The aftermath of the first presidential debate has not been favorable for the incumbent, Joe Biden, as it intensified concerns about his age rather than alleviating them.
Reports suggest that some Democrat politicians and operatives expressed their hopes that the 81-year-old Biden would step aside, with some even considering going to the White House to publicly voice their concerns about his candidacy.
“What’s Joe Biden’s superpower? That he’s a good guy who will do the right thing for the country. In this case, that’s stepping aside and letting the DNC choose another nominee,” Andrew Yang, who ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2020 wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Will Biden drop out?
If Biden were to withdraw, the Democratic Party’s nominee would be officially chosen at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Chicago from 19-22 August. According to DNC rules, delegates are “pledged” to Biden and bound to support his nomination. However, if he were to drop out, there would be no official mechanism for him or anyone else in the party to choose his successor, resulting in an open convention where delegates would be free to choose as they please, potentially leading to a frantic contest among Democrats vying for the nomination.
Hostile takeover of nomination unlikely
Forcing Biden out is an even less plausible scenario, as a major national party has never attempted a hostile takeover of the nomination in the modern political era. Although DNC regulations have small loopholes that could theoretically allow delegates to “in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them,” there is no evidence of any serious plans to push Biden out.
Could VP Kamala Harris replace Joe Biden?
If Biden were to step down during his presidential term, vice-president Kamala Harris would automatically take his place. However, the same rules do not apply if he withdraws as a candidate for the November election, and there is no mechanism that would give the vice-president an advantage at an open convention. Harris would have to win the majority of delegates, just like any other candidate, and her relatively low popularity among the American public may diminish her advantage.
Other possible candidates
Other potential candidates who could replace Biden include Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, writer Marianne Williamson, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
However, none of these candidates have shown any interest in replacing Biden, with Newsom stating, “I will never turn my back on President Biden. I’ve spent a lot of time with him and I know what he’s accomplished in the last three and a half years. I know what he’s capable of and I know his vision and I have no trepidation.”