concluded that Russia sought to weaken support for the Democratic Party and boost Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Russia’s efforts to influence this year’s U.S. election through information warfare have the same aim as in previous elections — to undermine President Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic Party and weaken public confidence in the electoral process, intelligence officials said Tuesday.

posted by darkstar at 6:38 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


... the idea of a "crackhead" is really racist and classist.

This is a fair point. I've taken DEI training so I can see how this fits into a larger racist structure. It's also out-of-date since crack isn't a drug people are worried about now.

Also, please never ever say something like this when talking to an undecided voter. This is the most "woke" shit ever. Crackheads have a very bad reputation everywhere, and nobody will rush to defend crackheads. The convicted felon former crack addict son of the president regularly attending meetings at the White House isn't a good look.
posted by netowl at 6:48 PM on July 9


Also, please never ever say something like this when talking to an undecided voter. This is the most "woke" shit ever.

The only people I spend much time trying to get to vote for Democrats are anarchists and communists who wouldn't vote for either candidate on principle. But also fuck people who are shitty to drug users.

The convicted felon former crack addict son of the president regularly attending meetings at the White House isn't a good look.

Biden's kindness to and support for his kids is about the only thing I respect about him.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:58 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


right now replacing Biden is just a fantasy. I’d love a more progressive candidate, sure - if they had a chance to win.

I don't think anyone in this specific moment is really pushing for "a more progressive candidate." Truly, message received loud and clear, Democrats will never put a better world on the menu. People across the spectrum are just scared of Trump and genuinely do not see any path to victory with Joe Biden. The public will absorb a hell of a lot of spin but it's really hard to get people to believe that someone who appears mentally incompetent and physically towards the end of his life can win a challenging election that has been hyped up as the most important of all time, and then survive four more years.
posted by dusty potato at 7:02 PM on July 9 [15 favorites]


But also fuck people who are shitty to drug users.

Yes, that makes sense. I was re-reading myself and realizing it came off like a MAGA screed, especially with the "woke" part. I was way over-torqued when I said "never ever" and "woke". My point was that I'd like people to be careful because crack left a scar on communities.
posted by netowl at 7:06 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


"If they had a chance to win"

This is what is so incredibly fucked up. That so much of the voting public has bought into the right-wing media-sphere and buys all of these lies. People who are willing to vote for people who will actually harm them, seems to be a thing.

The ideals of the USA are so great overall, and yet here we are with late-stage capitalism and fascism running the show...
posted by Windopaene at 7:13 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone in this specific moment is really pushing for "a more progressive candidate."

Yep, I have all manner of problems with Kamala Harris, starting with the fact that she doesn't appear to believe strongly in very much at all except what plays well with donors (although she is apparently materially better than Biden on Palestine, low bar that it is), and she is nowhere near my vision of an ideal candidate or an ideal president, but she is sooooo much better equipped to meet the moment, and sooooo much more likely to make up the ground in battleground states, than Biden, and that's what's important right now. Stopping Trump is important right now. Nothing else.
posted by Gadarene at 7:25 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


...but it's really hard to get people to believe that someone who appears mentally incompetent and physically towards the end of his life can win a challenging election that has been hyped up as the most important of all time, and then survive four more years.

While I don't wish an ill fate upon him... who says that Biden has to survive four more years in office?

If he makes it to, let's say, three weeks after his second inauguration as POTUS and then decides to tag in Harris and resign, for instance, we're where Biden's detractors want us to be -- with Biden retiring to Delaware, a younger, healthier Democratic POTUS, and a less frenzied casting call for her new Veep.

Whether he can _win_ by any means is, of course, the big question. But voting for a Biden/Harris ticket isn't voting JUST for Biden.
posted by delfin at 7:29 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


who says that Biden has to survive four more years in office If he makes it to, let's say, three weeks after his second inauguration as POTUS and then decides to tag in Harris and resign

How does this narrative convince undecided voters to turn out for Biden in swing states? Is this going to be a campaign ad? Maybe for dramatic effect, it could just show Biden collapsing the moment after being sworn in and then Harris can step over his body and put her hand on the Bible.
posted by snofoam at 7:46 PM on July 9 [13 favorites]


George Stephanopoulos asked him (Biden if he had watched the debate) and he said, “I don’t think so, no.”

But that wasn't pursued. The rest of my comment was that Biden "should be asked if and how watching that performance does or should inform his decisions. And how he expects his debate performance to inform decisions of the voters."
posted by NotLost at 7:48 PM on July 9


This is what is so incredibly fucked up. That so much of the voting public has bought into the right-wing media-sphere and buys all of these lies. People who are willing to vote for people who will actually harm them, seems to be a thing.

Which is something I fully agree with. One of the problems we have is that we’re reaping the rewards of decades of voter apathy. A lot of people are easily convinced to vote Republican without looking further to see the harm. I mean hey, GWB is someone you’d like to have a beer with, golly. Reagan sure can speak, can’t he! Hey, Trump can’t be any worse than Clinton, can he? Etc. This has resulted in the Overton Window being nudged to the right ever so slowly for decades. When it comes to Democrats, liberal voters stayed home because “they didn’t give us anything to vote for.” Then a few years later everything is on fire and people vote Dem because putting the fire out is something they can’t wait to vote for. Republicans on the other hand always show up and vote. When things are going well people hand they keys back to republicans and the window moves a little more to the right. When the Dems get the keys back they’re so busy putting out fires that they don’t get to move the window back where it was, let alone further left. This is why a strong progressive would have a near impossible time winning the presidency right now. Sure, there’s a portion of the base that would be ready to vote for Bernie or Warren, but the persuadables who swing elections, the ones who don’t pay attention the way a lot of us watch politics? It’s a bridge too far for them right now. I’ve been hoping that window will move left for my entire adult life.
posted by azpenguin at 7:48 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Better late than never -- I am going to write to my congressional delegation and governor, who are all Dems, and tell them I think they should work to convince Biden to drop out.
posted by NotLost at 7:49 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


From earlier this eve:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on President Biden: "I am fully behind him as our nominee until he's not our nominee."

And Pelosi, when asked if in the halls of Congress whether she thought Biden was the best option: "I’m not making any statement right now here in the hall. When I’m ready to make a statement I will."

So yeah, the damn might not have broken yet, but it's not clearly holding either. Meanwhile, Trump at a rally in Florida challenged Biden to a debate rematch next week, as well as a golf game.
posted by coffeecat at 8:22 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Good god. Trump tonight - with teleprompters - going off in an incoherent rant about executing drug dealers so mothers would not sit in the hospitals with their babies dying in their arms screaming “oh god what can I do” and immediately switches into a rant on airports and wait times. And the whole thing was in a monotone, it sounded like someone who had taken too much Benadryl. Twitter link for those curious

But gee Biden is the one who should drop out?
posted by azpenguin at 8:40 PM on July 9 [10 favorites]


buttery males, bud is health? hmm. can't quite make it work
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 9:45 PM on July 9


the whole thing was in a monotone, it sounded like someone who had taken too much Benadryl

With that background of generic tear-jerker movie music behind it, it sounded more like preaching to me. I don't think that's cognitive decline, I think that's deliberate technique.

The words don't matter at all to TFG's crowd, except insofar as the random list of grievances he always spouts are scattershot enough that at least one will hit home to everybody in it; that having happened, the rest is all about the singsong, hypnotic tone of voice. And what that tone says, boosted by the film score, is: I know how hard things are for you, I feel your pain, and I will take care of you.

Those rallies are not about politics because most people don't care about politics. What they are is theatre, and TFG has spent his whole life honing his theatrical chops. He's a fucking Disney Princess at this point.

Surely not, you say. Surely nobody could possibly fall for anything so blatantly cheesy and manipulative. To which the sad answer can only be: have you met a MAGA?
posted by flabdablet at 10:08 PM on July 9 [8 favorites]


But gee Biden is the one who should drop out?

I didn't realize anyone on MeFi thought Trump was fit for office. Of course he should drop out. And then apologize for all the terrible things he's said and done. And the Republican party should stare long and hard thinking about how they got to the point where the only guy speaking out about him was the sitting vice president, who they threatened to kill for his repulsion to ending American democracy.

The fact that none of these things seem possible is why we focus on changing the things we can still change.
posted by pwnguin at 10:55 PM on July 9 [17 favorites]


This is what is so incredibly fucked up. That so much of the voting public has bought into the right-wing media-sphere and buys all of these lies. People who are willing to vote for people who will actually harm them, seems to be a thing.

Agree so much. As an aging white male, i suspect little of Project 2025 agenda will harm me personally, though it will harm people i know and care for. But the biggest personal affront is what it says about the country that they're willing to elect a corrupt, convicted con man. (Yes, he'll loser the popular vote again, but the EC is the law of the land.)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:01 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


If Biden wins, shame on us for ever doubting him. If he loses, it's our fault for not voting harder. Also, never improve our lot enough or defeat the other party enough that we won't need to keep vote-hard voting into office the same class of aspiring power-seeking careerists every single election. If he isn't already, Machiavelli should be getting perpetual royalty payments from the Dems for this. Brilliant!
posted by zaixfeep at 1:29 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


As I read here and watch news reports -- I can't help but remember the tv series The West Wing where the president did not disclose a diagnosis of MS.

That had a bit of a fairy tale ending, IIRC, but it was an interesting reflection on the morality of an elected official lying to his party, staff and the American people.

One might see it as a cautionary tale.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 2:28 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


If he makes it to, let's say, three weeks after his second inauguration as POTUS and then decides to tag in Harris and resign, for instance, we're where Biden's detractors want us to be -- with Biden retiring to Delaware, a younger, healthier Democratic POTUS, and a less frenzied casting call for her new Veep.

both houses of congress must approve that new vice president - if no vp is approved, then the speaker of the house would be next in line

the opportunity for the republicans to obstruct and screw things up is obvious
posted by pyramid termite at 3:32 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


But gee Biden is the one who should drop out?

Yeah, because I want the Democrats to field a stronger candidate. A less openly deranged Republican would wipe the floor even more thoroughly with Biden, and destroy civil rights in the US while looking professional.

buttery males, bud is health? hmm. can't quite make it work

This comparison (not singling you out, a dozen or so people have made it) doesn't work. Clinton's emails were used as a call to vote for Trump, and had no actual validity as any kind of real issue. The response to Biden's health is from people who very much want the Democrats to win in November, and is an actual problem that would be genuinely disqualifying if there were any humane, sane alternative available.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 3:37 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


Clinton's emails were used as a call to vote for Trump, and had no actual validity as any kind of real issue. The response to Biden's health is from people who very much want the Democrats to win in November,
This is true but incomplete: that sentiment is being boosted and directed by various right-wing figures and media cynics like the NYT editor who’s been pushing it for months out of pique due to Biden not giving them an exclusive interview. That’s where the Clinton comparison is apt: remember how much time people spent talking about ethical problems, with the sole outcome being that we avoided the possibility of problems several orders of magnitude less than President Trump’s? It’s possible for you and everyone you know to be acting genuinely about a real concern and still unwittingly be used by people who are very good at identifying which things can be promoted into political weapons.
posted by adamsc at 4:55 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


You don't have to be Frank Luntz to know how to weaponize Biden's health.
posted by mittens at 5:00 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Does anyone know where there is a running tally of positions of individual congressional Dems on the Biden situation?
posted by NotLost at 5:56 AM on July 10


But gee Biden is the one who should drop out?

Biden has to feel like Michael Bolton in Office Space: “Why should I drop out? He’s the one who sucks!”

And totally agree that the health issue feels like an amplified wedge. It’s not fake but now it’s a political problem more than a personal or medical one (as Snyder outlines in second linked piece).

I hate that it seems like a successful attack vector but there you are. The good guys still have to deal with it.
posted by mazola at 6:00 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Honestly the “oh you criticize Biden but I don’t see you criticizing Trump” comments should be automatically deleted. Just a complete derail and totally inane.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:03 AM on July 10 [19 favorites]


I mean, I'd say the story of Clinton's emails is instructive of this moment as it illustrates that the downfall of candidates is often when they refuse to acknowledge or get in front of an issue. (Trump is, unfortunately, really good at this - he often does it with fabulation, yes, but he doesn't avoid talking about his weak areas). If the FBI investigates you, that's going to be a story. You can't just wave your hands and say "it's nothing" and expect people to automatically believe you. Likewise, Biden and his team knew that his age was going to be an issue (in part, thanks to polling by the NYTimes). Yet their whole approach has, frustratingly, just been to say "we're confident that when the voters compare Biden's record to Trump's record, they'll make the right choice - age isn't an issue." And well, we see where that strategy has gotten us....
posted by coffeecat at 6:05 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


I mean, I'd say the story of Clinton's emails is instructive of this moment as it illustrates that the downfall of candidates is often when they refuse to acknowledge or get in front of an issue.
The problem is, it's a double bind, because Trump et al. just make shit up, so half the time you're responding to nonsense which keeps you from getting your own message out.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:31 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I don’t think Biden is unelectable. As the election gets closer and choice is starker it will force primacy of issues and age might not be the most important one. I’m sure, like France, voters will come out in droves. Unlike France, the system is tilted in favour of the republicans via EC. It’s really uncertain who is best to carry the EC votes that hold the balance.
posted by mazola at 6:33 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


"Consider: A man manifestly unfit for office, driven by personal vanity and pride, encased in a camarilla of hackish cronies and depraved family members, who has cowed one of America’ great political parties into doing his personal bidding above their duty or even to preserve the party’s self-interest. A man who thinks he is indispensable." John Ganz's message today is eerie in its assessment. "This is not an adventitious thing. It’s systemic. The revolution has already taken place."
posted by mittens at 7:10 AM on July 10 [14 favorites]


It’s possible for you and everyone you know to be acting genuinely about a real concern and still unwittingly be used by people who are very good at identifying which things can be promoted into political weapons.

