Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Was Biden’s Debate Fiasco a Gift?

Should Biden persist, the remaining four months of the campaign will be consumed by questions of his ability to govern to the end of this term.

Over the weekend, LA Progressive took the quick pulse of its readers about the controversy around President Joe Biden’s terribly weak debate performance and how people opposed to another Donald Trump election think we should move forward.

Of course, no one should confuse this push poll to LA Progressive subscribers with a scientific sampling across all voters, all Democratic Party voters, or any other group save the 194 LAP readers who chose to respond.

And yet, our readers tend to be highly engaged in politics, so their responses do provide some sense of how a particular segment of most leftist or left-leaning readers are headed.

Should Joe Stay?

A quarter of respondents (25.8%) think Joe Biden should press ahead and shift the conversation to Donald Trump’s many egregious faults. And, indeed, repeated recent reports say Biden is fully dug in, that nothing short of God Almighty could get him to drop out of the race.

But a fifth of our respondents (19.6%) say Biden should smell the coffee and gracefully step aside. Another two-fifth (38.7%) say, whatever Biden might want, some mechanism should be put in place, and rather urgently, to pick his replacement. So, that means a decided three-fifths majority (58.3%) think Democrats need a different prudential candidate.

Smaller percentages think voters should line up behind third-party candidates–Robert Kennedy Jr, Marianne Williamson, Jill Stein, or Cornel West–at 11.3% and 4.6% are throwing in the towel and turning their attention to Congressional, state, and local races.

If Not Joe?

Should Biden somehow exit left, respondents suggested the most favored replacements are Kamala Harris (37.3%), Gretchen Whitmer (33.3%), Gavin Newsom (22.5%), and Bernie Sanders (22.1%) led the pack.

Leading the pack for replacement vice presidents were Kamala Harris (27.0%), Gretchen Whitmer (23.5%), Cory Booker (17.2%), and Pete Buttigieg (17.2%).

The poll also asked what people are doing to prepare for the November 5th election and what they see happening in the next four years. Here are selected responses:

If Trump wins, it is Italy in 1922, Spain in 1936, or Turkey in 1920. Take your pick. I would also say Germany in 1933, but Trump will probably not have death camps—he will just round up 20 million people, put them into concentration camps and deport them. If the Dems have a Whitmer & Warnock ticket, they may be able to stop Fascism, but they need to win both Congress and the Senate in order to de-fang SCOTUS and fnally institute a democracy but not if corporate Dems have their way. Right now, this country is sleepwalking into Fascism and calling it "authoritarian tendencies." The country is never going to return to pre-Trump times—those days are gone forever.

If we do stop Trump and elect a Democratic President, and keep the Senate and take back the House, our task as Leftists will be to pressure the corporate Dems who control the Democratic Party to enact legislation that will take the super-wealthy at a high enough rate that they won't have the extra scratch to buy candidates and elections. We'll need to expand the courts and revisit every bad decision this Supreme Court has rendered. We'll need legislation to do that too. We've got a lot of work ahead of us!

If Mr Biden insists on being the Democratic nominee, Mr Trump will become president and he will very likely be joined by the Republican-led Senate and House. No federal criminal charges against Mr Trump will ever go to trial. The Georgia case will linger and become a bad joke.

The Democrats will narrowly win the Presidency, House and Senate. Trump will be convicted on several criminal charges which will be upheld on appeal and he will serve time in jail. A Democratic president will get to appoint 1, 2, or 3 Supreme Court justices. A new liberal Court will begin to reverse the excesses of the Roberts Court. A woman's right to choose will be protected by federal law.

If Biden stays then Trump will win. If Kamala becomes the candidate we will win and we need then to build a United Front Against Fascism where we disarm the opposition. Build community support teams where all people in the Blue side of the equation participate. If Trump wins he probably will have the Senate and the House with him too. Our experiment with democracy will be over. Getting rid of Biden is of paramount importance to save this nation from fascism.

If the Demos get together behind a presidential candidate other than Biden they may win. The MAGA folks may act with violence whether they win or lose or both. We need to remain non-violent and respectful. Then we need to do some deep healing of the existing polarization without selling out on any of our progressive values.

If Biden wins, Social Security will be safe for the future retirees, who unlike politicians want to retire! If Trump wins, he will defund Social Security with a 'Tax Cut' and we will all go back to working until we drop. Just like we did before 1938, everyone worked until they could not and then were a financial drain on their family until they died. Family values, right? Everybody thinks that Capitalism created the middle class, but we have had it since the founding and we never had a middle class until 20 years of Socialism starting in 1933. The 1950's was the Ȝirst time that we ever had a middle class and it was a direct result of 20 years of Social Security!

So Where’s the Gift?

Joe Biden’s debate collapse was not really a surprise to anyone with eyes in their head. Clearly, he’s been in rather steep physical and mental decline for months now–if not longer. No amount of gaslighting by the President’s staff and supporters in Congress and by many streaming media’s talking heads can wish it all away. Voters aren’t and won’t buy it.

The danger is that those insider supporters will unite in lockstep with Biden’s understandable but misguided efforts to prove he’s the “only person who can defeat Trump.”

Should Biden persist, the remaining four months of the campaign will be consumed by questions of his ability to govern to the end of this term, much less the four more years of another term. Forget about real discussions of Trump’s virulent insanity–and any policy issues will only serve as grenades to lob at the other camp.

Kamala Harris, Biden’s logical successor, is often damned for her many failings: she’s too well-spoken, too young, too attractive, too dark skinned, too much the product of her immigrant parents, too much a woman, too much California, too experienced, too well-educated, too charming—you tell us. But, seriously, Kamala at the head of a ticket with a strong running mate would fire up many segments—women, Black women, African Americans, young voters, LGBTQ voters—that haven’t yet shown much enthusiasm for Joe Biden. 

Yes, Kamala Harris might lose the race, having signed on so late, but Joe Biden is almost certain to lose, sullying his solid record as president for all time.

This article originally appeared in the LA Progressive on July 9th, 2024

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