Only Democratic Party Rebellion Can Save the US from Trump

Joe Biden must be willing to give up his candidacy following the disastrous TV debate. But he will only do so if comes under intense pressure from the Democratic Party.

Even in the midst of catastrophe, it is usually possible to find some semblance of a silver lining. If President Joe Biden had delivered a mediocre performance in Thursday night’s televised debate with Donald Trump, nothing would have stood in the way of his continuing candidacy, even as his chances of winning reelection remained slim. But after the shock of Thursday night’s abject performance, something must finally shift within the Democratic Party. Because as long as Biden remains the party’s presumptive nominee, Trump’s return to the White House is almost certain. And this could deal a fatal blow to both American democracy and what remains of the Western international order.

Leading U.S. political commentators and advisers who are either close to the Democrats or who have at least disowned Trump, are now begging Biden to quit the race voluntarily and clear the way for alternative candidates. No one thinks it likely that Biden’s performance will improve as the election campaign continues or in another televised debate. After all, he spent a whole week preparing for this one. The video clips of the night alone are enough to confirm the qualms about his fitness that had troubled many voters for months. If Biden already looked so physically frail and mentally confused at 81, what would he be like by the end of a second term in office, at 86?

Only Biden and his family can decide whether to run or step aside. After encountering no serious opposition during the primaries, practically all the delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago at the end of August have pledged their support to Biden. Yet, this does not mean that all Biden’s friends in the party need stand idly by and wait for a stubborn old man to see what’s really at stake. It is incumbent on the Democrats to avert the impending catastrophe of a second Trump presidency.

The pressure within the party must become so intense in the coming days that Biden’s inner circle can no longer dismiss it as querulous infighting. And the potential alternative candidates must be bold enough to break cover and publicly declare their willingness to run in Biden’s place — not in pursuit of personal ambition, but for the sake of saving the nation.

Risk of a Mudslinging Match

This applies particularly to the Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The relatively young 52-year-old politically moderate yet popular politician, hails from one of the very battleground states that could decide the presidential election. Above all, she has the particular advantage of being a woman. Because it is not enough to persuade Biden to bow out. His vice president, Kamala Harris, who would, under other circumstances, be his logical successor, would also need to step down because she is just as unpopular as her boss. Replacing a Black woman with a white male candidate like California Gov. Gavin Newsom would be seen as an affront by the party’s progressive left wing. And a political argument about identity politics is the very last thing the party needs now.

The risks abound. An open national convention could degenerate into a mudslinging match between the party’s left and right wings, and any candidate nominated in Biden’s place would have a tough job taking on Trump, who appears to be at the top of his game. But anything is preferable to the ignominious defeat of a well-meaning president and the triumph of a dangerous autocrat, who would, by then, no longer let anyone stop him.

About this publication

About Anna Wright 23 Articles
I am a London-based translator, who got properly hooked on languages and regional affairs, while studying German and Russian at Edinburgh University, followed later by an MA in Politics, Security and Integration at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. I have worked in Language Services for many years and hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Translation from the Open University.

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