But even with a completely irrelevant albatross around her neck, Clinton lost. This is an actual problem that actually effects Biden's ability to canpaign and govern.

This time you have a chance not to run a fatallydamaged candidate.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:32 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Pelosi suggests that Biden should reconsider decision (NYT gift). The headline seems a bit overstated, here's the quote:
“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” she said. “We’re all encouraging him to to make that decision. Because time is running short.”

When pressed on whether she wanted him to seek re-election, Ms. Pelosi said: “I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides, we go with.”
posted by box at 7:46 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Via WaPo: Why progressives are backing Biden
…But members of the “Squad” emphatically backed the president in the wake of his shaky debate performance nearly two weeks ago.

“He’s been the best president of my lifetime, and we have his back,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said.

“The matter is closed,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told reporters yesterday. “He is in this race, and I support him.”

Other members of the far-left group, Reps. Greg Casar (D-Tex.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), are also backing Biden.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told us that Biden is one of the “more progressive” presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Biden has a multi-decade reputation as a moderate Democrat who enjoys making deals with Republicans, and progressives have hammered him in recent months over his handling of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Progressives had also been frustrated with Biden’s campaign messaging, grumbling that he hasn’t laid out a clear vision with concrete policy goals, including on issues of housing, child care and Medicare.

So why are they backing him now?

Despite their criticisms, many of them say Biden has been the most progressive president in generations. They point to his investment in infrastructure, his work to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs, an aggressive antitrust division at the Department of Justice and his willingness to appoint Lina Khan, a consumer advocate, to lead the Federal Trade Commission. They also champion acting labor secretary Julie Su, whom Biden has kept in place despite lacking the votes for Senate confirmation.

Sanders has gotten a lot accomplished under Biden and co-wrote an opinion piece with Biden last week calling on pharmaceutical companies to reduce the price of Ozempic and other prescription drugs.
posted by darkstar at 8:16 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


My (perhaps too cynical) take is that they are trying very hard not to turn this into a centrist/progressive slug match.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:31 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Ok, I just read George Clooney's short op-ed, not because I care what he has to say as a celebrity, but because he is a major DNC fundraiser and thus has the ear of a lot of powerful people. This is what stood out to me:

We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly. [Emphasis added]

So yeah, I don't think we really know what everyone is thinking or planning right now - we may know in the coming weeks, or we may never know. I'd say that tactically it would be smart for the party to have as little time between Biden stepping down and an announcement of a clear plan of succession - I'd hope that those who want him to step down are working on nailing down specifics of a plan the the party can broadly agree on.
posted by coffeecat at 8:39 AM on July 10 [13 favorites]


Why progressives are backing Biden

Because they know the knives are already sharpened should they take one step out of line. Any criticism they offer of Biden will just result in more of the "you can never satisfy the left, why even try, let's primary all of them next time."
posted by mittens at 8:44 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly. [Emphasis added]

That is just frankly shocking, and I cannot believe that a man with the PR apparatus that Clooney has would write that if it were not only true but a message that the senators, etc wanted to make public without their names attached.

At this point, Biden must go because the party and the donors are being, at best, dragged reluctantly behind him and that itself means basically insurmountable problems. God willing, enough very rich people will sit him down and put the arm on him to make him step down as candidate.

If I'm not barely surviving or dead after the next Trump term, this will be an amazing life reminder that if you take the easier path every time, you'll wind up a in dead end like this one when you really, really need not to be there.
posted by Frowner at 8:45 AM on July 10 [17 favorites]


At this point, it's essentially "just watch the press conference this week."

If Biden is visibly unstable, that's it for him. If Biden is witty and confident and capable, he will get the support he needs to continue. And if he's just adequate, the circus will continue.

Of course, "capable" is subjective. There will be people who will respond to even a great presser with "oh, they pumped him full of weapons-grade drugs, it was held during his six lucid hours of the day, it's all smoke and mirrors" no matter what. The burden of proof is on Biden in this one, and I hope to god that he succeeds at it.
posted by delfin at 8:47 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


George Clooney's short op-ed (NYT gift)
posted by box at 8:48 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


AOC and the squad are the adults in the room, but IMO they are wrong. Biden is going to get squashed (again IMO). The major media, which like it or not controls the agenda, is very much pro-Trump by being anti Biden, by being solely focused on the Joe is Old beat. Just a quick look at the WAPO front page today had 4 lead stories about the Joe/Dems old, will he won't he saga. The Nato summit, below the fold, and focused on, of course, Biden being old. And after a brief re-check, nothing in Nato and about a dozen more Joe is Old saga pieces. Nothing of course on Project 2025, Trumps insane rantings, his various fascist and nazis doings (hey the future Gov of NC says 'some people need killing') - nothing.

Why is the republican fucking culture war the only goddamn thing the major media ever focuses on! E.g.,endless story in the Post about some heroic old racist white ladies in Texas trying to get the even farther right facists to not talk about abortion before the election. And it's endlessly framed as these heroic rebels fighting for good against the ascendent anti-abortion GOP establishment, and never ONCE asks what these heroic ladies want after the election (any guesses?).

I cannot bear to look at the NYT as they take even the slightest criticism of their bullshit as an opportunity to double down on said bullshit and ramp up the mind numbing arrogance. Do they think they will be immune to the coming dictatorship? Cause dictators love nothing more than a Free Press.

Biden, yea im voting for him, cause he's not going to do the right think and drop out. But given how atrocious the coverage is now, what happens with he fucks up between now and November. Do you think the coverage will get better???
posted by WatTylerJr at 8:48 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Rob Reiner has also joined the chorus.

In a darkened room right now, Biden clasps his head. If I've lost Meathead, he realizes, I've lost the nation.
posted by delfin at 8:55 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Rob Reiner has also joined the chorus.

And Stephen King (also getting dogpiled by blue MAGA dead-enders).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:33 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


AOC and the squad are the adults in the room, but IMO they are wrong. Biden is going to get squashed (again IMO).

Sure, but the last thing we need is a genuine, existential issue for the Democrats and the country to get forgotten, as centrist vent their outrage at being questioned by the left wing of the party. Right now there are people with power driving this movement to get Biden off the 2024 ticket. Leftist support is likely to produce more knee jerk opposition than help.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:34 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I mean, to be crystal-clear, George Clooney and Rob Reiner are full-fledged American citizens and are as entitled to express their opinions as anyone else. No "shut up and act" voiced here.

But if government allies, big donors, political pundits et al. aren't enough to move Biden to retire but movie actors and pop culture celebrities turn out to be, we may well be kind of wired wrong as a species.
posted by delfin at 9:39 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


we may well be kind of wired wrong as a species

Finally, something I think we can all agree on!
:)
posted by coffeecat at 9:42 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Not as a species. Just a country.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:43 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Eh. They're important not because of overt power but because they're indirectly political. They're a measure of the hoi polloi. The many. The people. The plebs, rabble, masses, great unwashed, riffraff, proles, etc. …
posted by mazola at 9:45 AM on July 10


“Internally and out, Biden’s top advisers are treating the fallout as hypersensitivity from pols and pundits inside the Beltway, most of whom seem to have forgotten it’s only July. Voting doesn’t start until September, and there will be two nominating conventions and the Olympics to shift the conversation among the electorate.”

“And they’re pointing to perhaps the most notorious campaign moment of this century to press that argument: the infamous Access Hollywood tape and its audio of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault.” (Teagan Goddard, quoting a new piece in Time)
posted by mittens at 9:46 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


as centrist vent their outrage at being questioned by the left wing of the party. Right now there are people with power driving this movement to get Biden off the 2024 ticket. Leftist support is likely to produce more knee jerk opposition than help.

The victim complex is kind of amusing.
posted by azpenguin at 9:46 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Little evidence that the first presidential debate between President Biden and former President Trump meaningfully shifted voter preferences, according to a survey from the nonpartisan Civic Health and Institutions Project. (@w7voa | Mastodon)

Report here [Civic Health and Institutions Project]
Executive Summary

We compared the voting preferences of respondents who had previously participated in the April-May wave of CHIP50 to those of the same individuals reported during the week following the June 27 US presidential debate. Our results indicate a modest churn of voters’ preferences, with no substantial shift in the race between Biden and Trump
posted by mazola at 9:53 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


The victim complex is kind of amusing.

The irony here is almost too much to bear.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:56 AM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I mentioned the Lesson of Clinton earlier, I'll repeat it now:

Sometimes, whether its fair or not, whether it's true or not, the Republicans will smear your candidate so thoroughly there is no recovery.

They did it with Clinton, she'd have been a perfectly boring middle of the road centrist bipartisanship worshiping Democratic President. There was nothing particularly wrong with her, no dark secrets, no horrible evils. But the Republicans ruined her and by sticking with her the Democrats got Trump.

They've done it with Biden. EVEN IF HE'S PERFECTLY FINE the smear is still there and it's going to keep him from winning.

That's a horrible, almost cowardly, sort of thing to say. We should just let the Republicans drive out one of ours on wholly false and bullshit garbage?

Yes.

Yes, we should.

Because the alternative is losing the election.

And the election is, or should be, bigger than any one person. No one is irreplaceable. Obviously you fight their smears as much as you can, but if the smear sticks you drop the candidate. To win in politics requires ruthlessness, not just with the opposition but with your own sentiments, sense of justice, and loyalty to your own people.

What is more important to you? Winning the election, or saying it's not fair? If you want to win, you cut candidates loose when they drag you down. Biden is dragging us down even if the whole thing is a lie and he's sharp as a tack.

I get the urge to say "no, fuck that shit, we don't let them collect a scalp based on lies." I get it. I really hate letting those fuckers win anything at all too. But I care more about elections.
posted by sotonohito at 9:58 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Also, it is very obvious there is a real problem. If the debate were just a rough night, the response wouldn't have been to have Biden doing nothing but reading from teleprompters and doing interviews with prescreened questions and rehearsed answers.

In a race where we desperately need a contrast, Biden happily jumped in bed with a far right war criminal. Now he is increasingly incoherent, covering himself in spray tan and calling in to morning news shows to yell at the hosts. I suppose at this point, Blue MAGA is the next logical development.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:03 AM on July 10 [15 favorites]


“But if government allies, big donors, political pundits et al. aren't enough to move Biden to retire but But if government allies, big donors, political pundits et al. aren't enough to move Biden to retire but movie actors and pop culture celebrities turn out to be, we may well be kind of wired wrong as a species”

As someone mentioned upthread, these people are also members of the Democratic donor class. The party ecosystem includes Hollywood types, they just usually don’t publicly move against a Democratic candidate like this.
posted by Selena777 at 10:39 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Can the public watch Thursday's press conference?
posted by NotLost at 10:53 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


> wired wrong as a species

art is political, cinema is political, acting is political, music is political. the skills required to do these things are political skills, and people successful doing these things should be listened to when talking about political matters just as much as lawyers, journalists, and lifelong electoral-political operatives should be listened to when talking about political matters.

end b. l. pronouncement
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 11:07 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


AOC, as promised, has filed articles of impeachment against Thomas and Alito. (I realize this isn't a megathread and so this should probably have its own FPP, but I think a lot of people will be watching Biden's reaction to it, so maybe it counts here?)
posted by mittens at 11:07 AM on July 10 [14 favorites]


Seems like the dam is starting to break...a few previously supportive members of congress flipped, and now you have Tim Kaine saying "I have complete confidence that Joe Biden will do the patriotic thing for the country. And he's going to make that decision. He's never disappointed me."
posted by coffeecat at 11:20 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


And the election is, or should be, bigger than any one person. No one is irreplaceable. Obviously you fight their smears as much as you can, but if the smear sticks you drop the candidate.

So we pick a new candidate now and before the convention the Republicans find an effective smear so then we drop them and pick a new candidate and hope they last until Nov 5?
posted by hydropsyche at 11:22 AM on July 10


Well, or they organize a mini primary and pick whoever holds up to a stress test the best.
posted by coffeecat at 11:24 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Foosball tournament, round-robin. Top four advance to the swimsuit competition.
posted by delfin at 11:33 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


New Poll from YouGov/Economist.

Should Biden step aside as Dem nominee:
Black voters, yes 49%, no 34%
Hispanic, yes 56%, no 22%
Younger voters, yes 58%, no 20%
Independents, yes 60%, no 21%
posted by coffeecat at 11:49 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]




So suppose you get your trophy here and Biden steps down. Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?
posted by azpenguin at 12:04 PM on July 10


Internally and out, Biden’s top advisers are treating the fallout as hypersensitivity from pols and pundits inside the Beltway

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it." It's hard to believe something is an existential threat, even when you're looking straight at it. To really believe in your guts that this might be the end. You have your entire survived life weighing down the other side of the scale.
posted by penduluum at 12:04 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]




Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?

I thought “Harris” was the widely agreed upon answer to this question.
posted by Selena777 at 12:11 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


So suppose you get your trophy here and Biden steps down. Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?

Harris, Harris, Harris, and Harris. (And the Biden-Harris campaign war chest.)
posted by Gadarene at 12:12 PM on July 10 [14 favorites]


Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?

The same one all the Biden dead-enders have been loudly stumping for these last couple of weeks: Anyone But Trump
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:14 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


azpenguin, I honestly can’t see how that’s an honest question. Maybe you haven’t read the thread up to this point? If so, give it a shot!
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 12:14 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]




Oh come on:
your trophy
To repurpose a slogan from a campaign not so long ago: Not Me, Us.
posted by coffeecat at 12:20 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


So suppose you get your trophy here and Biden steps down. Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?

