What Would Happen If the Democrats Replaced Biden With... Nobody?

Townhall Media

Waking up this sunny Susitna Valley Saturday morning, it seems like Thursday's initial presidential debate was a hundred years ago. It's a lovely day, the birds are singing, our flowers are in full bloom - and here I sit, thinking about politics. 

It's inevitable, of course, given the line of work I'm in. But sometimes interesting things pop into my mind in the middle of the night. Last night, before I fell asleep, I surfed some coverage of the fallout from the aforementioned debate and the common threads seem to be:

  1. How can the Democrats convince Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to step down?
  2. Who will replace them?

Kamala, of course, has to be persuaded to step away if the Democrats want any chance at winning this thing (and candidly I think that's a lost cause at this point.) She's a terrible campaigner, and listening to her speak is about as much fun as being catheterized. But my colleague Bob Hoge's reporting on the NY Times calling for old Joe to resign triggered a new thought. 

Bob wrote:

If you were a New York Times reader Friday morning, you might have been surprised that the leftist rag that has “All the News That's Fit to Print" on its masthead didn’t have room on its front page to mention Joe Biden’s disastrous Thursday night performance at the presidential debate against Donald Trump. Seriously. They acted as if the biggest news story in the nation never happened and only printed a small box on the bottom corner to indicate there was further coverage inside.

But they knew it happened, and they knew it was a disaster—because their editorial board has now called on Biden to exit the race to "serve the country."

For a newspaper that was until very recently a loyal cheerleader for the president and a prominent source of gaslighting about his mental deterioration, the words were flabbergasting:

The clearest path for Democrats to defeat a candidate defined by his lies is to deal truthfully with the American public: acknowledge that Mr. Biden can’t continue his race, and create a process to select someone more capable to stand in his place to defeat Mr. Trump in November.

It is the best chance to protect the soul of the nation — the cause that drew Mr. Biden to run for the presidency in 2019 — from the malign warping of Mr. Trump. And it is the best service that Mr. Biden can provide to a country that he has nobly served for so long.

Here's the problem; the Democrats don't really have anyone more capable. Less senile, perhaps, but that doesn't translate to more capable.

See Related: Replace Joe Biden on the Democrat Ticket? Be Careful What You Wish For.

Here's my new thought: What if the Democrats conceded this election right now - and didn't run anyone? Let Donald Trump run against RFK Jr, Cornel West, and Jill Stein, and just walk away.

The last time a presidential candidate ran unopposed by a major party challenger was when James Monroe ran as the Democratic-Republican candidate in 1820, as the Federalist Party was imploding; that rings a familiar bell, if you look at today's two major parties. Before that, the only other instance was when the enormously popular George Washington ran unopposed in 1788. It's the 1820 comparison that's interesting, as the Democrats seem on the edge of imploding, not just over Biden's failures as a president and his ongoing mental and physical deterioration, but over the nutcase "progressive" wing of the party growing daffier by the day. What might replace the Democrats, should they collapse completely, is a topic for another day.

See Related: Oddsmakers: Biden's Chances of Winning Reelection Fall off a Cliff After Disastrous Debate Implosion

Biden Staffers Freak Out After Debate, as Ro Khanna Tattles on Who Would 'Help Govern' Country

While it's been over two hundred years since a presidential candidate ran unopposed, there is a more recent example of a candidate being recruited by both major parties. In the 1952 election, the popular former Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower's candidacy for President was sought by Democrats and Republicans alike, with no less than President Harry Truman pressing the general to run on the Democratic ticket. Still, in the end, Ike declared as a Republican and handily won in 1952.

But the odds of the Democrats trying to recruit Trump now, of course, are about the same as Trump gaining Jill Stein's endorsement and asking her to run as his VP candidate, so let's focus on the Democrats conceding the 2024 election for this discussion.

Loathe as I am to offer advice to an opponent - as Sun Tzu is rumored to have said, when your enemy is in the process of making a mistake, let him - this wouldn't be the Democrats' worst option. 

Withdrawing from the race and focusing on internal issues might actually be a good thing for the Democrats. They are already rife with internal problems; their pro-Hamas and pro-socialist "progressive" wing may gain some ground in places like San Francisco, Oakland, and Portland, but they aren't doing the Dems any favors in the Rust Belt or in farm country, both of which used to yield a substantial Democrat vote. Yielding the 2024 election would allow them to concentrate a few years on building their team, finding a viable candidate for 2028, squashing their internal problems, and actually forming a cohesive team whose appeal goes beyond university campuses and wealthy urban enclaves.

This could lead to another interesting development, and this one may not benefit the Democrats; conceding one election now, months ahead of the event, would propel the most popular independent candidate - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - into suddenly being the #2 contender. This might finally result in the third-path breakthrough that advocates for ending the two-party lock on elections have been seeking, and may well spell the end of the Democrats as a national party. 

It's a pretty problem.

In all candor, though, while it's fun to speculate, the Democrats aren't about to do any such thing. As of this writing the Bidan campaign shows every indication that they intend to go down swinging, and much good may it do them. A catastrophic loss and four more years of Trump may teach the Democrats a lesson in candidate selection and appeal to a broader base - then again, it may not. But speculation is fun, and besides, this election, more than any I've ever seen - and I started in political activism at 18 when I was a campaign volunteer for Ronald Reagan's 1980 candidacy - we are walking into undiscovered territory.

Stick around, dear readers. I suspect things will get much more interesting before all this is over.



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