Why Biden is being replaced by Newsom or a ‘mythical perfect Democrat’ is unlikely

(Associated Press)

Why replacing Biden with Newsom or some mythically perfect Democrat is unlikely

California politics, elections 2024, homepage news

Taryn Luna
Noa Bierman

February 13, 2024

Anyone hoping that California Governor Gavin Newsom or another Democrat will take Joe Biden’s place in the 2024 presidential election will likely be disappointed.

Despite renewed concerns about the president’s age, party officials and pollsters say trading him is a bad idea, and virtually impossible without Biden’s signature.

“Nobody who has done this at this level thinks that removing the sitting president of the United States, who is a Democrat, from your ballot is even remotely plausible,” said Cornell Belcher, one of the former presidents of the United States States.


Obama’s pollsters. “It’s completely absurd.”

A special counsel last week questioned Biden’s mental acuity in a report explaining why criminal charges were not warranted for possessing classified documents, offering new fodder to critics of the president and fueling concerns about his ability to continue to remain in office for four years.

Hosts of ABC’s “The View” got the conversation going Friday in an on-air debate about Biden’s candidacy and whether Vice President Kamala Harris or Newsom would be better options for the party. Republican Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and former presidential candidate, and other political experts have suggested that Democrats should trade Biden for another candidate.

Here are five reasons why Biden and not Newsom will almost certainly remain the Democratic presidential nominee:

1) The days of smoke-filled rooms are over

Biden, like most sitting presidents, controls the party, meaning people who work for the Democratic National Committee and other party bodies are aligned with his campaign operation. The deadline to challenge him in a Democratic primary has passed in most states, including California, and he faces little opposition. He could be replaced if he chooses to step aside and free his delegates at the party’s national convention in Chicago in August, a scenario not seen in decades.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who consider themselves a plan B,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist. “But Plan A seems determined to stay in the race.”

Even under the remote scenario in which Biden withdraws and leaves an open convention, chaos would be more likely than consensus.

“There’s a mythology where we’re living in the 1940s and a group of party leaders get together and say, ‘That’s our guy,’” Axelrod said. ‘It doesn’t work that way anymore. Some people would come up. I estimate the likelihood of that necessity being very, very low.

Voter’s guide to the 2024 California primaries

Another Democratic operative with connections to top donors in California and major hubs on the East Coast said there has been ongoing talk since last year about finding a replacement, but no serious discussion. Most people recognize the need to move away from the replacement fantasy, said the officer, who requested anonymity to avoid stonewalling party officials.

Belcher said the loudest intraparty conversations were fueled by progressives; the same people he said made a similar argument prior to Obama’s second term.

But even some of the most liberal members of the Democratic Party pushed back on the idea.

RL Miller, a DNC delegate from California and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, described the possibility of Biden dropping out of the race as an extremely unlikely scenario and the chance that the party would tap Newsom to replace him as even more unlikely.

from a distance


You might as well write about the possibility of asteroids crashing from the sky and wiping out all light west of the Hudson, where The View is filmed, Miller said.

2) Time has passed

Hans Noel, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University, said that if Biden resigns today, Democrats seeking to replace him could rush to run for office in the handful of states where primary election entry deadlines have not yet passed. have expired. The decision to select a replacement would still go before the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Delegates would do that

probably probably

elect Biden on the first ballot. Biden should reject it. Delegates would vote for a replacement on a second ballot, and so on until a nominee was chosen.

If Biden announced his plans in advance, replacement candidates would have some time to campaign. If he decides to decline the nomination at the convention, things would get even messier.

“All the people who are delegates now are free to vote for whoever they think is the right candidate,” Noel said of that scenario.

The process could be similar to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, also held in Chicago. Months before the convention, then president

Lyndon B.

Johnson announced he would not seek re-election and candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated after winning the Democratic primaries in California.

Amid protests, violence, and attempts to nominate a real pig, delegates chose Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s vice president, as the Democratic nominee.

If Biden withdraws after the convention, it could set up an even more uncertain and unprecedented process.

3) Newsom is also staying with Team Biden

“A trillion percent,” said Sean Clegg,


Newsom’s senior political adviser. “If President Biden asks this man to do something, he will do it and give everything he has to support the ticket.”

Clegg said Newsom’s camp is not discussing the possibility of replacing Biden because it is not happening.

That may seem hard to believe from a governor who appears to be relishing the national spotlight, actively trying to raise his profile among voters across the country and successfully pushing his Republican rival, the governor of Florida, to raise his profile. Ron DeSantis, to debate him on Fox News late last year.

At an Asia-Pacific economic cooperation summit in San Francisco in November, Biden praised Newsom’s performance as governor and, perhaps unintentionally, fueled speculation.

“Basically, he can be anything he wants,” Biden joked. “He could have the job I’m looking for.

Newsom, who has repeatedly denied having presidential ambitions, has been careful to answer questions about his candidacy with praise for Biden.

“I will go to the end of the world for this man,” Newsom said in an MSNBC interview.

4) What about the incumbent vice president?

Among Democratic politicians, Miller mentioned Harris, the governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Illinois. JB Pritzker and Newsom as people she would expect to try out for the job if Biden developed a serious health problem.

Of the four names I mentioned, I would put Newsom last, she said.

Harris, she said, is best positioned for the job as Biden’s vice president. Whitmer and Pritzker would have a chance to win swing states.

However, Harris has her own problems. Only 40% of voters view her favorably, compared to 55% who think negatively, according to the Los Angeles Times poll tracker. That’s about the same as Biden’s polling average.

Her first campaign for president in 2020 came to a close before the primaries and she has been relentlessly targeted by conservatives, who have tried to portray her as a dangerous heir apparent if Biden drops out or falters during a second term.

5) Newsom symbolizes liberalism in California

A recent Los Angeles Times-Leger poll found that 50% of American adults, including 30% of Democrats, think the state is too liberal. The poll found sharp differences between how Californians and people outside the state view issues like climate and race


sex. Nearly half of Californians say abortion should be legal in all cases, compared to a quarter of adults nationwide.

The same poll showed that Newsom was viewed favorably by approximately people

a third

of Americans, negatively by another


and unknown to everyone. These numbers are significant in a highly polarized environment. But any Democrat who were nominated would have to withstand another onslaught of criticism.

“If you give the choice between Joe Biden and some mythically perfect Democrat, the mythically perfect Democrat wins,” said an aide with ties to the DNC. “But there is no real Democrat that voters can agree on as an alternative.


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