This is not the language of someone who thinks Trump is an existential threat to the entire world, and that must be stopped at all costs.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:22 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


This is not the language of someone who thinks Trump is an existential threat to the entire world, and that must be stopped at all costs.

Says the person that goes on and on about "genocide Joe!" and says they won't vote for him.

I honestly can’t see how that’s an honest question. Maybe you haven’t read the thread up to this point? If so, give it a shot!

I wanted to see how serious you all were about Harris. Because she's polling worse than Biden right now, and if the bigwigs who want Joe out get their way, there's a chance she might not even be the candidate. If Biden steps down there's going to be a fuckton of pressure from multiple parties to push their preferred candidate.
posted by azpenguin at 12:26 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Says the person that goes on and on about "genocide Joe!" and says they won't vote for him.

You dont know where I live so what do you care?

Because she's polling worse than Biden right now

Crock of shit.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:29 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Because she's polling worse than Biden right now

Citation? All the polls I've seen have her doing better than Biden.

If Biden steps down there's going to be a fuckton of pressure from multiple parties to push their preferred candidate.

I mean, that's one reason why a mini primary might be best - transparent, sense of fairness, etc.
posted by coffeecat at 12:30 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Says the person that goes on and on about "genocide Joe!"

People call him "Genocide Joe" because his first name is Joe and he is facilitating a genocide. Hope this helps
posted by dusty potato at 12:36 PM on July 10 [14 favorites]


If Biden steps down there's going to be a fuckton of pressure from multiple parties to push their preferred candidate.

Also, if Biden resigns the presidency then Harris is president. There's no procedure. He could also not run for reelection and throw his weight behind Harris. The coordination problem is actually easy to solve.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:37 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


What's worst right now is uncertainty plus Biden's failing performance.

Look, if he was 45 and was terribly, tragically displaying the signs of early-onset dementia (which can happen; it's an absolute nightmare, someone in my family had it) we would want him to step down. The problem isn't age alone; it's age plus visible failing plus the likelihood, due to age, that this may be something that can be slowed but not reversed.

The uncertainty and the fighting will undo us if we don't pick a new candidate; even if we all coalesce around Biden and critics shut up, there's meaningful odds that he will have more of these bad episodes or even have a serious health crisis as time grows shorter and shorter. Better to have a new candidate now, everyone rallies round because we desperately don't want Project 2025 leaving all else aside and then, god willing, Trump loses.
posted by Frowner at 12:38 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


So we pick a new candidate now and before the convention the Republicans find an effective smear so then we drop them and pick a new candidate and hope they last until Nov 5?

Biden's inability to effectively govern or campaign is as sticky as it is because it is true. The Republicans campaigned on Biden's age and claims he was senile with minimal traction until it became clear the claims were essentially accurate.

There are responses that make sense and help Biden if the claims about his loss of capacity are untrue. But we haven't seen any of them from his camp. We have seen everything you would do to create the illusion of competence in someone whose cognitive abilities are already seriously compromised. He's done teleprompter speeches, which he still does fairly well most of the time, canned interviews where he is at most passable, but nothing involving responses to unplanned questions or other spontaneous interactions. If Biden is really okay his campaign is engaged in malpractice not putting him out in front where he can prove it. If he is badly impaired, this is exactly what you would do try to buy him time and minimized the appearance of decline.

Says the person that goes on and on about "genocide Joe!" and says they won't vote for him.

Do you realize how ridiculous it is to compare withholding your vote to try to put pressure on a politician to stop an ongoing genocide, and refusing to step down when you are unable to do the job to stroke your own ego?

I never knew people could be so attached to a senile war criminal. I suddenly understand Reagan's career so much better.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 12:40 PM on July 10 [13 favorites]


If I'm not barely surviving or dead after the next Trump term

My fear is that there is no “after the next Trump term.” The Supreme Court already made him king and the Republicans will change the rules so they never lose again. It’s a one-way ticket to totalitarianism.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:40 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


goes on and on about "genocide Joe!"

a) Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Not "allegedly", very definitely, by all of the commonly used definitions of that act.

b) Biden has given Israel both material support and political cover while engaging in genocide denialism, which has cost him the support of Arab-American Muslim voters who voted for him overwhelmingly in 2020 (and who formed a significant part of his winning coalition in Michigan, a key swing state), as well as among younger voters. This is a significant part of his weakness as a nominee, in addition to his advanced age and evident incapacity.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:42 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


I mean, that's one reason why a mini primary might be best - transparent, sense of fairness, etc.

And if the winner of this "mini-primary" is not Harris, however it might be set up...

(The logistics involved in somehow organizing new state primaries across the nation at this date are mind-boggling. But I also bring you a cautionary tale of a political party that recently restricted who-will-our-new-leader-be voting to party insiders, configuring it so as to resolve it quickly and without a general member vote, and infuriated much of the rank-and-file to such a degree that it strongly contributed to their protest votes for an upstart party absolutely sinking their former party.)

I can only imagine the reaction from a certain group, one that is reasonably staunch behind Biden even now, that is in position to see one of their own move up into the top slot only to see it yanked away for a competition because "that would be fairer" or "we need to give it to whoever's polling best now."
posted by delfin at 12:44 PM on July 10


[follows thread]

A mini primary should go well :D
posted by mazola at 12:47 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


so what do you care?

You know what? You're right. I guess I just don't care what you think.

Do you realize how ridiculous it is to compare withholding your vote to try to put pressure on a politician to stop an ongoing genocide, and refusing to step down when you are unable to do the job to stroke your own ego?

I was responding to someone who said Trump must be stopped at all costs. If Biden is the candidate then one of those costs is you vote for him. Whatever. I've stopped caring what a lot of you think because you can't put together actual arguments except that Biden needs to go. I miss when there was intelligent political discussion on this site.
posted by azpenguin at 12:49 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Black people have our own issues with Harris as a politician and don’t necessarily just see her as an avatar for black excellence or as someone with John Kennedy energy like Obama.
posted by Selena777 at 12:50 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


So suppose you get your trophy here and Biden steps down. Who is the candidate you're going to coalesce around?

I've been in these threads the whole time too. I've read your comments, and I know that you really believe, as I do, that Donald Trump being elected president again would mean death and suffering for many many innocent people. I can understand why you would believe, though I disagree, that Joe Biden today represents the best hope we have of defeating him. Seen through that lens, I can understand why attempting to stop Joe Biden from running would be a risky, dangerous position.

So I just want to ask you to recognize that despite disagreeing on what steps it will require, or what plan of action is the most likely to succeed, we all want the same thing: to defeat Donald Trump. That is the only currently-relevant goal. We are on the same side.
posted by penduluum at 12:51 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


The logistics involved in somehow organizing new state primaries across the nation at this date are mind-boggling.

Nobody is suggesting actual voting - just debates, town halls, and polling. It won't be perfect, but it won't be a coronation either.
posted by coffeecat at 12:56 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Nobody is suggesting actual voting - just debates, town halls, and polling. It won't be perfect, but it won't be a coronation either.

so ignoring the actual voters and going to a vibes based system? is that really the suggestion here?

i'm out too. this is pointless
posted by lescour at 12:58 PM on July 10


To the Biden dead-enders, what level of incapacity to campaign, govern, speak, or cogitate. What would be your red line and how long until Biden fails even that test? Do you really think he has 4.5 years?
posted by No Climate - No Food, No Food - No Future. at 12:59 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Black people have our own issues with Harris as a politician

Insomuch as she's a politician with a history, sure. Against this maniac? Nah.
posted by cashman at 1:01 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


The super easy thing to do here is to have Biden step aside or remove him via the 25th and let Harris take over.

I am the furthest thing from a Harris fan, but she is young, has a resume that looks good to liberals, and would be the first woman and first Black woman to hold the presidency, regardless of the outcome in November, which I think would be really important for a lot of people. People with votes.

I was responding to someone who said Trump must be stopped at all costs. If Biden is the candidate then one of those costs is you vote for him. Whatever. I've stopped caring what a lot of you think because you can't put together actual arguments except that Biden needs to go. I miss when there was intelligent political discussion on this site.

This is both unnecessarily hostile and just wrong.

It does not matter one iota if a Californian or a Tennessean votes for Biden or not. It is wholly meaningless. I am a Tennessean, and I will vote for whoever is opposing Trump, but it is just as meaningless a gesture as voting for neither of them. The vast majority of the country has no say in this election.

Also, for someone who doesn't care, you spend a lot of time yelling at people with no power to change the situation for thinking wrong about it. You might want to reevaluate your use of time. I'm sure we'll get by.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 1:04 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


To the Biden dead-enders, what level of incapacity to campaign, govern, speak, or cogitate. What would be your red line and how long until Biden fails even that test? Do you really think he has 4.5 years?

I do not think that he has 4.5 years of POTUS-acceptable clarity left in him. But he doesn't need to last 4.5 years. About seven months would do for me, if he manages to win the election in about five, and the Constitution can take it from there.
posted by delfin at 1:06 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


No, I’d really not want to risk Republican skull-fuckery if Biden dies 7 months into office, especially if the Speaker of the House is a Republican and they control the Senate.

They will do everything possible to wrestle control from the newly appointed President. Why risk it?

If somehow Biden is able to make the case and win, I guess that’s all we have. But I’m just speaking to a casual “ah whatever, as long as he makes it 7 months” attitude because we’ve already seen them steal a Supreme Court seat.

They. Don’t. Care.
posted by glaucon at 1:10 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


Vice presidents exist for a reason. At this point as long as a Democrat wins and Trump doesn't, I don't care which of them it is.

The stumper for me is that whatever it is, we don't know what it is, and apparently (per WaPo) he got checked for Parkinson's and doesn't have it. Or anything else officially as of early 2024.

That exam by Cannard resulted in “no findings” that would correlate with Parkinson’s or other neurological disorders.


Now, if he was officially diagnosed with anything, we'd really need to force it, but right now we just have "vague mental decline off and on that we're seeing" going on. I mean, I'd force him to get checked again if I could (lol), but as far as we can tell at the moment, nobody knows exactly what is going on and there's no incentive for Biden to get checked again (and plenty of reasons that he might not wanna right now). We suspect he's declining but nobody knows exactly what the cause is. Which makes it harder to force the issue.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:13 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Isn't the DNC event in early August? I understand the desire for a (small d) democratic approach, but I can't see a mini primary, even if just debates and town halls (unless it's completely staged and scripted) as being good for coalition building right now in July of 2024. Plus, that would be like flashing all the Democratic electorate's fault lines to Republicans (and interested disinformation peddlers) before the machines get into gear for the fall.

And that's if we had a few more weeks before the official nomination. It would have to be a coronation at this point, and I can see that this alone ("let the people decide!", "undemocratic hypocrites!", "deep state coup!") would likely be an effective line of attack.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 1:13 PM on July 10


If Biden is removed or removes himself from the ballot now, they will engage in every bit of skull-fuckery imaginable to keep his replacement (be it Harris or someone else) off of the 2024 ballots, to try to invalidate Biden/Harris ballots because they no longer represent an accurate ticket, and to file injunction after injunction (whether or not they make any logical sense) to muck things up in every state where friendly courts might allow them to do so. Because that is what they do.

They. Don't. Care. You're right. They will play hardball _no matter what happens_ in every time and place possible.

But a nation in which the Dems pull a come-from-behind victory for the 2024 Presidency and ALSO lose the House, which is basically tied right now and has been in visible free-fall for the GOP all year, a house of Congress where Dems are polling far BETTER than Biden right now, would be an oddity.
posted by delfin at 1:15 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


The super easy thing to do here is to have Biden step aside or remove him via the 25th and let Harris take over.

I don't think this is quite as simple an option it at first appears. I think in this scenario the House refuses to approve a new VP, and then it's open season for the stochastic terrorism it would take to make Speaker Mike Johnson the President for the next six months.

(Would Lincoln have been assassinated had his VP not been from the opposing party?)

Safest bet, if there's going to be a new candidate, would be Biden stepping down just from the race, and then both slots for the next term getting filled at the Convention (though the Ohio ballot might be trouble in that case?).

(Wildest scenario would be removing him via the 25th but him not stepping down from the race, though I'd assume his ego (and that of his aides) isn't that large.)
posted by nobody at 1:24 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Cashman, I’m saying if shes the candidate we’ll come out but if she’s not, this “we ride at dawn” backlash people are concerned about may not materalize.
posted by Selena777 at 1:25 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


The point about the invalidation of the ballot that delfin and, earlier, idb made is one I have not seen a very clear answer to. We all have our opinions on whether Biden should step down, but can he, in a way that does not immediately hand the election to Trump simply on the basis of ballot access? I am not even sure I understand what happens if he dies. Harris would become the nominee, but it's not Harris on the ballot, it's Biden/Harris. There's just been so much assurance that we can find someone else to run, whether that be Harris or someone else, that I would really like someone to point out the specific way that works, without us getting to the ballot box in November and finding only Trump as an option.
posted by mittens at 1:28 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


The Convention is the mechanism through which the nominee on the ballots is legally/officially chosen. (But there are wrinkles for Ohio because their ballot deadline comes before this year's convention, as it did last time for 2020's Republican convention. There's another state in the same boat, but it's a solidly red one and doesn't matter.)
posted by nobody at 1:42 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


> ballot access?

this question highlights how brittle the american electoral system is. what if a presidential candidate dies before the election but after it's too late to get a new candidate on the ballot? like, say a convenient act of god takes out biden at some point in the next month — do the democrats therefore have no candidate?
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 1:44 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I think these are questions that have answers, we just don’t know them.
posted by Selena777 at 1:47 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Ohio last went to a Democrat in the Presidency in 1996, which is almost 30 years ago; I don't think their ballot deadline matters all that much either, frankly. They're still a very purple state, and turning them around by 2028 or 2032 might be possible, but there's zero chance that the Democratic ticket is going to win Ohio in 2024 no matter who's on it.

