Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. charontwo says:

    1/ Democrats cannot nominate anyone except Joe Biden or Kamala Harris. It’s impossible.

    If the Biden candidacy ends, so does the Biden campaign. It’s not transferable. Anyone else other than possibly Kamala Harris would have to start from nothing. That’s can’t be done.

    2/It’s possible I’m missing something, but I don’t think so. Here’s why the Democrats can nominate Joe Biden, or possibly Kamala Harris, but nobody else.

    There’s only one candidate with a 2024 presidential campaign committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.

    3/Some of the “stuff” of the Biden campaign can probably be transferred to the DNC (and maybe state parties), but most of it can’t. Another candidate can’t just take over Biden’s campaign.

    So, think about it.

    A new nominee would not have a campaign. Like, not a tax ID…

    4/Not a bank account, not a website or address. There would be nothing. They would start out largely paralyzed for weeks.

    First and most obviously, there would be no staff. And there would be no HR process for hiring staff, no payroll process. So a new campaign trying to…

    5/…rapidly expand would have to focus on staffing. They could probably hire people from the Biden campaign, but not all would want to work for the new candidate.

    Among the first people needed would be compliance and legal staff, because a new campaign would be immediately…

    6/…challenged on ballot access and all kinds of other stuff. Compliance would be needed to deal with the massive influx of immediate cash and to be sure everything meets FEC rules.

    But to get cash they’d need banking/accounting as well. So that needs to be set up…

    7/And since most of the money would come in online, they’d need to immediately set up a web operation robust enough to handle to load, and secure enough to handle the obvious cyberattacks that would happen. So they’d need contracts for servers, support staff, etc…

    8/This new campaign would also be immediately inundated with calls and emails from press, potential volunteers and donors, other campaigns/party orgs, orgs inviting the candidate to events, etc.. So they would immediately need staff for press, scheduling, political, etc

    9/Some of these people could probably slide over from the DNC or state parties. But that leaves holes at the DNC and state parties.

    But let’s say they could immediately staff up. Where does everyone work? Office leases prob can’t be automatically transferred to the…

    10/…new campaign, so all of those would need to be renegotiated, and some may not be available to the new campaign. They’d also have to deal with utilities.

    Then, how does everyone communicate? As we know from 2016, security breeches can be fatal. So it’s not something…

    11/…that can be tossed together in a day or so.

  2. charontwo says:

    oops – there’s more …

    But let’s say all the staff and infrastructure can be conjured from the ether. What about the data? Some could probably be transferred, but some of the lists would probably need to be purchased at fair market value from…

    12/…Biden/Harris 2024. The new campaign would be starting out with no email lists, no volunteer lists, no fundraising lists, etc.

    They’d also be starting with no contracts with vendors. All those contracts would have to be negotiated (think of the staff time needed to do…

    13/…all of that at once). Some vendors wouldn’t sign with the new campaign, so they would need to be replaced.

    There’s also the issue of advertising. The Biden campaign has already reserved tens of millions of dollars of TV ad time from the last few weeks of the campaign…

    14/…when the inventory is low and what’s left is expensive. The new campaign probably wouldn’t be able to get the same volume, or get it at the same price. There would be similar problems with digital, with mail houses, etc.

    Then there’s voter/targeting data. A lot of that…

    15/…is probably used through the DNC. But what about the plans on how to use it? Analytics/targeting would need to be recalibrated for the new candidate, who would not have the same traits/strengths & weaknesses, etc as Biden/Harris.

    As for money, well, there are a lot of…

    16/…challenges there as well. A new candidate who hadn’t recently run for President (which, since Dean Phillips doesn’t count, is anyone) wouldn’t have much of a finance committee. They’d have no events scheduled/booked. And they wouldn’t have any fundraising agreements…

    17/…with other campaigns, state parties, etc.

    But let’s say all of that is in place. What’s the plan? The new candidate would start without a campaign plan or budget. They’d have done no polling. No data work. No research. No policy.

    Then they’d have to vet and choose a VP.

    18/So, even if we live in a fantasy world where there would be no issues with ballot access/state laws, DNC delegate/nomination rules, the political chaos of Biden not running and the first woman & African/Asian-American VP being passed over, the new candidate being untested…

    19/…in a primary season and thrown in to the craziest campaign in modern US history, the ceding of the advantages of incumbency, the fact that they’d unexpectedly have to effectively abandon their day job…in the fantasy world where none of those problems would exist…

    20/…it would still be impossible–if I’m correct that the Biden campaign is not transferrable to anyone but Harris (and even that would be challenged–it would still be impossible for Democrats to replace Joe Biden unless they tried to win without a campaign.

