An orderly transition to save the nation...if Biden himself agrees...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2024, 8:25pm PT  

It is well above my paygrade or knowledge base to determine if Joe Biden is fully unfit to run for a second term, whether his debate night performance was an unfortunate one-off bad night or, if as seems more likely, his age is outrunning him.

But if those who know him best and work most closely with him (Congressional leaders, family members) believe it is time for him to step aside for the good of the nation, in service of ensuring the threat that Donald Trump represents and promises does not come to pass --- and, crucially, if Joe Biden himself agrees --- there is a reasonably simple, orderly, largely drama-free path for him to do so in the short time now left before both the Democratic Convention and general election...

He can announce that he is stepping aside for the same reason he ran in 2020: to save the nation from Trump. And, in the same announcement, release his Democratic National Convention delegates --- allowing for an ostensibly "open convention" --- but also endorsing his Vice President, Kamala Harris for President and, at the same time, Gavin Newsom as Vice President.

Of course, all of that should be agreed to by all parties before hand and, again, it must be something that Biden himself agrees and wants to do.

There may be others some might prefer to see than Newsom as VP or even Harris at the top of the ticket. Dems are lucky to have a very deep, smart and talented bench. But, given the late hour, Newsom has already proven he has the requisite national chops in a number of high profile forums. His strength on the ticket would shore up concerns that some may have about Harris who, I believe in this circumstance, would quickly rise to meet the moment.

Biden's endorsement of his Vice President to lead the next ticket --- if Democratic delegates are convinced to agree --- also avoids risking further fracturing of key elements of the Democratic coalition. It would offer continuity for popular Biden policies (whether Americans know about them or not) while, arguably, bringing Americans together behind her run for President in a way which Biden has been struggling for many months to do in his own campaign.

It is clear that Americans do not want another term for Donald Trump. It would be the disaster we all remember from four years ago, but far worse. He has promised as much. But Americans also need a ticket they can rally behind right now, even if there would be initial doubts about both Harris and Newsom until they made themselves better known nationally under the bright lights of a risky, but, yes, courageous and quite reasonable last-minute Presidential campaign.

(I realize that polls show Harris to be even more unpopular than Biden and that the lesser known Newsom also doesn't poll as well against Trump as Biden does --- or, did before Thursday's debate. I also realize that both candidates hailing from California presents some Constitutional electoral college issues, but those should be solvable with Harris declaring her residency in D.C., where she has lived for the past four years.)

Yes, it is all risky. And Democratic primary voters might have chosen a different ticket entirely had Biden bowed out before an open primary process months ago. But we are dealing with reality, not what-ifs.

This plan, in any event, is arguably not nearly as risky as tempting a very dark fate --- and American democracy itself...and the fate of our planet along with it --- with a clearly flawed candidate running against the greatest and most pernicious and most malevolent immediate threat American democracy has ever faced.

While the Democratic National Convention would, in essence, be an Open Convention --- opening the door to the possibility of a embarrassing and chaotic floor fight --- it might be minimized with a pre-convention endorsement of the full ticket by President Biden. Hopefully the majority of his delegates would respect both the endorsement and the public service of the outgoing President at the end of what history will prove to have been an extraordinarily effective term at the most crucial of moments for the nation. I believe it is likely that the bulk of Democrats would step up and come together for the good of the country at the Convention under those circumstances, just as their leader did in bowing out at the moment that it mattered the most to do so.

Just a friendly suggestion.

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