Will Biden be the Nominee

Can Democrats Replace Biden?

The question of whether Democrats can replace President Joe Biden as their 2024 presidential nominee has gained traction following his recent debate performance against former President Donald Trump. This article explores the feasibility, potential candidates, and implications of such a move.

Current Political Climate

President Biden’s approval ratings have been on a downward trajectory, exacerbated by a lackluster debate performance. Recent polls indicate that former President Trump leads Biden on key issues such as the economy, immigration, and national security. Biden’s approval rating has dipped to 36%, with significant portions of the electorate expressing doubts about his mental fitness and ability to lead.

Feasibility of Replacing Biden

Replacing an incumbent president as the party’s nominee is an unprecedented and complex process. If Biden were to voluntarily step down, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) would need to nominate a new candidate. This could lead to an open convention where delegates are free to vote for any candidate, potentially causing political upheaval within the party.Party Rules and Delegate Dynamics: Biden secured the support of around 95% of the delegates in the primaries, who are pledged to him but not obligated to vote for him. To deny him the nomination, at least half of these delegates would need to go against him. However, if Biden were to decline the nomination, it would trigger a process to select his replacement, with names like Vice President Kamala Harris, Governors Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and JB Pritzker being potential contenders.Superdelegates’ Role: The party’s superdelegates, who can vote independently, would play a significant role in a contested convention if no candidate secures a majority on the first ballot. Biden could influence the process by endorsing Harris, who is already on the ticket. Yet, there is no certainty that his delegates would shift to her, especially considering her low poll numbers.

Potential Candidates

Several potential candidates have been discussed as possible replacements for Biden. These include:

  • Vice President Kamala Harris: Harris is seen as a natural successor but has her own challenges, including low approval ratings and doubts about her electability against Trump.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom: Newsom has gained attention for his leadership in California and is considered a viable contender.
  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer: Whitmer’s success in a swing state makes her a strong candidate, though she is less well-known nationally.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has a network of supporters from his previous presidential run but faces scrutiny over his tenure as Secretary of Transportation.

Other names mentioned include Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

Challenges and Implications

Logistical and Political Challenges: Replacing Biden would require navigating significant logistical and political hurdles. The DNC would need to organize an expedited primary process or an open convention, both of which could deepen ideological divisions within the party.Impact on Party Unity: A move to replace Biden could lead to internal strife and weaken the party’s cohesion. Key Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are currently divided on the issue. Some senior Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, continue to support Biden, emphasizing his accomplishments.Electoral Implications: Polls suggest that while some Democrats believe a different candidate might have a better chance against Trump, there is no clear consensus on who that candidate should be. Harris, for example, is seen as more competent but less likable compared to Biden. The uncertainty about the electability of potential replacements adds to the complexity of the decision.

Historical Context and Precedents

Historical Precedents: The invocation of the 25th Amendment, a constitutional provision allowing the vice president and cabinet to declare the president unfit for office, remains a distant possibility. Although such a scenario has never been realized, recent events have reignited discussions about its potential application.Past Instances: Historical precedents exist for nominee changes, such as President Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election in 1968. However, the process for determining the major parties’ presidential nominees was not as front-loaded as it is today. Unlike Biden, Johnson hadn’t yet secured enough delegates to nail down the nomination.

Conclusion

While it is technically possible for Democrats to replace President Biden as their 2024 nominee, the process would be fraught with challenges and risks. The party would need to carefully weigh the potential benefits of a new candidate against the risks of internal division and electoral uncertainty. As it stands, Biden remains resolute in his decision to run, and the Democratic Party continues to grapple with the best path forward in a highly polarized political landscape.

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