    Now, some may…

    21/…point out that Trump didn’t have much of a campaign in 2016. That’s true. But by July he had all of the legal/financial arrangements needed to have a campaign. He had a lot of the physical infrastructure. The RNC wasn’t in chaos the way the DNC would be if Biden…

    22/…is replaced. Plus, even before he ran for President he had nearly complete name recognition. And despite the help of the Russians and James Comey, he lost the popular vote. So Trump’s campaign doesn’t show campaign apparatus doesn’t matter.

    23/So what does all of this mean?

    It means unless he quits that Joe Biden is the nominee, and that if it’s not him, anyone other than Kamala Harris would be starting from nothing & be completely overwhelmed & ineffective & would almost certainly lose.

    24/It means talking about replacing Biden is a fantasy, bc it’s impossible, & continuing to talk about it like it’s a possibility is stupid & destructive & people who want to win should stop it, & everyone else should be shut down because they’re making shit up that’s not real

    25/Correction: TV reservations would prob be OK bc they’re from the Biden/Harris-DNC joint committee.

    But I may have understated the problems w state ballot access. It may be impossible to get anyone else’s name on some ballots except Harris (& I’m not even sure RE her)

    From BJ …

  3. Bob@Youngstown says:


    talking about replacing Biden is a fantasy, bc it’s impossible, & continuing to talk about it like it’s a possibility is stupid & destructive


  4. Jen says:

    @charontwo: EXACTLY.

    I’ve been saying this since the day after the debate: there is no smooth, magical way to start a new campaign.

    A campaign is a legal entity. All of the physical offices are leases signed with the Biden-Harris legal entity. All of the vendors: direct mail, digital, lists–those are contract signed with a specific legal entity. People hired? By a specific legal entity. And, the big one–all of the ad buys, whether on TV or cable or digital–those are purchases made by the Biden-Harris legal entity. Those free up, and possibly get snapped up by other campaigns (not just Trump’s, but any senate/house/statewide etc.). [ETA: I’m not so sure they are in the clear because these are a joint purpose w/the DNC, but again my experience is decades ago, so…maybe.]

    That entity is the ONLY ONE with an infrastructure right now. If that legal entity goes away, allllll of the agreements it has signed, from hiring to payroll to vendors to ad buys, go away too. And the new campaign starts from scratch.

    For the first 1-2 months, it would look like nothing was happening.

    I cannot emphasize this enough: it would be an enormous disaster.

  5. charontwo says:

    Also the $212M of cash the Biden campaign has is not transferrable.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Michael Little

    There’s nothing “Supreme” about a court that says homelessness can be a crime but bribing judges can’t.

  7. mattbernius says:

    Pishaw… Those are just kidding details. It the Democrats just cared enough/had enough will power all of those real world infrastructure constraints would magically disappear.

    /s in case it isn’t clear.

  8. mattbernius says:

    Pishaw… Those are just kidding details. It the Democrats just cared enough/had enough will power all of those real world infrastructure constraints would magically disappear.

    /s in case it isn’t clear.

  9. Tony W says:

    On the immigration topic of yesterday….I think it’s one of our most complex issues – perhaps as complex as healthcare.

    People immigrate for any number of reasons: dreams of wealth, being near family, being away from family, ability to generate some cash to send back home, fleeing violence, etc.

    People in the U.S. are torn between accepting immigrants on humanitarian grounds, and watching immigrants lower wages and working conditions by creating more “supply” of labor. Further, the “supply” is disempowered – so they work cheap and don’t complain.

    We could get rid of economic immigration easily, tomorrow, if we started arresting business owners/managers who hire illegal immigrants.

    So liberals encourage some immigration because of humanitarian concerns and families reuniting – but we dislike the damage to (especially) working-class wages/conditions,

    But there are also things the right-wing/pro-business folks love about it – cheap labor, exploitable citizenry, and for the religions zealots the ability to proselytize to a vulnerable population.

    So there’s a natural constituency on both sides of the aisle in favor of immigration, but also in favor of reducing immigration. I’m surprised Trump gets away with talk of deportations, etc. – unless the business powers-that-be know that it’s just rhetoric and he won’t take away their exploitable workers, or hold them accountable.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Patrick S. Tomlinson

    Not sure what’s more horrifying. The fact grooming insurance exists, or the fact churches can’t operate without it.

  11. @Tony W: Nobody knew that immigration could be so complicated! 😉

  12. Bobert says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Talking immigration it occurred to me the other day that the cartels that are profiting from smuggling immigrants would be thrilled to recycle deportees.
    Should the MAGA dream of deporting 20 million “illegals” be realized under Trump, it’s reasonable to expect that a significant number of those would be willing to pay the cartels to smuggle them for a second time.

