What Is Joe Biden’s Plan?

ElectionsWhite House Joe Biden
What Is Joe Biden’s Plan?

There is a sense of panic and malaise in the Democratic Party as it deals with a stubborn gerontocrat who refuses to step down in the face of most objective reality. It is incredibly difficult to see a real path to the presidency for Joe Biden right now, and he is dragging his fellow Democrats up for reelection to hell with him. A new poll out today has him running twelve points behind Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

The situation is beyond dire and there currently is no obvious path off this road to a second Trump presidency. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with that schmuck Congressman Ritchie Torres, who told Semafor, “Those publicly calling on President Biden to withdraw should ask themselves a simple question: what if the President becomes the Democratic nominee? The drip, drip, drip of public statements of no confidence only serve to weaken a President who has been weakened not only by the debate but also by the debate about the debate.”

Obviously, it would be better if Biden stepped aside to make the case for a coconut-centric White House, but that does not seem possible right now. Drop Site, a new venture helmed by former Intercept reporters Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Grim, spoke to Democratic donor Dmitri Mehlhorn who explained Biden’s stubborn logic as best as I have seen it laid out:

“Joe Biden is haunted by the fact that in 2016, he listened to these arguments. And he’s right. We were all wrong. If he’d run in 2016, we would not be here. A lot of people—not us as much this time—but a lot of people made those same arguments to him in 2020 and he stubbornly, stubbornly resisted all of them. And he saved us.”

“And so the question is, is there an argument for Joe Biden to step down? And the answer is, well, if he were to plummet in the polls, which would be the result—if all these arguments are correct about how he’s being perceived—that might change his mind.”

If you, like me, believe in your bones that Bernie would have won in 2016, similar logic follows that Biden would have too. I can totally understand being bitter over the party yet again choosing big-D Democracy over small-d democracy, especially when they beclowned themselves in front of all mankind and proved Biden right. Joe Biden telling the party to piss off in 2024 because of his (assisted) 2020 win over a crowded primary is also a semi-reasonable stance to take.

But backwards-looking analyses will only take you so far in a crisis. At a certain point you must address the root of it, which was the President of the United States shaking the confidence of the voters in his ability to do his job in front of an audience three and a half times larger than those who watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship. It certainly did not help when he reinforced those concerns in a shaky interview with ABC a week later. For all we know we might have a national security crisis on our hands where after certain hours, we’re not sure who is exactly in charge.

Joe Biden created this mess, and he must fix it.

The consistent polling collapse supposedly necessary to get Joe Biden to listen to reason is at least a week away, so to return to the Congressman from Tel Aviv New York’s point: what if polls float back up a bit and Biden doesn’t get the sustained drop needed to leave the race? What if we’re stuck with this guy? What is all this hysteria actually doing other than damaging an already weakened candidate? We’re digging our own grave here!

What’s the Plan, Folks?

Essentially threatening the party with a murder-suicide is a neat little short-term trick to stay in power, but if current polling holds, it will only buy Biden another four months of non-lame duck presidenting. If he’s really dedicated to staying in power as long as his body will let him, he must change the narrative around this election, but how?

First, he needs to stop the flood of leaks from his own party and quell their doubts about whether he is the guy to prosecute the case against Trump. Second, he must find a singular galvanizing message for the entire party to rally around, and “Trump bad” ain’t it.

Maybe look to Arizona, Nebraska and Arkansas for inspiration on where grassroots enthusiasm lies on protecting abortion. Alabama could be instructive to the pro-labor energy coursing through America’s veins right now too. There are many activists out there to activate and help give the campaign a jolt in the arm, and all it takes is a deft touch from the party to embrace their concerns in a tangible and effective manner, as it did in 2020. In a vacuum, it’s not inconceivable that the White House could turn this election around and regain the voters it has lost.

But can this White House do that? Biden didn’t even mention abortion in his closing statement in the debate. There was a Democratic Party meeting to address the elephant in the room today. Let’s see how that went!

Biden seems to think that running the 2020 playbook again is enough, and that simply saying his favored line of “don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative” over and over again can thread the needle to the White House.

Again, in a vacuum, this logic might be correct in a polarized world where stuff like lucky rain patterns could create the edge needed to win, but even then, Biden would be giving up any potential for a broad public mandate on policy heading into his second term, and a thin-margin election also means potentially losing a friendly Congress. His only path to power is through a severely divided nation, and this is in the scenario where he can theoretically turn things around.

But we don’t live in a vacuum, we live in a world where the president has shaken America’s confidence in him, and the longer he takes to fix it, the more difficult it will be to restore. This isn’t 2020 and he isn’t the same candidate. If Biden really is going to do this, he needs a new plan to address his own proven weakness that voters have been voicing concerns about since the 2020 Democratic primary.

And so far, he has not made that clear. Yet again we see this brain-wormed Democratic notion that everyone inherently agrees with them and thus will assume that Trump is less fit for office than Joe Biden is, but polls have long been proving that to be untrue. Simply stating things like “Google Project 2025” does not effectively communicate the danger Joe Biden is trying to ameliorate. He must forcefully address reality as it is, not as he wishes it to be.

The reality, according to one of his own pollsters, is that he is less popular than both the alternative and the Almighty, and he is staring down the barrel of a historic wipeout, as the map is currently situated as such.

Trump is also historically unpopular, and this terrifying image is just a snapshot in time, but it will portend the future unless Joe Biden either steps down or executes a plan to regain America’s confidence. The former seems less possible by the day, and so far, the latter doesn’t look much likelier either. Ritchie Torres is unfortunately right; we’re stuck on a sinking ship with no plan, and the more we talk about it the faster it sinks. Joe Biden is the only man who can save us from another Trump administration, and so far, he has proven either unwilling or unable to do so.

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