The Biden Conundrum

Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
The Biden Conundrum California Governor Gavin Newsom surrounded by reporters after the 27 June 2024 presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. (photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg)

On a good day never believe you are as good as your ego beacons you to believe you are and on a bad day never believe you are as bad as your worst fears.

Thursday 27 June, 2024 was a bad night for Joe Biden. However applying the principal that every action causes an opposite and equal reaction, it was Biden’s good fortune to be standing on stage beside a man who was a surly lout and in general, an absolute horror show.

The unavoidable problem with old age is that it doesn’t get better with time. The Joe Biden we saw onstage debating Donald Trump in 2024 was markedly less vigorous and vital than the Joe Biden who faced off then President Trump in 2020.

Bob Woodward sitting in with Ari Melber on MSNBC wondered out loud about what the back story on Biden’s health might be. While speculation is usually not helpful Woodward’s question is unavoidable and compelling.

The conundrum obviously is, what is to be done. Joe Biden is the President of the United States, if he chooses to run for a second term it is all but inconceivable the Democratic Party would force him to step aside. But he could potentially be persuaded to relent, however it’s important consider that possibility in context.

Regardless of what Biden may say he had long aspired to the presidency. Winning in 2020 and rising to the oval office was the pinnacle and defining moment in his career. In addition Biden seems to see himself as best suited to defeat Trump in 2024. He sees it as a sacred responsibility one he is deeply reticent to abandon. So convincing him step aside voluntarily will not be easy.

Who could step in at this late stage? The three names that are surfacing in the moment are Vice President Kamala Harris, California Governor Gavin Newsom and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The key is not necessarily who could handle the job of being President, all three are competent and prepared. The key is who has the best chance of defeating Trump. Defeating Trump being existential imperative.

Harris and Buttigieg both ran in 2020 and neither did particularly well. Both drew some interest, both would later get positions in the Biden administration but neither was able to generate the kind of national enthusiasm among voters that would portend a strong showing in a general election against Trump.

Gavin Newsom seems razor sharp. He displays the communication skills normally associated with the presidency. In addition his demo debate with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis if nothing else showed his potency in direct confrontation with authoritarian demagoguery.

So in conclusion, the overwhelming consensus appears to be that Joe Biden should be persuaded to pass the baton and in my view Gavin Newsom looks like the surest option to unite the left and dispatch Trump again.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

EXPLORE THE DISQUS SETTINGS: Up at the top right of the comments section your name appears in red with a black down arrow that opens to a menu. Explore the options especially under Your Profile and Edit Settings. On the Edit Settings page note the selections on the left side that allow you to control email and other notifications. Under Profile you can select a picture or other graphic for your account, whatever you like. COMMENT MODERATION: RSN is not blocking your comments, but Disqus might be. If you have problems use our CONTACT PAGE and let us know. You can also Flag comments that are seriously problematic.

rsn / send to friend

form code