  13. Eusebio says:


    Has any congressional Democrat or anyone else worth listening to suggested that that Biden step aside and anyone other than Harris be the nominee? Perhaps anyone suggesting that Biden drop out should not be taken seriously unless the alternate is Harris, or they show their work for any answer resembling “other” or “open convention”.

    It may be impossible to get anyone else’s name on some ballots except Harris (& I’m not even sure RE her)

    Would be nice to have the “I’m not even sure RE her” fleshed out a little more.

  14. Jen says:

    @Eusebio: I can’t speak for the author, but my guess is that the caveat there is due to some states’ conditions for replacement on the ballot, e.g., if a state has a law on the books that says the only reasons a name can be replaced on the ballot are “death or declared incapacity to serve,” there could be a legal question as to whether this applies to both members of the ticket, or just someone outside the ticket. Meaning: is this provision restrictive (does Joe Biden have to either pass or be declared unable to run in order for his ticket mate to run), or does it apply to the ticket as a whole, meaning it only applies to a replacement of the Biden-Harris ticket?

    This is a true legal risk, IMHO.

  15. Scott says:

    Been on vacation the last 10 days. Anything interesting going on? LOL

    Got in last night after driving 21 hours from the East Coast to Houston area. Originally planned to take two days but decided to power through to beat the hurricane. Currently watching the wind and the rain outside the window. Power seems to be steady (famous last words but the ATT Fiber seems shaky). The eye is predicted to pass over our house around 1000. Will have to toss the dog out eventually. However, the bladder capacity of dogs seems to be infinite.

    Hope everyone else enjoys their day.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    Trans Legislators, LGBT Orgs Urge Biden To Reconsider Anti-Trans Statement: “A Betrayal”

    Notably, the statement not only opposed gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth but also failed to mention puberty blockers and hormone therapy, instead only mentioning mental healthcare. Mental healthcare alone is often used to support conversion therapy efforts targeted at transgender youth in states that bar hormone therapy and puberty blockers. After immediate outcry, the statement was revised, removing the reference to mental health care and replacing it with “a continuum of care.”

  17. Eusebio says:

    Biden this morning on MSNBC

    Suggest listening to the entire 18-minute call-in interview today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

  18. Kathy says:

    Boeing gets a new slap on the wrist.

    Thus far I think the company has saved -$80 billion by overdeveloping the 737 vs a new clean sheet design.

    Not counting the overdevelopment costs of the MAX.

    Re my question on nationalizing Boeing, which we agree is very unlikely to happen, I’ve been wondering if another aerospace company could be enticed (ie bribed) to take over one of Boeing’s commercial programs.

    This might be even more unlikely for a variety of reasons. not lest, it’s hard to make a profit from a plane not part one a company’s lineup, at least in commercial aircraft. This is happening to Airbus with the A220. Besides, the only program I can see making sense to take over, is the 787. Take it from Boeing, and the company is left with a troubled short and medium haul narrow body, and a long to ultra long haul widebody that’s over 5 years late entering into service.

    The point of this proposal is to jump start a second commercial mainline manufacturer in the US. That will be much harder. I think Boom’s odds of selling 1,500 Overtures before 2030 is far more likely (not that I expect them to sell any by that time).

  19. Kathy says:

    I screwed up the last part of cooking yesterday.

    I baked a chicken breast inside the cast iron pot. That went well, and I got plenty of drippings.

    And then I totally lost the thread. I forgot to reduce the drippings, so as to get mostly fat, before making the roux for gravy. I wound up with a lumpy mess. It gets worse, but I don’t really want to say what happened next. I will attempt something later for lunch, and if it works I’ll say what it was.

    Plus side is I have bones for making stock later (I freeze them after scraping the meat off, so they’ll keep a while).

    Next week I want to try to see if the thermometer probe works inside the air fryer. It should, because the crisping lid is not hermetically sealed like the pressure lid.

  20. Ha Nguyen says:


    Boeing developed a lot of new technology and engineering expertise based on the 787. They would fight tooth and nail to keep it in-house.

    Boeing is too important to the US GDP to fail which is why they get just slaps on the wrist.

  21. Kathy says:

    @Ha Nguyen:

    I wonder if the narrative ought to change from “too big to fail,” to “too big to coddle.”

    Boeing wouldn’t want to give up any program. Not even the MAX. it may be troubled and have cost many times what it should, but the mid size short and medium haul narrowbody is the lifeblood of all mainline commercial aircraft manufacturers.

  22. CSK says:

    Mike Huckabee has come out with The Kids Guide to President Trump:

    I will not be purchasing this for any young relatives.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Mike Huckabee has come out with The Kids Guide to President Trump:..

