Democrats tremble and delay the Biden decision

President Joe Biden made a poor debate performance worse with days of wrangling afterward before gaining support among key Democratic policymakers.

Now, Democrats who fear Biden can’t win in November risk repeating that mistake with their own prolonged period of indecision about how to proceed.

Biden ultimately went on the offensive in an attempt to salvage his flagging re-election bid, then followed up with a steady performance at the NATO summit, where Democrats were reluctant to undermine the commander-in-chief. Soon, the spotlight will shift back to former President Donald Trump, his vice presidential pick and the Republican National Convention.

Still, congressional Democrats failed to coalesce around any stance on Biden’s candidacy this week, with some condemning the circular firepower aimed at the president, others urging the presumptive Democratic nominee to bow out ahead of next month’s convention, and still others privately worrying about their prospects in November, but they are not saying anything publicly or to reporters.


A stream of Democratic lawmakers continues to come out against the president. The number of House Democrats publicly seeking Biden’s withdrawal is up to seven. A pair of at-risk Democratic incumbents were among them reported narration their party’s Senate luncheon that Biden can’t win. The leadership has been supportive, if ambiguous in commenting on Biden’s future, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying, “I’m with Joe.”

But the Congressional Black Caucus came out in support of Biden this week, a group whose numbers far outnumber the Democrats who asked Biden to drop out. Rope. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), perhaps the most influential member of the progressive “Squad,” is sticking with Biden.

If anything, anti-Biden Democrats seem to be going wobbly. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) was reported to be among a group of senior Democrats who agreed that Biden should bow out but have since backtracked.

“Whether I’m concerned or not, that’s not the point. He’s going to be our nominee and we all have to support him,” Nadler told reporters on Capitol Hill about his position on Biden.

Late. Mark Warner (D-VA) was said to be pushing Democrats to the White House in pursuit of Biden’s exit, as Republicans did to seek Richard Nixon’s resignation during Watergate 50 years ago next month.

By Monday, Warner had switched to the strongly worded letter method. Less than four months before the presidential election, he said: “Now is the time to talk about the strongest way forward.”

“As these conversations continue, I believe it behooves the president to more aggressively make his case to the American people and to hear directly from a broader group of voices about how best to prevent Trump’s lawlessness from returning to the White House.” Warner continued.

“We have to give the president time,” one Democratic strategist added Washington Examiner. “We owe it to him.”

Democrats worried about Biden’s electability or even his ability to serve after the first presidential debate and a mixed purge attempt are increasingly backing away from his nomination.

Biden is not out of the woods yet. With a few exceptions, the readings look bleak. He trails Trump by more than 3 points in RealClearPolitics the opinion poll average, the first Democrat without a national lead heading into the July 4 weekend in 24 years. Even the hapless John Kerry, the last Democratic candidate to lose the popular vote, was up 2 in RealClearPolitics average on July 9, 2004. Biden’s battleground is worse.

While few Democratic governors are up for re-election this year and many with presidential aspirations are eyeing 2028 instead, Democrats are defending 23 Senate seats this year and the entire House Democratic Conference is up. The non-partisan Cook Political Report moved six Senate races toward the GOP on Tuesday.

“The down-ballot effects of a Biden loss are clear for Democrats. The House would likely be gone. The GOP has opened a lead on the general ballot,” projected CNN political analyst Harry Enten. “If Biden loses, the chance for Democrats to keep the Senate close zero due to the map and WV being a simple GOP pickup.”

If Trump comes out of Milwaukee with anything resembling a convention bounce, the Democratic panic will be hard to contain.

Still, if Biden remains committed to his re-election bid and Democrats fail to agree, he will be hard to unseat. Any move that would push, or even force, Biden out of the race requires a level of consensus that the party is currently not demonstrating.

Several major donors would have to starve Biden’s campaign of contributions, risking Trump opening up a cash advantage he hasn’t had in two previous presidential elections. There would have to be massive defections of delegates committed to Biden, more than 90% of the total pledged delegates eligible to vote on the first ballot, if Democrats try to oust him at a contested convention.


All of this would have to come together quickly. Democrats plan to nominate Biden by virtual roll call before gathering in Chicago, possibly as soon as July 21.

Democrats don’t yet appear ready to move on to Plan B unless Biden reassures them. Slow and steady is unlikely to win the race.

Back To Top