I do share people's concerns about groundless litigation about ballot access by the Republicans in other states, but it would be groundless. That's not to say it won't work, because the rule of law is fundamentally broken in America, but legally the nominee who goes on the ballots is the person chosen at the convention. Yes, regardless of what happens in the primaries!
posted by adrienneleigh at 1:47 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


what if a presidential candidate dies before the election but after it's too late to get a new candidate on the ballot?

In the general election we're voting for electors, not directly for the president. So if someone were to die between the convention and the election, the name on the ballot would remain the same but those electors would elect...someone else (probably the VP, but they wouldn't be bound to that unless, I think, the death happened between the election and Jan 6th).
posted by nobody at 1:49 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


“Why not vote for Biden/Harris and sort out succession after the election” is not a terrible argument to me, except that my concern about Biden as the candidate is that I really have no confidence that he has the juice to campaign. He’s down in the polls, he’s been down, this debate probably won’t take him more than a couple points further down because the election is still so defined by Trump, but he needs to climb up. We’re still in July, but there’s a debate scheduled for September. Changing the name at the top of the ticket is absolutely a roll of the dice but so is letting the guy show up for that!
posted by atoxyl at 1:50 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


It is hard for me to get my head around the fact that the arguments that Biden is frail, but only needs to last for X months, are somehow coming from pro-Biden folks. Will we be chanting "four more months!" at the campaign rallies?
posted by snofoam at 1:55 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


They're a measure of the hoi polloi. The many. The people. The plebs, rabble, masses, great unwashed, riffraff, proles, etc. …

"Y'know, morons."
posted by dannyboybell at 2:01 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


I’m saying if shes the candidate we’ll come out but if she’s not, this “we ride at dawn” backlash people are concerned about may not materalize.

Gotcha. Agreed. I also said what I said and then had the misfortune of watching a couple three clowns. I mean I know these people exist, but just so brazenly dumb for national television is just some what in the b.e.t.?

I'd been planning since Sunday to say something about it not mattering if it was Biden or Harris or Pete or whoever, because the real fight is in your neighborhood. The problem isn't idiotic and maniacal candidates exist, it's that real actual people that you and I know, are voting for them.

That's where the fight is. It's not on here with people who agree Trump is terrible. It's your coworkers, your friends, your relatives, your neighbors, the guy at the grocery store. The lady at the post office. It's time to confront people and find out what's up. Either they get convinced not to vote for someone who has actual aims to end everything as we know it, or you take note of who your enemy is and prepare for when you run into them the next time when it's likely they voted to end you.

I was going to say that as if it didn't apply to me. But watching that, I have my own work cut out for me. I know some people who aren't voting. I know people who won't vote for either candidate. I don't know anybody who outwardly supports Trump, but I'm sure I know somebody who will admit it if asked. It's time to start asking. Maybe people got fooled. Maybe they've been in their own worlds. Maybe they've been unsure what's true and what's not. Maybe they've had health issues or employment issues or childcare issues and they simply are unaware of the actual stakes with regard to Project 2025.

Whatever it is, it's time to find out. I'm sure I'll get lied to by some, and others will be terrified to speak up about it, but I'll be damned if after the election I get somebody I speak with telling me "I just didn't realize voting for Trump meant XYZ".

"The future holds Nothing else but confrontation". If anybody has best practices for this kind of thing, please share. I've seen the research about how when confronted with knowledge about disinformation it only makes people dig in further. Planting seeds works better at times. But it's tough to do that when you know what's at stake and some of these lies are just so obvious.

We need to work out something where we're talking less about what people voting for Biden or Harris are thinking or not, and talking more about who we each know that is planning to vote for Trump. Cause we all know somebody. It's a lot easier to hit "Post Comment" than it is to send a text to an old friend you think may be considering voting for Trump. I gulped just now because I have just such a friend. I'm going to have to go send that text. Wish me luck.
posted by cashman at 2:03 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


It is hard for me to get my head around the fact that the arguments that Biden is frail, but only needs to last for X months, are somehow coming from pro-Biden folks. Will we be chanting "four more months!" at the campaign rallies?

Let me make this clear, then.

I do not like Joe Biden. I have never particularly cared for Joe Biden. I am astonished by his support from the African-American community, given some rather horrid stances of his on racial issues back in the day. His performance during the Clarence Thomas hearings was enough by itself to put him on my bad side.

I did not want him as Obama's veep in 2008. I did not want him as the nominee in 2020. I have never voted for Joe Biden in a primary under any circumstances. I feel that he is a relic of a political age that has long since passed, a disingenuous panderer, and an obstacle to progress rather than a facilitator. This does not mean that I disagree with everything that has happened under his Presidential watch, or that There's No Difference Between Him and Trump; far from it.

I voted for Joe Biden in 2020 because he was Not Trump. I will vote for Joe Biden, if he survives this NYT putsch, in 2024 because he is Not Trump. I am voting not for Joe Biden as our wise and capable leader that will carry America into the future, but as the standard-bearer for the process of executive power transference in the United States of America that is the only remaining choice, at present, to keep that power out of the short-fingered hands of Donald Trump.

If Biden lasts four years, four months or four weeks past his inauguration, he has served his purpose for me -- to carry executive power forward and keep away from Trump. If he does not make it that far, I will vote for whoever replaces him on the Democratic ticket. I have no particular horse on this side of the race, but I am betting it all that the orange turd on the pale horse can't finish first.

Had there been an effort to effectively measure Biden's mental state, capabilities and coherency nine to twelve months ago, I would be among those who would be happy to see him step down. Right now, in July 2024? Unless he has a medical reason that is utterly compelling, I see no way for him to step down now voluntarily that would not result in complete chaos, court battle after court battle, an endless Dems-in-disarray chorus across both right-wing and normal media, the validation of one of the Republicans' central arguments about the election, and a Trump cakewalk to his dictatorship.

I am not voting for the man. I am voting for the process. That is all I have left to cling to. I do not know if Biden can win or not at this point; I do know that if the Dems focus all of their energy and attacks onto Biden, Biden probably can't.
posted by delfin at 2:18 PM on July 10 [18 favorites]


I am voting for the process.

I think a lot of this discussion comes down to which process is more terrifying to people (staying with or switching). It is interesting. Maybe it's some kind of ask vs. guess personality thing to a large degree.

From reading these threads it seems like essentially no one is really excited about Biden, and a substantial portion of the stick with Biden side don't even think he can do another four years. On the other side, there is also a lot to fear. And the drop Biden crowd does think there are better options, but doesn't have a clear savior, either.
posted by snofoam at 2:31 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


(A correction: I should have double-checked before adding the parenthetical here. The electoral college electors are never bound by the 20th amendment, even if the death happens after the general election. What I was misremembering was that the 20th amendment definitely kicks in if the death occurs between Jan 6th and the inauguration, and -- I've now learned -- there apparently isn't 100% agreement about whether it kicks in if the death occurs between the electoral college vote in Demember and the congressional certification on Jan 6th, depending on which of those two milestones is the one that officially/legally makes someone a "president elect." So that might be the nightmare scenario: Biden winning in November, officially voted in in December, and then a potential constitutional crisis if he's incapacitated over Christmas?)
posted by nobody at 2:33 PM on July 10


So that might be the nightmare scenario: Biden winning in November, officially voted in in December, and then a potential constitutional crisis if he's incapacitated over Christmas?

The nightmare scenario is "incapacitated after the first week of January (when newly-elected members of Congress are sworn in) but before January 20th (when the president is sworn in), assuming Republican control of the House".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 2:36 PM on July 10


There's a thread to this conversation here that is, "We have learned that the system works for evil and the Republicans have demonstrated a wild ability to subvert conventional understandings of how the system works in order to undermine democracy."

Guessing that others, like me, think about McConnell demonstrating that sheer force of will can prevent a President from appointing a Supreme Court justice, under the right (wrong) conditions, and a recent example is that the minute Trump starts to feel the legal heat, SCOTUS goes and makes the president a king.

So there's right and just fretting about Republican efforts to block the voters from being able to vote for any Dem but Joe, come November.

A question I have is about the Harris option, one version of which follows three assumptions: Biden resigns, Harris picks a VP, that ticket inherits Joe's war chest and ballot access. A clean swap.

Is there any reason to believe that the Republicans could prevent the clean swap, either in state or Federal courts, or in some other way, leading to an epic shitshow where the Democratic 2024 ticket implodes because a large number of voters are denied the right to vote for it?

Like I'm curious if anyone has seen writing that speculates about this, or has done the speculation themselves.
posted by kensington314 at 2:45 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Is there any reason to believe that the Republicans could prevent

I kinda think it doesn't matter that much because the Republicans would do literally anything, defy any norm, law or provision of the constitution, to obstruct or undermine a Democratic candidate. I think it is more important to focus on a Democratic candidate who understands this and will fight appropriately (and is able to). Obama let them steal his supreme court justice, everyone's afraid to kill the filibuster, etc. I think the key is having a candidate that is willing to do what they need to and embrace more options, as long as it doesn't undermine democracy in a comparable way. Maybe it is packing the court or adding new states to unskew the EC a little. It definitely means not for a second putting up with Republican electoral shenanigans.
posted by snofoam at 2:55 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


I would be very interested in a serious analysis of all the electoral practicalities and ballot access issues, if anyone has done one. I see people arguing that it’s not such a big deal and also that it’s an insurmountable obstacle and not a whole lot in between. I find myself reflexively more skeptical of the latter because, as observed upthread, it would seem to imply a degree of fragility in the system that seems implausible? But I do also understand that there are people who will try their best to make the system break.
posted by atoxyl at 2:56 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I am voting for the process.

I'd be able to get behind that line of thinking if there had been competitive primaries this year. Because I'm pretty sure most would agree that if this Biden was the one who ran in 2020, he wouldn't have won the primary - I mean, he won on "electability," not because most voters were excited about him. And again, his campaign did signal that he saw himself as a transition candidate - many voters thought they were voting for a one-term president.

so ignoring the actual voters and going to a vibes based system? is that really the suggestion here?

No? Currently a majority of Democratic voters think Biden should step down. So no, this would not be ignoring voters. The convention is Aug 19-22. There isn't much time, but if Biden stepped down tomorrow there would be a little over a month. Polling isn't perfect but you do enough of them and the average provides an OK temperature check - it's not "a vibes based system." The various 24-hr news networks would all love to the ratings of a 'mini primary' - it wouldn't be that hard to arrange. Personally, I'd also be fine to just hand it to Harris, but that risks the outcome where it turns out she cracks under the pressure of running as President. A mini primary gives everyone a bit of breathing room - if Harris comes out strong in the debates and polls suggest voters prefer her, then her getting picked feels more democratic and I think would help Democrats feel more confident and excited about her.

Legally, whatever is decided at the convention has to go on the ballot (besides perhaps Ohio, but yeah, that's a lost cause this year).
posted by coffeecat at 2:59 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I weep for my country. The fact that this conversation is being had at all in the face of a man who literally attempted a coup being on the ballot is just baffling to me. We are all, me included, complete pieces of shit who can't be bothered to stop the petty and not so petty arguments and present a united front against a man who literally attempted to overthrow the government.

You're gonna fucking hate me for this and I feel more than a little dirty saying it, but none of the other shit matters in the face of this threat. Not Ukraine, not Palestine, none of it. Once it is defeated we can go back to disagreeing with each other and working on the problems and whatever, but until then our navel gazing is just narcissistic bullshit. Without the continuation of the little d democratic experiment we have going on we can't actually do anything effective about any of the other stuff. It has to take priority. And we have to convince people that not voting against the insurrectionist sack of shit is not an option for anyone who has the tiniest bit of genuine patriotism, moral compass, or instinct for self preservation.

With Trump on the ballot, we can't afford to fight over who should be the nominee, what he may or may not have done that we like or don't like, or whatever other hobby horses usually drive our conversations. We can't afford to be like "oh well, I live in a safe state, so I can just not vote or cast a protest vote." No, you can't. Not this time. Whether it affects the outcome in the electoral college or not it is incumbent on us all to send the clearest possible message that we will not tolerate people running for office who are willing to attempt a coup when they don't get their way.

This is about more than our hopes and dreams, more than our personal aspirations and beliefs, more even than any single event going on in the rest of the world. For this moment it's about showing that it matters to us all what happened on January 6th, 2021 and that it matters enough that we are willing to put everything else aside to say with one voice that such actions will not stand.

There will be plenty of time for our usual arguments later. But as long as we're treating this as business as usual, so will the folks who are only loosely aware of politics and the media. They need to see that this is an unprecedented situation, and the only way to do that is to act like it. Not just say it, but live it. Shame the politicians and the money people and the media into living it so that nobody in this country can help but feel a deep sense of unease and find themselves forced to look head on at what we're dealing with.
posted by wierdo at 3:08 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


On the one hand, when the system was tested in 2020, the system held reasonably well. Team Trump's clown car of legal challenges was uniformly dismissed by Dem- and Rep-appointed judges alike... but part of that was that the legal arguments being put forth were flatly insane (the KRAKEN~!), unwilling to make concrete claims of fraud or submit evidence to support them, or both. They tried vague appeals on the premise of "you're not really going to rule against the PRESIDENT, are you?" and even SCOTUS, tainted as it was, declared "we'll need more than that."