    So is Mike Huckabee going to force kids to read his Trump book at gunpoint like he wants

    “… all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

    When I posted this Mike Huckabee quote on OTB in 2011 there were commenters that claimed that it was some sort of joke. I wasn’t laughing then and I am not laughing now.

  24. al Ameda says:


    Suggest listening to the entire 18-minute call-in interview today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

    I listened and I felt that this was Joe saying ‘shut up, get back in line, and focus on Trump.’ Well … This now makes 3 consecutive media opportunities – the debate, interview with Stephanopoulis, and now with Scarborough – that have not been at all inspiring, although, what else was Biden going to say to Scarborough?

    The problem Biden has now is the people cannot un-see what happened in that debate. It was so much worse than a factual gaffe, it went straight to the heart of the Age & Condition concerns that have always been out there. This was a big test and Biden did about as poorly as he could have given expectations, perhaps worse, because Trump accepted Joe’s pre-debate conditions and format.

    I am of the opinion that if … if … if Biden himself chooses to step down, a Harris (slash) Whitmer or Shapiro ticket would seem to be the way forward for Democrats.

    Finally, quick question: your name, ‘Eusebio’ – are you a fan of Portuguese soccer?

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If it doesn’t start with, “Do NOT be alone with DJT…” Huckabee’s a groomer just like so many of his fellow ‘christianists’.

  26. Beth says:

    @al Ameda:

    Out of curiosity, why would you choose Whitmer or Shapiro as the VP? I am also assuming that’s your order of preference.

    For what it’s worth, I think I’d be sold on Beshear. He’s a nice handsome White guy, that won twice in a red state and he didn’t fold on abortion or trans issues when he could have. I’d like Whitmer, but strategically, I think two women on a ticket would be doomed now. I’m down on Shapiro cause he seems like a radical centrist bozo to me.

  27. Stormy Dragon says:


    Out of curiosity, why would you choose Whitmer or Shapiro as the VP?

    Because they’re popular governors of swing states.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Beth: @Stormy Dragon:
    A woman, a Jew and a Kentucky lawyer walk into a bar. . .

    Veeps don’t usually matter much. I’m with Beth. The safe, smart move is Beshear. I love the idea of Kamala/Gretchen, but two women? When we can’t even be sure it will help with the women’s vote? And Shapiro, a Jew. So a Black/Indian woman and a Jew? This isn’t a year to take risks. It should be the Kentucky boy – he won’t carry his home state, but he has a proven ability to talk to goobers, and a fair few of the fence-sitters are goobers.

  29. CSK says:


    I wonder how the book will deal with the Jeffrey Epstein saga? Or the E. Jean Carroll saga? Or the saga of Donald cheating on Ivana with Marla and Donald cheating on Marla with Melania?

  30. just nutha says:

    @CSK: The cover specifically said it’s the 2024 Edition. All of those issues are old (like Biden both yahus) and no longer matter.

  31. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That’s a fair point, but I’m kinda looking for more. Not in a snarky sarcastic way. Like I’m kinda sold on Whitmer for pres one day. I don’t think now is the time for VP though.

    I’m with @Michael Reynolds: on this one though. For purely tactical & strategic reasons I think a boring white guy probably works best to pull a couple more people over the line.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Veeps don’t usually matter much.

    With how close MI and PA were the last two cycles, the Veep doesn’t HAVE to matter much to make the difference.

  33. Eusebio says:

    @al Ameda:

    If you asked me last year whether Shapiro could be a Pres/VP candidate in 2024, I’d have said yes but it’s too early–he’s now only in his second year of his first term as PA Governor, and I assumed he would shoot for 2028 or later. However, if Biden does decide to step down*, I only recently started thinking Shapiro would be a good running mate for Harris. He’s a good speaker and already has accomplishments in PA that he can tout, and maybe he’d step up thinking that it’s break glass/pull handle time. Whitmer has the credentials as a popular governor of a swing state, and she should be relatable to some Wisconsinites as well. The governors of KY or NC could add some southern appeal, for that’s worth.

    The question about my handle… I’m a soccer fan and I’m certainly aware that Eusebio was one of the greats, but his heyday was a little before my time. It was my hastily chosen name in Spanish class for one year after I missed the first day of class… my usual Spanish name had already been taken, but I went back to it the following year.

    *There’s been a wild upward swing in the last 24 hours in the “odds” that Biden will be the Democratic nominee at the PredictIt site, which I do not at all endorse even though it clearly represents the sentiments of some.

  34. al Ameda says:

    I chose Whitmer and Shapiro because they’re governors of very important swing states. I believe that either would support Harris and re-energize the party and turnout.


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