washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Pros and Cons of Biden Resigning

In the wake of  the the first presidential debate, I put together a list of 20 reasons why President Biden might and might not end his bid for re-election:

Reasons why Biden should stay on:

It’s only one debate. A good candidate can have an off night.

“You dance with the one who brought you,” as one CNN commentator put it. Biden won all of his primaries, fair and square.

Biden’s answers to the questions were substantial, certainly no worse than Trump’s responses. Don’t get so freaked out by appearances.

Replacing Biden after he won all the primaries would be a bad look for a party that extolls democracy.

The how and when of picking a “replacement” are highly problematic. If the party goes with someone other than Vice President Harris, it risks a critical mass of Black voters and women not voting.

It’s the track records that really counts. Biden’s is good and Trump is still vulnerable, especially on his abortion policy and Supreme Court choices.

Even if voters believe Biden is showing some signs of cognitive decline, Trump is showing signs of mental illness (google “batteries, undersea and sharks,” for example), as well as moral depravity.

There are growing numbers of high-turnout senior voters who have switched to favoring Biden over Trump. Biden quitting under pressure might piss off a significant number of them.

The President’s advisors have a pivotal influence on decision-making. President Biden has excellent advisors, certainly compared to Trump’s band of extremists, loonies and corrupt lapdogs.

Keeping Biden would prevent a bruising fight over his successor.

Reasons Why Biden Should End His Re-Election Bid

There is still time for a new Democratic presidential  candidate to look like a good choice.

Vice President Harris is highly-capable, despite experiencing the usual disparagement that attends her office. Allowing her to head the ticket would show consistency and respect for the democratic process. She could generate excitement in choosing her running mate.

Democrats have an impressive bench of younger alternatives, if Harris doesn’t replace Biden at the top of the ticket. A partial list: Govs. Beshear (KY); Whitmer (MI); Shapiro (PA);  Newsom (CA); Sens. Warnock (GA) Casey (PA) and Klobuchar (MN);  Reps. Sherrill (NJ); Swalwell (CA); ; Khanna (CA); Minority Leader Jeffries (NY) Sec’y Buttigieg and many others.

Damaging images of the first debate will be relentlessly replayed in Republican campaign video clips from now until Election Day if Biden stays on.

The first debate debacle would be largely forgotten by November, with a new leader making the headlines.

Republicans would squawk, but a “that was then, this is now” argument by Dems could win the day.

A new presidential candidate could be the “fresh face” many voters long for.

All of a sudden, Trump would be the too-old guy. It would flip the age issue in a way that helps Dems.

Democrats could build a compelling case for winning back alienated young voters. Dems could be re-branded as the party that has an inspiring vision for a better future.

A young presidential replacement candidate could run for two terms, the second time with an incumbent’s advantage.

Above all, Democrats should not panic. As President John F. Kennedy said, “Every crisis has both danger and opportunity.” One opportunity is to show Democrats are competent at crisis management, a desirable quality for a governing party. Another is to switch the media focus to the interesting, positive changes in the Democratic Party. A third is to showcase the Democrats’ impressive bench of young, upcoming leaders. If Biden decides to stay, Democrats can unite around defeating Trump, who remains vulnerable, no matter who he runs against.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.