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Replacing Biden – A Hail Mary Pass Destined to Fall Short

Back Biden or abandon him?

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Politics

After Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance on Thursday, June 27, even many Democrats have called for the president to withdraw from the White House race. But he is the presumptive nominee this far along in the process, which presents a major problem for the party – assuming there is even a way to replace him. Can Biden beat Trump now that the public has seen how far he has fallen? Could another candidate, at this point in the process, have a chance of winning over the voters or, for that matter, appearing on enough ballots to matter? Either way, by backing Biden to begin with, the Democratic Party seems to have stepped between a rock and a hard place with no path out.

Replacing Biden – Is It Even Possible?

First and foremost, it must be pointed out that Joe Biden won 99% of the bound delegates in the primaries. That means he has far more delegates required by law to vote for him than he needs to become the party’s nominee. The only way Joe Biden feasibly gets replaced at the nominating convention is if he chooses to step aside, which seems unlikely, given his ambition and stubbornness. Still, it remains an outside possibility.

Some, however, have speculated that it’s simply too late to replace him, as the state filing deadlines have already passed. That’s true for the primaries but not for the deadlines by which major parties – that’s Democrats and Republicans – must submit their candidate names to the various secretaries of state. Ballotpedia dug through the relevant regulations for each state and found that, for the most part, Democrats do indeed still have time to get a new candidate on the general election ballot nationwide. None have an explicit and clear deadline that has passed, but there are nine states – Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Rhode Island –  that don’t specify a date by which the candidates must be reported, though some of them do give dates by which the delegates have to be assigned.

Some of those states could present a problem for Democrats if the powers that be decide to interpret the vague laws to mean it’s too late. That said, the states in which that seems likely to happen probably aren’t states he’d have won anyway – Florida and Kansas, for example. On the other hand, Connecticut’s confusion likely wouldn’t matter. With the massive trifecta of power Democrats hold in the legislature and governorship, changing the law to explicitly allow the candidate swap probably isn’t a big ask – assuming the Democrat secretary of state can’t or won’t simply issue an interpretation that covers it.

Swing states Arizona and Nevada could be a problem. And if the president and his colleagues dally too long, they’ll miss the July 9 deadline in Georgia – another swing state they can ill afford to lose. Should a replacement fail to make the ballot, he or she would have to rely on a write-in campaign to win those states. That’s possible, of course, but presumably not very likely – especially as Biden’s name would still be on those ballots, potentially confusing at least some voters into opting for a guy who isn’t at that point running.

Keep the Faith, Joey!

Joe Biden has oft quoted his grandfather as telling him to “keep the faith,” and his grandmother responding: “No, Joey. Spread it.” It seems his family is once again telling him to keep the faith. The president met with his family at Camp David over the weekend, and they reportedly told him to stick it out.

Moments after the debate, left-wing news organizations and talking heads began calling for his withdrawal, but by Sunday, the narrative had changed again. TV personalities now say it was just “a bad day” – everyone has those, you know. His family says he must stay in the race, and senior party members and big donors are exasperated at how his staff prepared him. Of course, in the face of all the chaos of attempting – and quite likely failing – to successfully pitch another candidate this late in the game, they’ve little choice but to stand by their man.  All that, combined with what we know of Biden’s personality, suggests there’s no way he’s bowing out. Democrats are stuck with him, whether they like it or not.

And besides, there’s another debate on Tuesday, September 10. He can redeem himself! That’s the hope of the Democratic Party, in any case, as at that point it really will be too late to replace him. Biden and Trump will, by then, already be the official nominees, and the ballots in at least 40 states will be set in stone. If he decides to keep moving forward now, there’s simply no turning back later.

Read More From James Fite

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