That was in a situation with an extremely clear winner already established, with black-letter law guiding decisions, and it continued only until they ran out of nonviolent options and tried a violent one on J6 instead. That was before Roberts's big coming-out party as a fascist enabler, of course. What is to come should be indisputable black-letter law and guided by basic principles of fairness and of the continuance of a democratic republic... but where the Fifth Circus and the current SCOTUS exist, I feel hesitant taking sane decisions as a given.
posted by delfin at 3:08 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I don’t generally read the “Please Donate” emails I get, but I did read the one from Biden’s team just now:

Folks,

When you donate to emails like this one, you’re directly powering President Biden’s reelection campaign. You’re helping us put staff on the ground, get ads on the air, and spread our message to voters across the country.

You’re pitching in to help save our democracy from Donald Trump.

We’re sure you’re getting a bunch of emails from other groups who are using the president’s name to raise money for their own causes. So, we wanted to clear things up:

This is your official source of grassroots communications for President Biden’s reelection campaign. This is where your hard-earned dollars are put to immediate use to keep our movement running.


Feels like the subtext here is that donors have changed their behavior, moving more of their support to other Democratic entities, and Biden’s team is feeling the burn. Am I misreading? It’s making the whole episode feel more real to me.
posted by eirias at 3:08 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of this discussion comes down to which process is more terrifying to people (staying with or switching). It is interesting. Maybe it's some kind of ask vs. guess personality thing to a large degree

I am happy to admit that I am terrified of both! Talking about it is partly trying to exorcise that anxiety, and also partly just getting “talking about it” out of my system because it is maddening to me that the strategy for handling Biden’s most obvious weakness up until this point was “sssh, let’s not talk about that.” It sucks that it’s suddenly all the media can talk about now but what did anyone expect?

(And I promise this isn’t a 2020 grudge, he wasn’t my guy then but my guy would have had to face questions about his age and health, too, and I’m perfectly willing to grade on the curve of actually existing presidents to say Biden hasn’t been half bad on a lot of things)
posted by atoxyl at 3:13 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


There will be plenty of time for our usual arguments later. But as long as we're treating this as business as usual, so will the folks who are only loosely aware of politics and the media.

I submit that if anyone is treating this as business as usual, it's the folks supporting Biden's candidacy because that's what we're all expected to do, rather than actually weighing the options to determine where our best chances lie.

They need to see that this is an unprecedented situation, and the only way to do that is to act like it.


Fully agreed and cosigned. Unprecedented situations call for unprecedented solutions.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:18 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


Plus I mean in the face of an inexplicable (if one isn’t core Trump audience) Trump comeback of course people want there to be a candidate who can really get out there and make a forceful, positive case rather than just a not-Trump case, even if we understand rationally that such a candidate is not so easy to find or manufacture under pressure.
posted by atoxyl at 3:19 PM on July 10


On the issue of ballots - seems like a lot of random Twitter accounts with a lot of followers are spreading misinformation about all ballots being "already printed."

Some recent reporting on this:

From the Miami Herald:
But, lawsuits aimed at keeping a Biden successor off state ballots are likely to be unsuccessful, Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank, told the Associated Press.

“This is very clear constitutionally that this is in the party’s purview,” Kamarck told the outlet. “The business of nominating someone to represent a political party is the business of the political party.” In the past, courts have steered clear of interfering with political primaries so long as they were not violating constitutional rights, Karmarck told the outlet. “I never discount the possibilities of challenges these days, but I do not think that they will be successful if Biden or Trump were to step aside,” Paul Beck, a professor emeritus of politics at the Ohio State University, told McClatchy News.


From the Hill:
When Ohio Republican lawmakers initially deadlocked over a legislative solution, Democrats decided to instead hold a virtual roll call. Ohio lawmakers later passed legislation after the party came up with their workaround solution, allowing Democrats to submit their candidate to the state by Sept. 1.

In most states, the filing deadline for Democrats to submit their presidential nominee for the general election ballot is not due for at least another few weeks, as most state filing deadlines take place between August and September, according to an analysis of state rules compiled by The Hill. In some states, there is no deadline at all.


The Hill link above includes a map with the deadline for each state - the only ones before or during the DNC convention are deep red states. The one complication is New Mexico, which automatically has the primary winner (Biden) on the ballot - but given that's a reliably Blue State, this presumably could be fixed or a write-in campaign could work.
posted by coffeecat at 3:21 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I know I've reached a new low when I come around here peddling Politico articles, but I guess in a fluid environment like this one there's some value at reading what the gossip rags are saying.

Act of Desperation? Biden’s Team Checks Delegates for Loyalty
While the convention delegates are almost entirely pledged to Biden, the party’s rules are not binding. And one Democrat pointed to what’s fairly mild language in the rules adopted by the DNC for the 2024 convention: “Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

The delegates I spoke to said they’d like to choose a new nominee.

“We’re so scared of disunity or chaos, but we need a game changer because we’re behind,” said one of the delegates. “Why not have a weeklong reality show people watch because there’s real drama and not just a coronation, multiple prime-time slots featuring our best young talent?” The delegate added: “The whole problem with Biden is he can’t prosecute the case against Trump, well, we have a dozen people who can, so let’s show them.”

None of the delegates I spoke to want to break their commitment — although one of them has considered potential election lawyers to consult if necessary — and prefer Biden to release them from their commitment.

Each of them was veering between sadness and anger, the same emotions most Democrats are struggling with in this moment of crisis for the party.

“I’m struggling with words to come up with words about how frustrating this is,” one of them said.

posted by kensington314 at 3:32 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


With Trump on the ballot, we can't afford to fight over who should be the nominee

We can't afford not to, not when Biden's approval rating is 37%, he's the first Democrat to be behind in the polls at this point in an election year in 24 years, a majority of Democrats think he's too old to effectively serve another term, he's trailing in the key swing states he needs to win, and he's succeeded in alienating constituencies that were instrumental in helping him win in 2020.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:33 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


Ohio last went to a Democrat in the Presidency in 1996, which is almost 30 years ago; I don't think their ballot deadline matters all that much either, frankly.

Ohio voted Obama twice, and Kerry probably actually won here, minus the shenanigans that he never contested. And if our ballot doesn’t count because of a too-late candidate change or whatever, in all likelihood you can kiss Sherrod Brown (a legitimately excellent Democratic senator who consistently wins this increasingly red state) goodbye, due to the downticket turnout depression. Please don’t write off all “flyover” states as not mattering. We’re doing the best we can here.
posted by HVACDC_Bag at 3:33 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


You're gonna fucking hate me for this and I feel more than a little dirty saying it, but none of the other shit matters in the face of this threat. Not Ukraine, not Palestine, none of it. Once it is defeated we can go back to disagreeing with each other and working on the problems and whatever, but until then our navel gazing is just narcissistic bullshit. Without the continuation of the little d democratic experiment we have going on we can't actually do anything effective about any of the other stuff. It has to take priority. And we have to convince people that not voting against the insurrectionist sack of shit is not an option for anyone who has the tiniest bit of genuine patriotism, moral compass, or instinct for self preservation.

I'm not trying to pick on wierdo specifically, but when i see things like this what I hear is, "But you don't understand! Omelas really will disappear into the mist if we don't keep torturing this little kid forever!" I mean, yeah, maybe it will. But at some point, given that your safety and way of life are fully dependent on constant astronomical levels of baby-murder, maybe you're just … already fucked? Maybe the real answer is "The American Empire has already collapsed, it's just not evenly distributed yet"?

I dunno. At some point, appeasement of The System is no longer a moral answer to the questions we're being asked. I don't pretend to have another answer, though.
posted by adrienneleigh at 3:34 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Ohio voted Obama twice

Yep, one of my favourite bits of political schadenfreude was watching Karl Rove grow increasingly panicky on election night in 2012 when Ohio was called for Obama (I suspect he thought the fix was in there, since he seemed certain Romney had it).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:38 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Statement from Jon Lovett (former Obama staffer and co-founder of Crooked Media):
There have always been two Joe Bidens. The empathetic, decent, big-hearted leader, forged in loss and grief, finding the good in his friends and opponents, in love with America, arms wide and open with space for everyone. And there’s the blowhard with a chip on his shoulder, stubborn, something to prove, his fellow senators rolling their eyes as the finger wags harder and the stories get longer. Statesman and politician, hero and fool.

Joe Biden ran for president for 50 years. He finally won because he ran as that hero at a time when the country was desperate for empathy and normalcy and wisdom and grace. It was still too close. But even when he was doubted by insiders and pundits (hi!), he persevered; he knew Democrats, he knew America, and he was right.

And then! To his great and everlasting credit, Joe Biden governed as that statesman too. He built a coalition wide enough to hold Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders. He defied Washington’s stodgy consensus when necessary, a consensus he spent a lifetime living inside. He adapted, he governed with humility and purpose, whether on how to revive the economy, or take on monopolies, or address student loans, or press for the largest investment in clean energy by any country anywhere on earth. And even as he showed the capacity to listen to the rising progressive voices inside the Democratic party, at the very same time he achieved bipartisan legislative successes in defiance of every political trend of the last thirty years. Joe Biden has been an extraordinary president! Statesman. Hero.

But it’s hard to deny that in the two weeks since the debate, it’s the arrogant and small Joe Biden we’ve seen most - hanging on, bragging, defensive, angry, weak. Who else but him? he wonders aloud. Only God could change his mind, he tells us. The stakes for the country are all that matter. The stakes for Joe Biden are beside the point. But it’s worth saying just the same: Joe Biden can leave office as one of the greatest presidents in our lifetimes, who defeated Trump and put his country first at every turn; or he can leave a stubborn old man who allowed hubris and insecurity to destroy his legacy and perhaps our democracy with it.

We all have our best and worst selves, scrambling over each other, battling it out in the moments that define us. Where is the Joe Biden we elected? Where is the statesman? I hope that version of him shows up soon. And I hope the people around him know where to look.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:42 PM on July 10 [18 favorites]


eirias: "Feels like the subtext here is that donors have changed their behavior, moving more of their support to other Democratic entities, and Biden’s team is feeling the burn. Am I misreading? It’s making the whole episode feel more real to me."

NBC: 'It's already disastrous': Biden campaign fundraising takes a major hit
President Joe Biden’s campaign has already suffered a major slowdown in donations and officials are bracing for a seismic fundraising hit, with the fallout from a debate nearly two weeks ago taking a sizable toll on operations, according to four sources close to the re-election effort.

“It’s already disastrous,” one of the sources close to Biden’s re-election said of fundraising.

"The money has absolutely shut off," another source close to the re-election said. [...]

Two of the sources said this month is on a path to be down by possibly half — “or much more,” one of them said — from large donors alone. Sources emphasized that the donations were down across the board.
This comes after Trump surpassed Biden in overall fundraising (despite coming from a huge deficit), and the Biden campaign massively outspent Trump in the swing states only to not move the needle at all.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:51 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


You know that theory where we're all just living in a simulation - has that come to mind for other people more and more recently? I mean, it's not just a dark timeline. It's a dark and unreasonably absurd timeline. It was so much bad enough already before the debate and I can't even believe we're having this conversation. In July. JFC. I keep telling myself to stop reading the news and this thread.
posted by Glinn at 3:56 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


The democratic leadership just finding out that people have to be excited about a candidate!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:59 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri:
You are in a plane. The pilot comes on the PA system. “Well, folks, we’re going to be starting our descent,” he announces, “and should be touching down safely in Denver in about 20 minutes. But if we don’t, I’ll feel, as long as I gave it my all, and I did as good a job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about.”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:08 PM on July 10 [17 favorites]


From Bluesky:
If you think you’ve seen the worst possible take on the Dem candidate switch I promise I can one-up it

(trigger warning: link contains Bill Kristol, which the state of California has determined can cause various disorders)
posted by delfin at 4:13 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I’ll take a pilot trying their best every time for a landing thank you very much.
posted by mazola at 4:15 PM on July 10


Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT): Biden should withdraw for the good of the country
I deliver this assessment with sadness. Vermont loves Joe Biden. President Biden and Vice President Harris received a larger vote percentage here than in any other state. But regular Vermonters are worried that he can’t win this time, and they’re terrified of another Trump presidency. These are real concerns of regular voters who I’ve heard from recently — like a mom who counts on the child tax credit and seniors who rely on Medicare.

The latest data makes it clear that the political peril to Democrats is escalating. States that were once strongholds are now leaning Republican. These new shifts — in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia — must be taken seriously, not denied or ignored.

The good news is that President Biden has united the party and created a deep bench that can defeat Trump. Vice President Harris is a capable, proven leader, and we have other electable, young, energizing Democratic governors and senators in swing states. Not only do these leaders have experience running and winning in tough political environments, they also have fundraising networks, media experience, charisma, and the ability to inspire voters across generations and across our big tent.

We have asked President Biden to do so much for so many for so long. It has required unmatched selflessness and courage. We need him to put us first, as he has done before. I urge him to do it now.
First Democratic senator to publicly call for Biden to withdraw.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:18 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


I’ll take a pilot trying their best every time for a landing thank you very much.

I’ve always had a preference for the pilots that are willing to let their copilot take over if they’re not able make the landing themselves, but it takes all kinds, I guess.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:26 PM on July 10 [22 favorites]


Okay, I couldn't stay away after all.

Pelosi, of all people, suggesting that Biden "reconsider" seems like a death knell. I'm not saying it's over, but I am saying that if the actual Queen of Centrism is saying Joe needs to go, the DNC would like him GONE.

I think the idea of a mini-primary is insane. A bunch of democrats most of America has never even heard of congregating to pull the sword from the stone in the last eleven seconds of the campaign would make for a great docudrama one day, but first it would make for a reality with the shittiest possible outcome: a democratic party in ruins and a second term of Donald Trump.

Biden just has to resign, that's it. The transfer of power is totally constitutional. There is no question about "who voted for her?" because we voted for her, back in 2020. This is the only thing I think can possibly work. There is nothing else.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:37 PM on July 10 [11 favorites]


I’ve always had a preference for the pilots that are willing to let their copilot take over if they’re not able make the landing themselves, but it takes all kinds, I guess.

