Secrets of How Dems Ditch Biden (Spoiler: Bad News, Kamala)


Within President Joe Biden’s first few answers of Thursday night’s first 2024 presidential debate, speculation began ramping up among Democrats over the so-called nuclear option.

For not just months, but much of the past two years, Democrats have privately discussed the possibility of Biden “pulling an LBJ,” as some operatives put it.

Just as former President Lyndon B. Johnson did in March 1968, Biden could, theoretically, call it quits on his re-election campaign.

Yet even if Biden were to somehow make way for the “new generation” of leadership he once alluded to, there’s one big problem with that thought experiment.

A brokered convention—something the Biden campaign has actively planned to avoid, and a throwback to the smoke-filled-rooms era of U.S. politics predating 1968—would be the only way to get rid of Joe.

Unfortunately for Democrats entertaining that fantasy, something else would need to happen for the party to somehow hit the reset button on its nominee.

Vice President Kamala Harris, after everything she’s done to become the first woman vice president and the highest ranking Black woman politician in American history, would also have to call it quits.

“Brokered conventions only exist in the context of people coming into the convention without enough delegates,” a senior Democratic strategist explained to The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to discuss the most taboo topic in party circles at the moment.

Harris, whose approval ratings have also been historically low—and, somehow, consistently lower than Biden’s by a few points—would need to step aside to open up the floor for a truly brokered convention. Otherwise, she would likely inherit Biden’s delegates as his official running mate.

There’s no other way to do it, the Democratic strategist said, than by truly opening that can of worms.

There is no “methodology by which someone who would be the nominee could become not the nominee, because he will win on the first ballot,” the strategist said.

The Democratic strategist, who has worked on presidential campaigns in past cycles in addition to working on Democratic National Committee bylaws, noted that one of the party’s greatest strengths is “bedwetting” following nights like this.

As much as Democrats might wince and want a new choice, the primary already happened. Biden could still voluntarily withdraw, “but then you get into this murky system of what happens to his delegates.”

Coming into the August convention in Chicago, Biden is poised to win the nomination on the first ballot thanks to his 3,894 delegates. A contested convention can only happen if nobody has an outright majority

Then, and only then, would most of the delegates on the floor be freed up to vote for someone else.

“After the first ballot,” the strategist said, “everybody’s cards go into the middle and everyone is reaching into the pile.”

Chaos in Chicago would ensue.

As the pings and dings of worried text messages bounced across Democratic circles following Thursday night’s debate, the senior strategist still tried to project calm.

“The reality is, the vast majority of gettable voters weren’t tuning in tonight,” they said. “Biden looked boring. It just didn’t make for great TV.”

The hope remains that the secondary clips and other pieces of content from the debates won’t have much influence, at least by November—even though many of the same Democrats were excited by the prospect of the earliest ever general election presidential debate to shake up the race.

“Again, this is just fantasyland,” the strategist said of the notion Biden will fall on his sword. “And it’s just one bad debate—one not great debate. It’s not the end of the world.”

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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