Business Leaders Piling on, Asking Joe Biden to Step Aside

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As the saying goes, the beat goes on, and the beat among national Democrats these days has been "Joe's Gotta Go." Last week's debate debacle has turbocharged efforts to get the befuddled president to at least abandon his campaign if not resign outright; on Wednesday, a group of prominent business leaders joined the call.


Leadership Now Project, a coalition of 400 politically active current and retired executives who mostly but not entirely lean left, issued a statement on Wednesday urging Mr. Biden to “pass the torch of this year’s presidential nomination to the next generation of highly capable Democrats.”

The statement is unsigned, but Daniella Ballou-Aares, the group’s founder and chief executive, said that it was supported by an overwhelming majority of the members of Leadership Now Project.

The membership includes Jeni Britton Bauer, the founder of Jeni’s Famous Ice Cream; Thomas W. Florsheim Jr., the chief executive of the footwear maker Weyco Group; Eddie Fishman, the managing director of the investment firm D.E. Shaw & Company; John Pepper, the former chief executive of Procter & Gamble; and Paul Tagliabue, the former commissioner of the National Football League.

This group has only called on President Biden to surrender his campaign, not to resign from the presidency, and it's undeniable that his candidacy seems to be cratering along with his cognitive ability. The problem is that there are few options available that don't result in Donald Trump 2, Electric Boogaloo.


See Related: NYT/Siena College Poll Taken After the Debate Shows Trump Lead Growing Over Biden 

WH Reporters Explain Failure to Cover Biden's Issues More and It's a Scary Window Into Bias

There's more; some of the business leaders are concerned that the decision is being held too close to Biden's family, who, in all candor, have the most to gain by dragging this thing out.

In an interview, Ms. Ballou-Aares, a business executive who was a senior State Department adviser during the Obama administration, said she had been disturbed by the messaging from the White House and other Biden supporters in recent days.

“This sense that this is a small group family decision is not good for democracy,” she said, calling it “really inconsistent with where people were after watching the debate.”

It's not hard to see why they are calling for Biden to step away from his campaign, as that's going to be a much easier case to make than looking for the president to resign outright, but both options present difficulties for Democrats — and both options put Trump back at the Resolute Desk, barring some horrendous misstep on the part of either Trump or Republicans (which, to be fair, we cannot rule out). 


Were Joe Biden to resign outright, that propels Kamala Harris into the top job. As far as polling goes, Kamala Harris enjoys an approval rating comparable to root canals; listening to her speak is about as much fun as getting your belt loop caught on a door handle. But replacing the first woman of color (I can say woman because I actually am a biologist) with some impeccably coiffed white guy would be, at that point, all but impossible without ripping the Democratic Party asunder, possibly beyond repair. Net result: Trump wins the election.

Were Joe Biden to just abandon the campaign, that would present a whole new list of problems. What happens to Biden's pledged delegates? They can only easily be moved to the other person on the ticket, Kamala Harris, and then — well, see above. What about the campaign funds? That's unclear; can they be moved to the other person on the ticket? Can they be moved to someone who might actually stand a chance of winning? Also, before the convention, Joe would have to leave voluntarily; it's not at all clear he is even considering doing that. After the convention? Different story.

See Related: Yes, Democrats Can Replace Biden - With Newsom or Anyone They Want. Here's How.


None of those would bode well for Democrats. Any option — Joe Biden resigns outright, Joe Biden abandons the campaign and hands the reins to someone else, or Joe Biden is forced out after the convention — will result in deep and lasting rifts in the Democratic Party that may take a generation (and a return to some semblance of sanity) to heal. Net result: Trump wins the election.

These business leaders, almost all of them left of center, and all of them concerned about the stability of the country, are worried. Democrats are showing signs of desperation. As each day passes the road ahead looks worse for Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular. 

For Republicans, on the other hand, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.



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