Just avoid the mini primaries in first class.
posted by mazola at 4:41 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


How would a “mini primary” even work? Like are we envisioning an actual popular vote in all the states? How the heck would we accomplish that in the time remaining to us? There’s no election on the calendar, you can’t just put one there, can you? Some of you are poll workers, does this sound as cockamamie to you as it does to me?
posted by eirias at 4:44 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


About a mini primary -- Maybe just the convention delegates would vote. That would be reasonable.

Maybe the convention would be much more exciting than it had been expected to be.
posted by NotLost at 4:50 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Honestly, this seems like the perfect time for the fix to be in for the status quo, aka Harris. Just let the DNC do their thing (not like we have a choice in the matter).
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:55 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Who the fuck are the anti Harris people? McKinsey buttegeig dorks? Bernie bros? Sanders is old as shit. POD save America bros pushing a Whitmer/Shapiro ticket? The idea that having Harris be the candidate would tear the party apart just doesn’t make sense.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:59 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I don't think a mini primary is literally impossible. The Convention is August 19th. It would have been better if we'd started right after the debates, but hell man the Brits manage to have an entire real national election with a six week lead. Set August 12 to 16 as the voting, count on Saturday, send the delegates to the convention on Sunday, they vote on Monday. Tight, yes, impossible no. If they started now they'd have four weeks and two (business) days before the voting. And shit, if you cut the voting down to just two days you can squeeze in an extra three days of last minute speechifying and so on.

It won't happen, but because they choose not to do it not because it's actually impossible.

hydropsyche A couple things, the first is I'm making a tactical suggestion based on the idea of a candidate who is irreparably damaged by a smear not advocating a general principle that we abandon candidates at the slightest sign of trouble.

With Clinton making it work was the result of 40+ years of ceaseless propaganda. They can't reproduce that quickly.

With Biden what made it work is simple: they've had 4 years to work on it, and it's true.

Imagine an alternate universe in which Biden was 100% there mentally and really did have a bad night. How would that Joe Biden have handled the accusations that he was senile? We know how: he'd have gone out and had a big press conference where he took unscripted questions and appeared with it, sharp, knowledgeable, and perfectly fine.

And we know the reason he didn't, it's the same reason he's been basically in hiding ever since he was inaugurated. He's not with it, sharp, or together. His mind is failing him.

So we have, unfortunately, two examples in a row of a candidate who was ruined beyond all possible salvage by Republican smears. That doesn't mean dump all candidates the instant they have problems, but rather to evaluate things coldly and without any concern at all for the seniority, feelings, or fairness of the situation. To be ruthless in cutting away that which weakens you.

I don't know if its possible to salvage the 2024 election, it's going to turn on whether Trump is awful enough and Project 2025 is scary enough to drive Democrats to the polls. I don't know if switching from Biden at this point actually would fix things or just make the Democrats look pathetic.

I THINK it could be spun well as a venerable and honored statesman who was so respected and brilliant in his prime that it took both him and everyone around him time to realize he was losing his edge. Biden could give a speech about passing the torch, about how his last and greatest service to the nation he loves was recognizing that his body was betraying him and he had to stand aside for the good of all of us.

That would have worked a lot better if they'd been planning it from the outset, as it originally looked like he was, and Biden was planning on being a one term President by his own will. It might still work. Or it might not.

I don't know. We're back to where we were with Clinton back in 2016 only worse. We've got a candidate who is suffering from a debilitating smear that's sticking with the public. And who won't bow out.

And I can see why! You don't get to be President, or even a serious nominee, without drive, will, ego, competitive spirit, and determination that most people just plain don't have. I damn sure don't have what it takes. The problem is that all that also means someone in that position is going to be a terrible judge of whether or not they should bow out.

adrienneleigh I believe the answer to your question is both simple and uncomfortable.

When a person believes the system is broken beyond all repair and there is no point in trying to work within it then that person has moved, in thought if not in deed, from reformer to revolutionary. Either a person thinks the system sucks but is better than the chaotic alternative, or they think it's worth the chaos to toss out the system. That revolutionary thinking may never be turned into revolutionary action, and it's no shame to the person if it doesn't.

But that's the dividing line between a revolutionary and a citizen.
posted by sotonohito at 5:01 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


IMO the mini primary thing is beyond a disaster. I don't think it's worse than Biden staying in, but it's close.

There's a perfectly acceptable, long time democratic black woman VP right there to rally around (um, abortion rights???). Going away from Harris seems like a recipe for disaster (and absolutely would not be suggested on the fascist side of the aisle).

Yea she's not ideal to this leftist, but who is... we absolutely only need to have a 'not-trump' or a 'not-republican' win as EVERYONE on this thread has said over and over. Make things better AFTER the dictatorship is averted.

Also like everyone else I cannot fucking believe the super geniuses running the politics side of the election for the administration have let this get it this far. Not preparing for this is beyond unforgivable. Losing to fucking TRUMP!!! A level of incompetence rarely seen.

Bow out of the election Joe (not sure if thats better or worse than resigning first). Let Harris and the women who the party depends on run. At least they'd fight vigorously.

God this all sucks so much. Fucking 'elected' dictator Trump, Project 2025 and white supremacist theocracy. I need to bow out of this for a bit (the everything related to the coming Trump time, news, constant festestering, Cassandra-ing), it's making me so miserable.

Best to all....
posted by WatTylerJr at 5:10 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


I've been pondering why it is that I'm landing so far on the 'Biden should resign' side of things. I'm normally process oriented, and while not risk averse, I don't see value in unnecessary risks. Biden stepping out of this election is clearly a high risk move.

At the same time, I'm a bit of an Ezra Klein liberal. Wonkish. Plugged into politics the way most people aren't (but not nearly as much as many Mefites). Generally on the left of things, but also with a lot of questions about assumptions built into both parties priors.

I am slowly coming up with a litany of answers to that question.

Fundamentally, it is because I do not see us on a trajectory to win an election in November, and I don't see a capacity in Biden or his team to change that trajectory. I'd love to be convinced otherwise. I'd love to be inspired. I've been inspired by most D candidates of the past thirty years, so if an easy mark like me is struggling, I think it bodes poorly.

Biden is one year younger than my father. Also a man who is still sharp, but in an aging body. Our family conversations are a lot more mundane than addressing world crises, and our home life lacks that supporting staff. But still... age only goes one way, and some signs are unmistakable. Beyond that, I think that there is a whole contingent of voters who are made physically, viscerally uncomfortable by what they see in Biden. It may not be right, or fair, or may be ageism, but whatever it is, it's a bad sign when folks refer to you putting your candidate on stage as 'elder abuse'.

Biden has been the most effective progressive president of my lifetime. But, I haven't seen the far left or progressive wing of the party shouting his triumphs over the last four years and he has failed to sell it as well. I think he has great instincts in some domains, but I believe a major part of the presidency is communicating and selling policy and ideas to the American people, or at least that part of them open to your message. He's done that poorly, and showing every sign of getting worse.

I'm reminded of every other pol, leader, business owner, or manager who hung on too long and didn't leave a path for the next generation to come up and succeed. I think for a lot of young people Biden has gone from being "friendly grandpa" to "old white man who won't pass the torch". It's hard to win people over when their core objection to you is your identity.

At the broader level of the party, a resignation would bring chaos, yes - but I think the Democratic party has become far too much the party of order over effectiveness. A lot of things are broken, and the answer to how to fix them is too often "well, we need to form a committee, and go through a process, and get stakeholder input, and then draft some reports and then..."

This isn't what people want to hear. They want a solution to housing costs, access to health care, safety in their streets and in their plans for retirement. And there are plenty of other things which need to be broken - zoning restrictions that prevent housing or mandate parking, environmental reviews that can perversely stop green energy projects, etc. People want a full-throated champion for meaningful improvement in these things in the White House. It's time for Democrats to demonstrate that they are willing to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

There is also a perverse top-down control dynamic to the resistance to engage in the spectacle this would create. An implication that the passions which would accompany any change of leadership, or debates on who should take the reigns, are somehow unseemly. A notion that democrats must value rigid order over any risk. At a time when everything is definitely not okay, I believe that people will respect and flock to movements which show dynamism for change - imperfect as it may be.

Finally, there is simple estimation and calculation. I believe that if Biden stays in the race, his chance of winning is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20%. I do think the gap will close, but the campaign lacks the dynamism to overcome Trump's theatrics. This is a low variance strategy. Over time it may trend to zero, or may trend to the high end of the range, but in every case in my mind it leaves Trump in a commanding position heading into election day.

On the other hand, the chaos that ensues if Biden steps down will cast a huge amount of light on the whole process. A convention that suddenly matters! Delegates discussing and casting votes for a new candidate! The tension of who will be picked as VP (if Kamala Harris quickly wraps up support) or even who will be picked for both positions on the ticket). The few days of the convention would kick off a spotlight on the race which even the disengaged might find intriguing. Certainly there is a chance that the entire thing backfires so badly that the party can't even get a reasonable ticket out there. I think that is unlikely - but let's call it 20%. And then there is the possibility that the new ticket is still challenged by Trump. Let's call it only a 50/50 chance of winning. Even so, you've gone from a 10-20% chance under Biden to a 40% chance with a new ticket.

In my view, it is this last paragraph where we all can quite reasonably disagree. No one knows what would happen, the situations are unprecedented, and I think the odds people bring to the table are heavily informed by their own comfort with risk, change, as well as personal stories about the candidates.

Bottom line for me is that not only would a change, in my view, improve the odds immediately against Trump. It would also give me a chance to be inspired again. For example, I would love the heck out of a Kamala Harris run in a way that having her as VP on the ticket doesn't do it for me. (And I find the notion that Biden "just needs to make it seven months" in this light as even more morbid and undemocratic).

I don't usually post such long screeds here, but inspired by Vermont's own Peter Welch, I'm joining the brave little state's contingent in asking Joe Biden to step aside, and I'm hoping that something I have said here may resonate with others, or at least help those who disagree understand the perspective a bit more.
posted by meinvt at 5:19 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


What can happen in the UK, in terms of elections, seems to me totally irrelevant to whether snap elections for a national office are doable in the US, when the whole system depends on funding and staffing from like the lowest possible level of government. Right? Obviously we call special elections sometimes, but not in every precinct in the whole damn country and not on a deadline like this. How many county clerks, how many poll workers, how many schools and churches and community centers, do we need to make available on basically no notice? No. The idea that this is achievable is TV logic as far as I can tell.

My instinct is that if it isn’t Biden it should be Harris. I’ve seen the case made that Black turnout is really determinative in tight races — if that’s true, I’d really worry about torpedoing support by not taking the only obvious exit. And I mean — she IS the most qualified to continue what was meant to be a reelection campaign because she’s actually been part of this administration.

But I worry. The foundations here are one bad evening, a very active rumor mill, and polls. If he’s in such bad shape that he should not hold high office — then disclose and resign. If he doesn’t know what to disclose because it’s murky, there’s no diagnosis — aging and cognition are like that, you don’t always have a name and you’re often not sure if it’s real. But disclose *something*.

I have to hope that nobody would be saying things like what Clooney has come out and said if this weren’t real, if it were just the one bad night and the polls and the rumors were unfounded. The whole thing is so sad and frightening, honestly, and I don’t know what’s right.
posted by eirias at 5:31 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


You're gonna fucking hate me for this and I feel more than a little dirty saying it, but none of the other shit matters in the face of this threat. Not Ukraine, not Palestine, none of it. Once it is defeated we can go back to disagreeing with each other and working on the problems and whatever, but until then our navel gazing is just narcissistic bullshit.

It's always been bullshit. Political questions aren't decided on MetaFilter. The idea that something positive would happen if everyone on this site suddenly agreed with one position or the other is almost laughable. Unless someone very important has a sock puppet, our discussions just don't matter.

Saying Palestine or Ukraine doesn't matter is I suppose technically true, in that Trump is as bad or worse than Biden here, but this is a truly aberrant situation. If the Republicans were seriously talking about ending an ongoing genocide, I would be hard pressed to weigh any other issue more highly. Genocide is the gravest sort of moral horror and I don't think putting off the US' collapse into fascism for another few years can be worth hundreds of thousands of Palestinian lives. But the Democrats are saved by the Republicans utter depravity.

But putting all that aside, the fact this is important is why we need to change candidates. If Biden was a lock to beat Trump, then we'd all be behind him. But he isn't. I can understand if you think that he is the best option available. I' disagree, but I see where you were coming from.I would hope you can see that the people on the other side of this question are being as insistent as we are because we want Trump to lose. Not because we hate Biden. (Even though some of us do.)
posted by The Manwich Horror at 5:42 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


There will be plenty of time for our usual arguments later. But as long as we're treating this as business as usual, so will the folks who are only loosely aware of politics and the media. They need to see that this is an unprecedented situation, and the only way to do that is to act like it. Not just say it, but live it. Shame the politicians and the money people and the media into living it so that nobody in this country can help but feel a deep sense of unease and find themselves forced to look head on at what we're dealing with.

