Dance With The President That Brung You
Joe Biden is in it to win it. Also, Mitt Romney will be missed.
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality. If you were sent this email or are a free subscriber and would like to become a paid subscriber, you can sign up here.
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He Ain’t Going Anywhere
This week, for my MSNBC column, I wrote about the wave of pundit hot takes calling on Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race or boot Vice President Kamala Harris from the ticket. Not only will neither event happen, but they would both be terrible ideas.
First (and this should be obvious), Biden is not dropping out. He’s raised a ton of money, is building his campaign infrastructure, and has no serious primary challenge. He’s running. Second, Harris is not going anywhere. As I note in the piece, “[Black women] are the bedrock of the [Democratic] party, and in an election that will rely heavily on mobilizing Democratic partisans, motivating [them] will be crucial for victory. Anyone suggesting that Biden should drop a Black woman from the presidential ticket to help his reelection chances simply doesn’t understand how Democratic politics works.”
To the latter point, why would any Democrat with presidential aspirations want to replace Harris? Take Gretchen Whitmer, for example. If she wants to run for president someday, the last thing she would want to do is step over Kamala Harris’s political carcass to get there. Good luck in winning over Black voters in Democratic primaries in 2028.
There’s also the problem that vice presidential picks generally have zero direct impact on voter decision-making. To the extent a running mate does matter, it influences how voters feel about the top of the ticket. From that perspective, booting Harris would be the ultimate self-inflicted wound. Joe Biden’s brand is that he is a no-drama politician (in stark contrast to Donald Trump). There’d be no better way to shatter that image than for Biden to make a panicked move like dumping his loyal vice president a year before the election.
Lastly, Biden has already beaten Trump. And he’s an incumbent president … and incumbents usually win reelection. Beyond that, he is an experienced candidate on the national stage. No other Democrat, except for Harris, can say that. Whitmer or Gavin Newsom might seem like great options on paper, but running in California and Michigan is nothing like running for president.
Moreover, Biden is surrounded by advisors who have been down this road before. They know how to run a national campaign. They know how to deal with the press. They have a campaign infrastructure in place and, even more importantly, have had two and a half years to map out a political strategy to win in 2024. All of that matters. The idea that a candidate can snap their fingers and put a successful campaign in place less than five months before the first Democratic primary is not grounded in reality.
Ron DeSantis’s disastrous presidential campaign is a good reminder that what works on a state level doesn’t so easily translate to a presidential race — and that having staff with presidential experience makes a huge difference.
Having Said That …
To be completely clear, I understand what’s driving these calls for Biden to drop out. His approval numbers stink. In head-to-head polls, he’s running neck-and-neck with a deranged lunatic, and he will be the oldest incumbent president to ever appear on a presidential ballot. In short, he’s got flaws.
But flawed incumbents are still better than unknown candidates who have never run a presidential race and have not been vetted nationally. Biden, warts and all, is still a better bet than the alternative — in part because we have no idea what the alternative to Biden would look like. The pundits calling for him to step down are failing to consider the consequences of changing horses in midstream. For better or for worse, Democrats are going to war with Joe Biden.
See Ya Later, Pierre Delecto
Earlier this week, Mitt Romney announced that he would not for reelection to the US Senate. He will be missed.
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