Is Biden Bluffing or Do Democrats Have a Defendable Strategy?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul11,2024 #finance

From many corners, there’s intense pressure on Biden to stand down. Nate Silver suggests Biden is bluffing, perhaps in a MAD way. I disagree.

George Clooney Implores Biden to Step Aside

In a New York Times Op-Ed, George Clooney says I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.

I’m a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I’m proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my participation in the democratic process and in support of my chosen candidate, I have led some of the biggest fund-raisers in my party’s history. Barack Obama in 2012. Hillary Clinton in 2016. Joe Biden in 2020. Last month I co-hosted the single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever, for President Biden’s re-election. I say all of this only to express how much I believe in this process and how profound I think this moment is.

But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “big F-ing deal” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.

Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.

Stephanopoulos Says Biden Cannot Serve Four More Years

The Guardian reports ABC anchor caught on video saying Biden cannot serve four more years.

ABC anchor caught on video saying Biden cannot serve four more years
George Stephanopoulos, who interviewed president days ago, says he should not have answered passerby’s question

The show-business gossip site TMZ published a grainy video captured by an unidentified man walking on Fifth Avenue in New York City, who happened to encounter Stephanopoulos, apparently dressed for a workout.

The man asked: “Do you think Biden should step down? You’ve talked to him more than anybody else has lately.”

“I don’t think he can serve four more years,” Stephanopoulos responded, in what he later described as a candid moment.

Later, Stephanopoulos confirmed to TMZ that he was the person in the video, and issued a statement: “Earlier today, I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn’t have.”

Top House Democrat Adam Smith calls on President Joe Biden to End Candidacy

USA Today reports Top House Democrat Adam Smith calls on President Joe Biden to End Candidacy

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee on Monday called on President Joe Biden to end his candidacy after his “alarming” debate performance.

The statement makes Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., one of the most senior Democratic lawmakers to demand that Biden leave the race and allow the party to nominate a new candidate. The strongly worded message adds to a growing chorus of concern among Democrats about Biden’s fitness for office and the need for a new candidate capable of beating former president Donald Trump.

“That candidate must be able to clearly, articulately, and strongly make his or her case to the American people,” Smith said in statement. “It is clear that President Biden is no longer able to meet this burden.”

Senator Tester

Translation: Dear president, I beg you to stand down, but I don’t want it to look like that’s what I am saying.

Adam Smith

Nancy Pelosi

Vermont Senator Calls on Biden to Drop Out

Inside the Room

  • One House Democrat supportive of Biden told me it “felt like a funeral.”
  • Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) said that putting Harris atop the ticket would be setting her up for failure.
  • Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said he saw a poll recently that had Biden losing in his district. Biden won his district with 62% of the vote last time.

Hmm, I see an inside the room musical tribute.

There’s a world where I can go
And tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room

In Wisconsin from Nate Silver

🕒 Last update: 12:45 p.m, Tuesday, July 9: It’s never a good idea to place too much emphasis on any one poll. But this bipartisan poll of Wisconsin for the AARP is potentially an exception, as it is probably the highest-quality poll in a swing state since the debate. It’s a bad one for Biden, showing him down 6 points. Wisconsin had been one of Biden’s better-polling states, but his chances of winning the must-win Badger State have fallen to 39 percent with the new poll added. The drip-drip-drip of polls like these could further erode Biden’s standing in our forecast.

Is Biden Bluffing?

Nate Silver has an interesting article Biden Has a Weak Hand (emphasis mine)

Democrats don’t know how to spot a bluff. … The campaign is asking voters to make a risky bet: not a choice between Trump and Biden so much as one between the Blue Mystery Box and the Red Mystery Box. 

Frankly, I’d rather take 264 randomly-selected players from the World Series of Poker over the 264 current Democratic members of Congress when it comes to strategizing their way through a position like this one. That’s because politics tends to select for the exact opposite of the type of people you’d want in this situation. Instead of rewarding clear-headed, independent-minded thinking under pressure, politics is a “game” where you get ahead by being a risk-averse people-pleaser, drinking the Kool-Aid rather than being the turd in the punchbowl.

Biden is probably bluffing — and if he’s not, Democrats have the nuclear option. We’re basically at the end of the steps that allow Biden to move aside gracefully. Steps beyond this plausibly could damage Biden irreparably — but that doesn’t matter if he’s already irreparably damaged or he’s not going to be the nominee anyway because at some point the escalation will work. In MAD terms, Democrats potentially have first strike capabilities. If they can damage Biden to the point where his chances of winning are not merely low but essentially zero, he loses his leverage.

I’ll conclude with this: even if the tactics and strategy are hard to work out, it can’t possibly be a good idea to nominate someone in Biden’s condition to another four years in office. It just can’t be. If you think it is, try again because you did the math wrong. It’s not a sales pitch Democrats can make with a straight face, and voters aren’t buying it.

Their best argument, of course, is “well, Trump is worse” — but that doesn’t answer the question of why Democrats were in a position to offer voters an acceptable choice and didn’t exercise it. When in doubt, make the responsible move. And don’t try to run a bluff when you so obviously don’t have the goods.

A Bluff or a Strategy?

Does Biden understand what he is doing?

Is it possible he has no idea what he is doing other than what his handlers tell him?

Is it possible Biden’s handlers know exactly what they are doing?

The last question is the key one. And there is a very plausible explanation for Biden not to voluntarily stand down now.

If Biden can hang on until the DNC makes it official, Democrats can avoid a messy open convention.

How Long Before Biden Drops Out or Is Forced Out of the Election?

On July 8, I asked How Long Before Biden Drops Out or Is Forced Out of the Election?

The DNC meets on July 21. The date was set for practical reasons. Ohio had a requirement that the nominee be set by August 7 but that has been resolved.

Although there is no longer a need to settle things early, the DNC is still meeting on July 21.

I made these comments, but the Ohio issue is no longer applicable so strike those references.

The sooner Democrats can dump him the better, with one important exception. The DNC wants to control the process rather than have an open convention free-for-all.

Look for an official nomination announcement on July 21, 22, or 23. My guess is Biden becomes the official nominee on July 22, two weeks from today.

Then sometime before the convention, look for Biden to “voluntarily” quit (perhaps told to quit or else face the 25th amendment) sometime between July 22 and Ohio’s August 7 deadline.

As long as I am going out on a limb, let’s go further. Look for Biden to be off the ticket sometime between August 1-5, replaced by Kamala Harris.

If Biden released his delegates now we would have an open convention. If Biden did not release the delegates they would be obligated to him for one round except for the in “good conscience” rule.

Everyone is screaming their fool heads off for Biden to step down but that risks an open convention or at a minimum messy explanations why there is no open convention.

The DNC does not want an open convention. And the way to ensure there is no open convention is for Biden to hang on long enough for the DNC to make Biden/Harris the official nominees.

So rather than this being a bluff, hanging on can easily be a strategy. And it can be a strategy whether or not Biden is even away of the strategy.

It’s a plausible theory.

Might I suggest it’s more plausible than the assumption that none of Biden’s handlers know what they are doing and don’t care what the polls or anyone else says?

But please note my theory could be correct even if Biden drops out early. Plans can blow up.

If the live convention comes and goes with Biden still on the ticket, then my theory is wrong.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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