Thank you.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:53 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I'm not like super deep into politics, but I swear I remember part of Biden's campaign in 2020 was that he'd only do one term and then Harris would run in 2024. Did I just dream that?!
posted by PistachioRoux at 6:08 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


You dreamt it.
posted by y2karl at 6:15 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


You mistook a bunch of leaks meant to make Biden more palatable for something resembling "truth", rather than "a way to make an old candidate more palatable without any intent to ever give up power", I guess.
posted by sagc at 6:19 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


He did give a speech in March 2020 in which he said that he viewed himself as a transition and a bridge to the next generation of Democratic lawmakers, which some people interpreted as a signal, given the age concerns even then, that he only planned to serve one term.
posted by Gadarene at 6:20 PM on July 10 [14 favorites]


You're gonna fucking hate me for this and I feel more than a little dirty saying it, but none of the other shit matters in the face of this threat. Not Ukraine, not Palestine, none of it.

both of those situations, as well as others, could result in things that could totally throw the election framework we have right out of whack

in fact, the whole world could be thrown out of whack - i'm not going to post a list of possible consequences, but the return of cheeto hitler, while not good, is not the worst case scenario we have in front of us
posted by pyramid termite at 6:24 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Sen. Peter Welch is the the oldest person to become a freshman senator - he was 75 when he was elected.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:40 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


HVACDC_Bag: oh, that's my bad, you're right, Obama did win Ohio. And I'm not dismissing flyover states at all! My home state is one! (I don't live there anymore because i married a foreigner and emigrated, but when I vote in US elections that's still my domicile.)

My sincere hope is that Sherrod Brown will be fine whether the presidential ballot shenanigans in Ohio succeed or not, honestly. He's VERY popular.
posted by adrienneleigh at 6:41 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Here's info on Biden's press conference on Thursday.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. ET. Alas, I will be otherwise occupied.

Who will be watching?
Probably a lot of people.

posted by NotLost at 7:24 PM on July 10


I think there seems to be some overlooking of the so-called 'low information voters' when it comes to talk on who would replace Biden on the ticket.

Without a full primary (which doesn't seem feasible), picking anyone else other than Harris will lead to a sizeable backlash regarding 'political elites' picking candidates rather than the people.
posted by Marticus at 7:35 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


At his press conference, please god, let him: (a) not mention numbers (which seem to possess a level of difficulty for him), but (b) use his rally voice--loud, generally clearer than his interview voice. Also (c) he should be encouraged to finish sentences, even if it takes a bit longer, rather than saying "Look," and then changing the subject.
posted by mittens at 8:09 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I hope he has either a stellar performance or an awful one, something so big in either direction that everyone agrees on it and what it means.
posted by NotLost at 8:18 PM on July 10 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure how awful it would have to get for the hold outs to consider replacing him. If the last month wasn't enough, what would be?
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:29 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure how awful it would have to get for the hold outs to consider replacing him.

I assume Biden's family and some of his staff are genuinely all-in still. But I don't necessarily assume that there are elected officials in the party who are not at least considering replacing him. Isn't the current split mostly between people who are publicly still supporting him and those who are not?

Maybe the actual politicians already know the Biden exit is a done deal. The squad can support Biden now as a way of showing they work with/support the mainstream party. The Congressional Black Caucus shows strong support so it doesn't look like they are backstabbing Biden to support Harris. Etc.

Also, gotta hand it to Pelosi, "make that decision" is so cold.
posted by snofoam at 5:08 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


Flip it around, though. How good would he have to look and sound for his dissenters to relent and support his continuing on? I'm not sure that THAT's possible.

It's going to depend on what people are looking for in this. I feel like we're past the point where demonstrating competency -- a by-the-numbers presser where he looks and sounds 80 but answers all questions, avoids howling gaffes and freeze-ups, and gets his points across coherently -- is going to be enough. The slightest slip-up or misstatement, even if immediately self-corrected, will be pounced upon as absolute proof that a claw machine should swoop down, pick him up gently and deposit him under a Delaware beach umbrella.

It is about perception, as always. If he has to command the room, browbeat his critics into obedience through sheer force of personality and deliver a sparkling presser for the ages to continue, then yeah, he's done after this. The question is whether he should have to.
posted by delfin at 5:52 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Stacey Abrams in the AJC this morning:

Biden is still best bet against Trump
Most of the voters Biden has won and needs to win again already know his foibles — and they aren’t turning in droves to say, “I’m now voting for the bombastic fascistic liar.”

Voters have been treated to a post-debate drama that has almost exclusively focused on performance versus principle. Good people stumble. Liars lie. In the face of the latter, we have become myopically fascinated because, for some, soothing anxiety seems easier than confronting the slow-motion death of democracy.

Let’s be clear: The wishful benefits of a contested convention or a late-stage exit are vastly outweighed by the potential harm. President Joe Biden has the integrity, moral character and record needed to beat Donald Trump in November. Our path to victory lies in standing by Biden and understanding the high stakes of this election.
posted by darkstar at 6:33 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Argh…I cut off the first part of the first paragraph in that pull quote from Abrams. Apologies…here it is with the preceding sentence:
The anti-Biden doom loop feels loud right now, but it is largely a phenomenon among those who obsessively follow the news or want to make the news. Most of the voters Biden has won and needs to win again already know his foibles — and they aren’t turning in droves to say, “I’m now voting for the bombastic fascistic liar.”
posted by darkstar at 6:49 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I think if the press conference is as bad as the debate, he's 100% toast, and he likely will be gone before his scheduled interview with Lester Holt. If it's as bad as the interview, I think he's probably also still toast, because that much incoherent rambling is not going to convince everyone, but it might take a bit longer. Now, if he resembles the Biden we see in the clips from 2020 that have been circulating (here and elsewhere), then I think he will probably convince enough people that he won't step down. But even that won't reassure everyone - because the Biden we saw at the debate, and the Biden we saw at the interview, that Biden still exists and will no doubt show up again.

And then you have the problem that more and more data keeps piling up that looks very bad for Biden's prospects. On the whole, every day the polls for president and down ballot races look bad for Biden. As do polls showing pluralities of voters across various demographics calling for him to step down.

Yesterday I listened to an interview of Ezra Klein by Tim Miller (who I wasn't previously familiar with, but I guess he's carved a niche for himself as a never-Trumper). One of the more maddening bits comes around the 25min mark if you want to hear the wider context:

EK: ...People are weighing this set of things [the pros and cons of going after Biden in public]. Like, 'it would be quite unpleasant for me personally to come out against the president as an elected official in an Democratic Party and weighing what will happen if Donald Trump wins' and saying, in a revealed preference way, 'I can live with Donald Trump winning.' And I've had people say that to me off the record, to be fair.

TM: Really?

EK: ...I've had top Democrats say to me basically something like, 'I don't know why all these Democrats who think Donald Trump is an existential threat are acting the way they are. But the reason I'm acting the way I am is because I don't think that."


So yeah...a lot of Democrats are publicly supporting Biden right now because they don't really fear a second Trump presidency, I suppose because they believe that as a powerful wealthy person, they'll be OK. Really makes my blood boil. And if Klein has been hearing this, presumably other journalists have been hearing a similar sentiment off-the-record.

So yeah, knives are going to be out for this press conference.
posted by coffeecat at 7:04 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Flip it around, though. How good would he have to look and sound for his dissenters to relent and support his continuing on? I'm not sure that THAT's possible.

I think you may be right. At this point the Biden campaign has done several interviews where they provided pre-approved questions while pretending they were spontaneous. Once you have tried to decieve people, it is hard to walk back from that. And any really impressive performance will be marred by the question "why didn't this happen a month ago?"

Most of the voters Biden has won and needs to win again already know his foibles — and they aren’t turning in droves to say, “I’m now voting for the bombastic fascistic liar.”


I feel like this undercuts her argument, though. If all Biden needs are anti-Trump voters, then what does Biden being on the ticket offer? And what would replacing him hurt?

If something beyond fear and disgust over Trump is needed, what is it, and can Biden bring it to the table?

Biden damages his campaign badly by how he handled Gaza. (I feel dirty reducing that horror to an electioneering comvern, but here we are.) There are several important demographics that would be happy to support any other Democrat, but genuinely jate Joe Biden enough that it is vis erally unpleasant to consider voting for him. Now Biden has eroded, perhaps destroyed, the advantage he had as the one who looked competent and in touch with reality. (Not just his poor performance, but the bungled response to it, and his increasingly Trumpian angry responses about "elites" conspiring against him.)

I sincerely, literally, pray Biden beats Donald Trump. I do not at all relish holding my wife while she cries as election results come in like I did eight years ago. I don't look forward to finding out another trans friend has killed themself because they couldn't get the care they needed. I don't want to watch my friends choose between eating and taking their chemo drugs. If Biden can beat Trump, I'll take him. But I just don't think he can. And I am afraid.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:07 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


Like, 'it would be quite unpleasant for me personally to come out against the president as an elected official in an Democratic Party and weighing what will happen if Donald Trump wins' and saying, in a revealed preference way, 'I can live with Donald Trump winning.'

That’s quite a leap. It could also be unpleasant because it helps sink chances of a Biden win.
posted by mazola at 7:08 AM on July 11


New Poll from YouGov/Economist. Should Biden step aside as Dem nominee:

I'm not surprised that these numbers, across every group, are in favor, but I'm not sure it's as useful a result as people would like it to be. It's often easy to sell change in the abstract, because people will slot their desired outcome into the vague spaces. Once you nail down details of the process (in favor of Harris? in favor of a brokered open convention? In favor of some specific other candidate?) there's often less popularity.

I say this believing myself that any of these changes might well improve electability because it will be if nothing else exciting, and people respond to spectacle, but I'm not sure these poll numbers are as indicative of the wisdom of that course of action as they look to be.
posted by jackbishop at 7:09 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


mazola, Klein is obviously paraphrasing his conversations with people - but if you read the next thing he says, he explicitly says that these are people directly telling him they are acting they way they are [i.e. supporting Biden publicly] because they don't see Trump as a threat to Democracy. There is no "leap" being made. Listen to that section of the interview (again, roughly the 25min mark) if you don't believe me.
posted by coffeecat at 7:13 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


EK: ...I've had top Democrats say to me basically something like, 'I don't know why all these Democrats who think Donald Trump is an existential threat are acting the way they are. But the reason I'm acting the way I am is because I don't think that."

One decidedly not-top Democrat has said it plainly to the public already.

I will refrain from posting what I would like him to do.
posted by delfin at 7:14 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


The anti-Biden doom loop feels loud right now, but it is largely a phenomenon among those who obsessively follow the news or want to make the news.

This is no doubt somewhat true, but the memes and clips of Biden have circulated well beyond us weirdos who are obsessively following this story.

Most of the voters Biden has won and needs to win again already know his foibles

Sure, but most voters didn't realize how much he had cognitively declined because the administration has been largely hiding him from the public, at least until the debate. And again, the issue here is turnout - I'm less worried about Biden's more public performances causing Trump to gain votes as I am about people staying home. Also, "foibles" is too nice a word for what we saw during the debate.

Voters have been treated to a post-debate drama that has almost exclusively focused on performance versus principle.

No? Again, the post-debate drama has focused on all the evidence leaking out that Biden's support has long been shaky due to what people have observed of his mental capabilities in the last year. If this really was just a blip, and everyone had rallied around Biden post-debate, we wouldn't have had much "post-debate drama."

Let’s be clear: The wishful benefits of a contested convention or a late-stage exit are vastly outweighed by the potential harm.

I've yet to hear a convincing argument for why though - and the main reason I'm skeptical the risks outweigh the benefits is that I've never seen such unity among different factions of the party - like, when was the last time leftists, liberals, and centrists agreed on anything?
posted by coffeecat at 7:22 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


'Jets need to be cooled': Clerk praised for sharing 'serious issues' with ditching Biden

Every state has different statutory deadlines for ballot access and for Absentee Ballots to go out, and it is therefore dependent on identifying those dates and requirements 50 times," wrote Byrum, adding that her "cursory understanding of other states is that that deadline may already have passed for some states, or may be in the VERY near future."

And if Democrats make a swap and follow the rules for each state, they would "almost assuredly see lawsuits flying fast and often" in numerous states, she said. That could "delay and derail" local election offices preparing ballots — and any postponement threatens statutory deadlines.

posted by Artw at 7:32 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


If the system breaks down and a party forfeits the election if the convention selects an unexpected candidate, that seems like somebody really fucked up some of those statutory requirements.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:46 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


And yet…
posted by mazola at 7:51 AM on July 11


If you’re arguing that where we are sucks, the electoral systems that place us in danger suck, the party machinery that let problems with its prefered candidate where outweighed by inertia back when it mattered sucked etc…

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

But I think we are where we are.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Artw, look at the map in the Hill article I link to above - there really isn't a problem as long as the selection happens by the convention.

Anyway, one other thing I've been reflecting on, which touches on the worry (expressed above and elsewhere) that a 'mini primary' would be disastrous because you'd have all the potential candidates attacking each other, is the 2020 primaries. Again, while I'm a registered Democrat, that's just so I can vote in the primaries - my politics are too Left of the party for me to really feel like I am a Democrat. And yet, I'll confess I felt genuinely happy to see so many quality candidates on the debate stage in the 2020 primaries. Like many people, I thought "Well darn, I'd actually feel good about voting for several of them!" And with some exceptions, the debates were overall civil and focused on policy. I have little confidence in the Democratic Party, and yet I'm confident that if Biden stepped down tomorrow and they decided to go with this option, the DNC would make clear to the potential contenders that their political futures (i.e. staying in the DNC's good graces) would depend on avoiding personal attacks, etc. and the contenders would most likely abide because these are people who have practice acting polished and towing the party line. I'm not saying it is a risk-free option by any means, but the doomsday scenario that some seem to imagine doesn't strike me as likely.
posted by coffeecat at 8:06 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


It strikes me as extremely likely and all the bad things you dismiss as unlikely strike me as near certainties TBH. All of this seems like an opportunity to pivot from a boring conventional political setback due to a candidate no longer being good at campaigning to a flashier, bigger disaster with all bells and whistles.

