by Thomas Hoffman
Real Time host Bill Maher recently joined the chorus of those calling for President Biden to not run for re-election. Maher compared President Biden to the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg who “did damage to their party and country.” Maher may have a point. There is no question, President Biden’s age is a factor and hindrance. When trying to decide if Biden should run for re-election, it is important to factor in why Biden won in the first place. Biden won the 2020 nomination for three reasons: fear of Trump, fear of Trump, and fear of Trump. Biden then went on to win the general election for yet another three reasons, COVID, COVID and COVID. This may further suggest President Biden should not be the nominee. Lighting never strikes the same place twice, at least not political lightning. If Biden has in fact used up all his lighting, the time to prepare an alternative is long overdue.
If Biden does pull out, Governor Gavin Newsom of California has been touted as an acceptable alternative. Some considered Senator Duckworth of Illinois to be a perfect Vice President choice for Biden in 2020. Perhaps a Newsom/ Duckworth ticket would be a potential alternative to Biden/Harris? Others have called for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to replace Biden.
There is one major flaw in the argument against a Biden 2024 run. Despite any concerns (legitimate or fabricated) about ageism, despite Biden’s gaffes, despite his unpopularity, Biden brings one credential to the table that Newsom, Whitmer, and no other Democrat can come close to bringing – the power of being an incumbent. Any candidate besides Biden running against Trump would be at a tremendous disadvantage.
Republican or Democrat, incumbents usually win. Trump would be in the unique position of having incumbent power without currently being an incumbent. For any Democrat besides Biden, going up against Trump would be the equivalent of an outsider running against an incumbent President. Current polls have Trump thwarting Newsom.
If Biden had chosen Newsom or Whitmer as Vice President, Newsom and Whitmer would be in the perfect position to take over as a “Biden 2.0.” However, due to pressure from the far-left, Biden was forced to select Harris. Whether fair or not, Vice President Harris’s approval ratings are lower than President Biden’s.
If the Democratic nominee is in fact an outsider, then that person should be made an insider now. In other words, that person should be in the White House now. Not as president, but perhaps as Chief of Staff? If Governor Newsom is to replace President Biden, Newson should be installed as Chief of Staff immediately. Someone actively serving in the administration would be the only one with a possible chance of thwarting Trump. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken could be an acceptable alternative, as an incumbent Secretary of State would be almost similar to an incumbent Vice President. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would also have the advantage of actively serving in an incumbent administration. Yellen would also have the advantage of being part of an incumbent administration, but be able to distance herself from the foreign policy blunders like Afghanistan.
Some have mocked Newsom for running “silently” against Biden. But a silent primary challenge is exactly what is needed. If someone were to challenge Biden in the same fashion Senator Ted Kennedy challenged President Carter in 1980, both would lose. Kennedy’s primary took the fight out of Carter. So in order to prepare an alternative to Biden without hurting Biden, one must be …silent. Whether Biden runs or not, it is time to start creating a Biden 2.0 just in case. But silently.
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