Steve Forbes: Biden Will Drop Out; Is He Right?

Lai Seng Sin

I am neither smarter nor better connected than Steve Forbes, but I remain skeptical of his claim that Biden will drop out of the presidential race, perhaps even in the next two weeks. 

It's not that his analysis is wrong; it isn't. Keeping Biden on the ticket was a bad move and one that has many Democrats very nervous about their prospects in November. It seems clear to me that the Obama wing of the Democrat Party is very unhappy with Biden's being at the top of the ticket, and the Clinton wing is similarly unhappy. 

Nate Silver, too, thinks that Biden should not have run and should not be the nominee. Biden is old and unpopular, and his Vice President is even less popular than Biden himself. While voters rarely care much about the Vice Presidential candidate, that could be much less true in this election than most. 

Forbes is clearly right that Biden is not the right candidate to take on Donald Trump. Everybody by now assumes that Biden will not survive a second term; whether he actually leaves for his reward in the next four years is irrelevant; he simply doesn't have the mental acuity or stamina to remain in the Oval Office to finish out his term. 

As Forbes noted, lots of Democrats are willing to say all this behind closed doors, and the Obama and Clinton folks like David Axelrod and James Carville say it on the record. I don't think it matters.

Political parties are coalitions, not monolithic. And while there is no Biden "wing" of the party--the Obama and Clinton wings are the most powerful, although there is a far-left wing as well--there IS a Biden power base, and right now, they have the final say about who will be the nominee.

Biden is in power, which means his people are in power.  They will not want to give it up, and too many of them fear they will be eased out and off the gravy train. This includes, of course, Jill Biden, who has the most to lose. This means that Biden is likely to resist efforts to replace him on the ticket, and the only thing worse for the Democrats than having Biden as the candidate is having Biden openly unhappy about being pushed out. 

It's also difficult to see how you get agreement on who should replace Biden. It's not that there aren't potential candidates; it's that there are too many who want the job. It's possible that the power brokers could settle on one, but would everybody who wants the job accept the chosen one? Would the left wing accept the choice without making a stink? And would donors line up behind the candidate, given how far behind the starting line they would begin?

The rationale for dumping Biden is obvious, but the practical solutions for all these problems aren't obvious. 

The one argument that might work to get Biden to quit is, ironically, Hunter Biden's legal problems. The Bidens got a reality check with the verdict this week--apparently, they actually believed he would skate--and Hunter has another trial coming up. 

Democrat power brokers could argue that the best path to helping Hunter is for Joe to bow out, and once the election is over and a new president is chosen, Joe could pardon his son in the interim. That way, Hunter gets pardoned without crippling a Biden second term. 

No doubt this argument will be made to President Biden, but I am skeptical that Joe would take the bait. 

What do you think? Is Forbes right or not? Obviously I am very skeptical. 

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