The media are keen on it for a reason.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM on July 11


"no longer being good at campaigning" is by most accounts the tip of the iceberg, but even if it were not, being good at campaigning in an absolutely crucial election for the future of this nation's democracy when you're already down big in battleground state after battleground state seems, I don't know, a pretty important criterion and one that shouldn't lightly be disregarded.
posted by Gadarene at 8:22 AM on July 11 [9 favorites]


a boring conventional political setback

The dude's administration is now, according to reporting on his favorite cable news show, blaming Obama (his supposed bestie) for orchestrating his downfall. There is nothing boring or conventional about this - certainly, I've never seen anything like this is my lifetime.

The media are keen on it for a reason.

Gaslighting is an effective way to enrage people.

all the bad things you dismiss as unlikely strike me as near certainties

Genuinely curious why you think that potential contenders, in a moment where a wide range of stakeholders (voters, politicians, DNC, etc.) want party unity, you think savvy politicians wouldn't be aware that the optics of fighting dirty would be terrible.
posted by coffeecat at 8:28 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]



The dude's administration is now, according to reporting on his favorite cable news show, blaming Obama (his supposed bestie) for orchestrating his downfall. There is nothing boring or conventional about this - certainly, I've never seen anything like this is my lifetime.


Where is this being reported? If this is true, he has to go as a candidate. This is Nixon-level terrible, paranoid messaging and what it says is that they have fucking lost the plot. If this group of people has lost the plot enough to start attacking Obama, not only a towering figure in the party but an extremely popular figure, they don't have the judgement to come in out of the rain, and they are proving the point that they cannot manage the election.
posted by Frowner at 8:37 AM on July 11 [10 favorites]


"For months, if not years, the New York Times has been actively empowering Donald Trump and denigrating President Biden. This is the main thrust of the New York Times Pitchbot account, which mocks the NYT’s ability to spread negativity on every single thing President Biden does. In recent weeks, the NYT has been on a tear, reporting all manner of hysterical stories about Biden’s age. The Times is right in the center of whatever this operation is to kneecap Pres. Biden and VP Harris. But they want to be able to say “hey, we’re not completely anti-Biden!” So here it is, at long last, a New York Times editorial board piece called “Donald Trump is Unfit to Lead.” (note: commentary article, NYT link is within.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:37 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


ABC News, regarding their latest poll:
Two-thirds of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll – including a majority of Joe Biden’s own supporters – say he should step aside as his party’s presumptive nominee for president given his debate performance two weeks ago. That’s even as Biden continues to run evenly with Donald Trump, with no meaningful post-debate change in vote preferences.

Americans divide 46-47% between Biden and Trump if the election were today, almost identical to a 44-46% ABC/Ipsos poll result in April. Among registered voters (though there’s plenty of time to register) it’s an absolute tie, 46-46%.
posted by darkstar at 8:39 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Where is this being reported?

Morning Joe, sourced to "the Biden campaign and many Democratic officials." And yeah, it strikes me as profoundly stupid and Nixonian.
posted by Gadarene at 8:39 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


That’s even as Biden continues to run evenly with Donald Trump, with no meaningful post-debate change in vote preferences.

Great! So the presidential candidate with the most nationwide votes wins, right? Then we've still got a chance!
posted by Gadarene at 8:40 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Normally, the "Barack Obama is a sinister puppetmaster orchestrating destruction from the shadows" flavor is only sold in Breitbart stores and its subsidiaries.
posted by delfin at 8:49 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Please, Joe. Please be normal about Obama.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:53 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


(I miss Jen Psaki and wonder how she would have handled this.) WaPo: Tensions flare between White House and press corps over Biden health Karine is apparently only saying so much and pushing back against people being pushy at her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:54 AM on July 11


> Please, Joe. Please be normal about Obama.

alternately, if being normal about obama is not possible please be as abnormal as possible as obviously as possible as loudly as possible as soon as possible.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 8:59 AM on July 11 [10 favorites]


Where is this being reported?

Morning Joe, sourced to "the Biden campaign and many Democratic officials." And yeah, it strikes me as profoundly stupid and Nixonian.


Sourced is a pretty strong word. From Morning Joe Goes Scorched Earth on Obama, Suggests Jealous Ex-President Is Behind Clooney’s Biden Op-Ed [Mediaite]:
Earlier in the program, Scarborough declared that “The Biden campaign and many Democratic officials do believe that Barack Obama is quietly working behind the scenes to orchestrate this.”
That's kind of light on sourcing (who on the campaign? what level?). As a counterbalance, see blog posts from Stephanie Jones like: "Sources familiar with the call": Don't be manipulated by push-poll gossip-mongering masquerading as journalism or Advice from an Insider: Ignore the Insider-Adjacent Crowd.

So… right now is chaos and we're hearing all kinds of things from all kinds of people. God help us all.
posted by mazola at 9:04 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Chaos beats fatalism. At least everyone is trying to do something instead of standing pat on awful poll numbers and waiting for November.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:09 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I think down ballot activism is the main thing that bears fatalism at this point tbh.
posted by Artw at 9:11 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I miss Jen Psaki and wonder how she would have handled this

She called for Biden to step down pretty shortly after the debate.
posted by coffeecat at 9:13 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Yeah I was going to say activism beats fatalism too.
posted by mazola at 9:13 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


She called for Biden to step down pretty shortly after the debate.

Link to that? I started watching an interview with her this morning, but then had to go to work.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:16 AM on July 11


Sourced is a pretty strong word.

I mean, if you think Biden's favorite TV show is straight up making things up... They wouldn't say that "[t]he Biden campaign" believes this if their source was some flunky stuffing envelopes.
posted by Gadarene at 9:17 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I think down ballot activism is the main thing that bears fatalism at this point tbh.

So cut our losses and try to not lose the House and Senate decisively as well? What do you mean by "down ballot activism" and how does it help us not get a Trump presidency?
posted by Gadarene at 9:19 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Top House Democrat Jeffries wants to hear from 'every single' lawmaker before 'next step' on Biden candidacy – report: The Democratic House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries told Punchbowl News that he is aiming to speak with all 213 of his lawmakers about Joe Biden’s candidacy before “the next step” on supporting his re-election campaign:
posted by mazola at 9:19 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Genuinely curious why you think that potential contenders, in a moment where a wide range of stakeholders (voters, politicians, DNC, etc.) want party unity, you think savvy politicians wouldn't be aware that the optics of fighting dirty would be terrible.

LOL.

I think infighting and it getting dirty is absolutely assured - because it’s the democrats. I think legal challenges are absolutely assured and likely to be successful with a judiciary under hostile control. I think all the mundane shit the poll worker mentioned will be a problem and the hostile judiciary will magnify it. I think the press will continue to blast whatever candidate is picked for reasons that range from quasi legitimate to flat out bigotry in the case of Harris. I think there will not be time to run any kind of campaign. I think the candidate will likely run just as bad a campaign as Joe’s with some remarkable new fuckups added. I think unity will not be achieved.

I think with a time machine maybe some of this could be fixed but we do not have one.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


New Ipsos/ABC poll has Harris running three points ahead of Trump in a hypothetical matchup while Trump beats Biden by one.
posted by Gadarene at 9:22 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


That's kind of light on sourcing

I dunno, it's pretty normal for journalists to protect the identity of their sources if that's what it takes to maintain access. And "Morning Joe" is apparently the favored news show of Biden and his admin, so it seems about as credible as any reporting - I mean, they have something to lose here.

Link to that?

Oop, my memory failed here- I was thinking about her tweet from July 1 (when Biden's people were blaming his debate prep staff) "There are a lot of important discussions and debates about this political moment we are in and the path forward, but the notion that the issue at the debate was the prep process done by people like @RonaldKlain and Anita Dunn who have successfully prepped many candidates including Obama, Clinton and Biden is absurd. It was a bad debate. I have no doubt they were tough, strategic and direct. (Believe me I have seen them in action) but prep does not always determine the outcome. Biden was bad. Important convos about what happens next. But if you are directing your ire at “prep” you are not talking about the right things."
posted by coffeecat at 9:25 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I'm from Texas. Nobody has been able to explain to me how my Presidental vote has truly counted, ever. Neither has the Democratic party ever truly inspired me, despite being the only side that keeps me alive and doesn't pray for my death. They lost to Trump, for god's sake. Fatalism might not be unwarranted in these dark days.
posted by Jacen at 9:28 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


So cut our losses and try to at not lose the House and Senate decisively as well? What do you mean by "down ballot activism".

House, senate, dogcatcher, any level you can think of there’s more you can do than shouting into air about a race you largely can’t effect.

and how does it help us not get a Trump presidency?

We may just get a Trump presidency. Fucked if I know. Probably it will come down to voter suppression versus vote turnout in swing states as usual - if there’s anything you can do about that then great, but treating it as the only race gets us nowhere.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I think infighting and it getting dirty is absolutely assured - because it’s the democrats.

Do you not remember the 2020 primary debates? On stage/in public, it was generally positive. Yes, there was definitely some backdoor deals to make sure Sanders didn't win, but the party came together afterward and united at the convention.

I think legal challenges are absolutely assured and likely to be successful

I see, you think you have more insight than the concuss of legal experts, got it.

I think the press will continue to blast whatever candidate is picked for reasons that range from quasi legitimate to flat out bigotry in the case of Harris.

Why would they do that if the press, on the whole, is center-left and wants Trump to lose?

I think the candidate will likely run just as bad a campaign as Joe’s

Now it's my turn for an LOL - any other candidate would be at the top of their game in terms of cognition and physical stamina, which would automatically mean they'd do a better job - the bar is low. Do you really think Harris would do worse on the debate stage than Biden? You must have a really rotten opinion of her.
posted by coffeecat at 9:32 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Just listened to this. " We talked with Will Stancil, an active social media presence who has prominently skewered the press for an immense double standard toward Trump and Biden. He explains why the Times and the media often seem to crusade more aggressively against Biden’s age than against Trump’s obvious mental unfitness for the presidency. "

I wrote down some direct quotes at the 17-18 minute mark or so:
"The press seems to have decided rather than well, we can do damage even if we can't fully push him out, they seem to have decided everything is pointless, his voters will never abandon him, and at that point you saw a real shift in the coverage to this idea that nothing matters, we have no voice, we have no agency, so we're going to report this anthropologically."

"...a sense of their own agency. In the case of Biden, they feel they have enough urgency, if they find enough negative stories about him, if they can string together this narrative about him being unfit for the office, they can push him out, they can change the entire political landscape. In the case of Trump, their sense is they have no agency. That no matter what they say, what they find, no one will change a vote, no one will care.
I don't think they're wrong to believe..."
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:35 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Coffecat - not going to get into a back and forth but I consider that all pretty thin.

As for having a low opinion of Harris - yes.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on July 11


>Nobody has been able to explain to me how my Presidental vote has truly counted, ever.

voting at the state level in presidential elections is like a tug-of-war contest between the red and blue teams.

Reducing the tens of millions to single people, in Texas 59 people joined the Red team in 2020 vs. 52 on the blue side.

So for 2024 the Blue team needs to find 8 more people out of the 100 adults on the sidelines who didn't or couldn't vote, and/or convince 4 people on the Red side to join the Blue side for the 2024 contest.

Unless the vote margin is 0 or 1, no one vote actually counts in any election, but somehow they all do when taken together.
posted by torokunai at 9:47 AM on July 11


or 3) dig up Perot and have him take 8+ bodies from the Red team, like what almost happened in 1992 and 96 LOL
posted by torokunai at 9:53 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


New York Times editorial board declares Trump ‘unfit to lead’ (Guardian). I kept waiting for someone to post this. (I got no NYT access)

yes, it also says Biden should step down. I think it's too late for that! We cannot trust the courts, some state deadlines will pass, Dems have not shown the focus or competence to weather all that and I can already hear the slobbering of the rabid GOP whipmasters readying themselves to take advantage of the chaos. I am not hyperventilating but I kind of feel like I should be.
posted by Glinn at 10:00 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


In case anyone doesn’t know this, the Republicans want Biden to stay in because they think he’s the easiest to beat. So having a Biden replacement would likely screw thier strategies. I don’t think they could really capitalize on any possible chaos resulting from a new candidate.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:09 AM on July 11 [11 favorites]


Postponing the press conference gives strong leader energy.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:13 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


So if Trump's unfit and Biden should step down, what does the NYT expect to have happen?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:21 AM on July 11


Has the press conference been postponed? As far as I can tell BIden is doing a live Press Conference at 630PM US Eastern today. He's also doing an interview to air in primetime with Lester Holt on Monday. This will overlap with the first night of the Republican National Convention.

Maybe the mods should close this thread though because there is another more recent thread on Biden here.
posted by interogative mood at 10:24 AM on July 11


Probably it will come down to voter suppression versus vote turnout in swing states as usual - if there’s anything you can do about that then great

I just cannot wrap my head around this idea that:

* going through some! literally any! visible, high-profile and public process to select a new Democratic candidate
* who would be running against a deeply unpopular and extremely troubling Republican candidate, likely the least electable candidate the party has ever run
* who would replace an also deeply unpopular incumbent with inescapable questions around his health and capacity
* in the midst of a political environment with half the electorate starving for a reason to be inspired and work for their side
* and a media environment also starving to talk about something exciting in an election year

would depress turnout.
posted by penduluum at 10:25 AM on July 11 [9 favorites]


darkstar: "ABC News, regarding their latest poll:
Two-thirds of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll – including a majority of Joe Biden’s own supporters – say he should step aside as his party’s presumptive nominee for president given his debate performance two weeks ago. That’s even as Biden continues to run evenly with Donald Trump, with no meaningful post-debate change in vote preferences.

Americans divide 46-47% between Biden and Trump if the election were today, almost identical to a 44-46% ABC/Ipsos poll result in April. Among registered voters (though there’s plenty of time to register) it’s an absolute tie, 46-46%.</