Cracks Widen in Democratic Support of Biden as Debate Rages over Fitness for Office

Joe Biden
by Misty Severi


Cracks in the previously widespread Democratic support for President Joe Biden have begun widening recently over concerns about the president’s fitness for office following his showing at the first debate.

Democrats were spooked last week after Biden participated in a presidential debate against former President Donald Trump. The president’s performance in the debate has been described as a crisis by some commentators, and some insiders suggested the party should consider replacing Biden with a different candidate.

Influential Democrats have largely been supportive of the president publicly, despite the debate performance, but some comments have slipped out that show the unity may be fraying.

“Episode or condition”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the most glaring comments on Tuesday, stating that questions about the president’s health and mental capability to serve another four years are legitimate.

“I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition?” Pelosi said on MSNBC. “When people ask that question, it’s completely legitimate — of both candidates.”

Pelosi said that she has heard mixed opinions on the president recently, but a spokesperson clarified that the former speaker is still supportive of Biden.

“Some [people] are like, ‘Well, how can we subject the [nomination] process to what might be possible?’ Others are, ‘Joe is our guy. We love him. We trust him. He has vision, knowledge, judgment, integrity,'” Pelosi said. “I trust his judgment.”

The former speaker, who holds a lot of sway in the Democratic Party, also suggested that Biden do several unscripted interviews with news outlets to help ease worried voters and Democratic insiders.

Golden says he’s “OK” with Trump winning the 2024 election

Maine Democratic Rep. Jared Golden admitted in an op-ed on Tuesday that he was okay with Trump winning the election in November after Biden’s debate performance, and that he believed democracy was not in any danger under the former president.

Golden, a moderate Democrat, said he was not startled by Biden’s debate showing last week because he had already expected Trump to win the election for months.

“While I don’t plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win. And I’m OK with that,” Golden penned in the op-ed published in the Bangor Daily News. “Unlike Biden and many others, I refuse to participate in a campaign to scare voters with the idea that Trump will end our democratic system.”

Golden also claimed that the House and Senate races were more important than who occupies the White House, and that Congress needs to be prepared to work with either candidate, while also holding them responsible.

“This election is about the economy, not democracy. And when it comes to our economy, our Congress matters far more than who occupies the White House,” Golden wrote. “I urge everyone — voters, elected officials, the media, and all citizens — to ignore the chattering class’s scare tactics and political pipedreams.

“We don’t need party insiders in smoke-filled back rooms to save us. We can defend our democracy without them.”

Although Golden did not specifically state whether he believes the president should drop out of the race, the comments are another indication that Biden is not necessarily the unifier that Democrats hoped for in 2024, even within the party.

Clyburn says he supports Harris if Biden bows out

South Carolina Democrat Rep. James Clyburn commented on the reports that Biden should be replaced by saying that he would support Vice President Kamala Harris if the president exits the race.

Clyburn said that he still supports a Biden-Harris ticket for 2024, but that if Biden does decide to step down as the party’s nominee, he would support Harris over anyone else. He also rejected the idea of moving around Harris to find a different nominee.

“We should do everything we can to bolster her, whether it’s in second place or the top of the ticket,” Clyburn told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday. “I will support her, if he were to step aside. But I’m going to support her going forward and sometime in the future. I want this ticket to continue to be Biden-Harris. And then we will see what happens after the next election.”

Clyburn was seen as instrumental in helping Biden secure the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

“Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory”

Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett was the first sitting House Democrat to call for Biden to drop out of the presidential race on Tuesday, claiming there was “too much at stake” to risk Trump becoming president again.

Doggett said Biden’s debate performance failed to provide some much needed momentum, as he trails Trump in most polls, and that the performance failed to reassure voters of his ability to still govern.

“Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies,” Doggett said in a statement reported by the BBC. “He [now] has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country through an open, Democratic process.”

Voters believe Democrats have higher chance of beating Trump if Biden isn’t nominee

The vast majority of voters appeared to agree with calls for Biden to back out of the race, with 75 percent saying they believe Democrats have a better chance of beating Trump in November if they replace Biden with a different nominee, according to a poll from CNN on Tuesday.

The respondents also answered questions with Biden being replaced as nominee by Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, or Govs. Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

Harris polled the best against Trump in a theoretical match up, with 47 percent of respondents stating they support her over the former president. Biden polled at 43 percent, along with Newsom and Buttigieg, while Whitmer polled lowest at 42 percent of registered voters.

The poll was taken from Friday to Sunday, directly after the presidential debate. There were 1,274 respondents and a margin of error of +/-3.5 percent.

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Misty Severi is a reporter for Just the News.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0



Reprinted with permission from Just the News.

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