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 February 25, 2024

New York Times argues that Democrats can't replace Joe Biden

The New York Times just published a piece highlighting a major difficulty with replacing President Joe Biden on the Democrats' 2024 ticket. 

The problem is that, according to author Jamelle Bouie, at this late stage in the game, it is not so easy to actually replace Biden.

Bouie, here, was specifically referring to an idea from his colleague Ezra Klein, who has suggested that the Democrats could choose a replacement for Biden at the Democratic National Convention.

Klein is one of those Democrats who is concerned about Biden's electability, given public worries about his mental and physical abilities. Accordingly, Klein has argued that Biden ought to step aside and that the Democrats ought to choose someone else.

"Political disaster"

Bouie, in his article, argues that selecting a different candidate at the convention could be a "political disaster" for the Democrats.

Bouie writes:

[A]n attempt to hold an open, brokered convention would immediately run into the basic issue that no candidate would be able to claim any kind of democratic legitimacy, especially if the delegates were free agents unaccountable to the public. The nominee who would come out of this process would have little basis . . . to say that he or she was any better or more viable than any other candidate.

What Bouie is arguing, here, is that the democratic primary process gives legitimacy to a party's presidential nominee, and, without such a process, the legitimacy would disappear.

"The odds of alienating a large part of the Democratic Party coalition would be just as large as the odds of finding an able and competent nominee," Bouie writes.

This brings us to the next question: Who would this replacement nominee be?

Not Harris

There has been significant speculation about potential replacements for Biden, with some suggesting former First Lady Michelle Obama, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Vice President Kamala Harris, and many others.

Klein has argued that Harris would be a good choice, despite her lack of popularity. But, Bouie thinks otherwise.

"It would be difficult for the Democratic Party to win the November election with an unpopular incumbent at the top of the ticket. It would be even more difficult to do so with a divisive nominee - who had neither earned the votes of Democratic voters nor weathered the vetting process of a primary campaign - and a fractured coalition," Bouie writes.

He concludes the article with a summary of his argument against using the convention process to select a replacement for Biden.

Bouie writes:

The thing about a brokered convention, in other words, is that there would be no guarantee the party would get a better nominee than BIden. No guarantee that the nominee would not have serious baggage of his or her own. No guarantee that the process wouldn't fracture the Democratic coalition. And, no guarantee that the party would not end up weaker than where it started.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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