Biden Government Politics

Can Biden Be Replaced After Debate Disaster?

If President Biden is perceived as the loser in Thursday night’s presidential debate against former President Donald Trump, it could amplify ongoing speculation that he might be replaced as the Democratic presidential nominee for 2024. The possibility of replacing the 81-year-old president has been a topic of discussion for months, with even mainstream outlets like New York Magazine considering the scenario. Despite acknowledging the idea as politically far-fetched, they noted it remains technically possible, though increasingly complex, up until Election Day.

ABC News highlighted the existence of two types of delegates within the Democratic Party: pledged delegates, who are assigned based on primary votes but are not legally bound to support their candidate, and “superdelegates,” who gain their status through party roles or political office. These superdelegates also aren’t legally required to back any particular candidate. NY Magazine further explained that in most states, delegates are released from their obligations if a candidate withdraws from the race, adding another layer of complexity to Biden’s potential replacement.

Despite this, Democratic senators have dismissed the speculation about Biden being replaced. As reported by The Hill, one senator vehemently denied the possibility, stating, “There’s no way in hell that’s true. Not a chance in hell that’s true.” A Democratic consultant echoed this sentiment, suggesting that while the topic might be casually discussed, it isn’t taken seriously. The consultant emphasized that even if someone raised the idea of needing an alternative, it’s not viewed as a viable option, partly due to concerns about Vice President Kamala Harris’s readiness for the role.

Historically, it’s exceedingly rare for an incumbent president to be denied their party’s nomination. The last instance occurred in 1884 when Republican President Chester Arthur lost the nomination to his Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, who then narrowly lost the general election to Democrat Grover Cleveland. New York Magazine opined that the only likely scenario for Biden not being the nominee would be if he voluntarily stepped down, which they consider improbable. If he did step down, the nomination would almost certainly go to Vice President Kamala Harris, as choosing anyone else would undermine Biden’s initial decision and alienate Harris’s supporters.

Business Insider recently speculated on potential replacements for Biden if he were not the nominee. Their list includes Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as several prominent Democratic governors and senators such as Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), Roy Cooper (D-NC), Wes Moore (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). These names reflect the party’s broader considerations for leadership should Biden decide to step aside.

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