Pick the Biden Alternative

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Rather than explore this in the comment sections of various posts, and because some seem to deeply believe that the Democrats need to replace Biden, I will ask the question: who?

Who would the right replacement be?

And, moreover, what is the scenario wherein this Messiah can be installed as the nominee?

How would this installation avoid the kinds of downsides that I noted in my previous post?

Have at.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics
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

Comments

  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Excuse me, Mr. Thompson,* you want me to do what? When? ARE YOU OUTTA YOUR FREAKING MIND???

    No way, I’m refusing this mission. Not gonna call Barney, Cinnamon, or any of the crew to get involved in this cockamamie pipe dream. Nope, find another patsy. He may be old and gaffe-ridden, but he’s the best chance we’ve got in the next election. Le sigh.

    *https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0424614/

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  2. Kathy says:

    It’s not just that there’s a hue and cry for the candidate to be someone else, but also the implication that picking the perfect candidate is also someone else’s problem.

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  3. Not the IT Dept. says:

    And of course, once another candidate is picked, there will be nothing but carping about he (let’s not kid ourselves, it will be a guy) doesn’t live up to the example set by Biden whose talents and strengths will suddenly become immediately apparent to all.

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  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    The good ship “Replace Joe Biden” has sailed. It left port when Biden let it be known that he would run for reelection. The exception would be, a significant health event and if Joe then went quietly into the night, the new Dem candidate, likely Harris, has a chance, however small, of retaining the advantages that Biden has.

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  5. Franklin says:

    Jon Stewart, duh. And maybe some fancy installation, like parachuting into the convention could work? (sorry, I’m not the big on theatrics: maybe call Eddie in CA)

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  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    In the next article down from this one, our friend, registered Democrat Bill, offered

    Again the Democrats are heading for a defeat in November if they stay the course with Biden. We’re risking a dictatorship just because the Democratic party doesn’t have the guts to get the President to step aside for the good of his country.

    Here’s your big chance, Bill. Weigh in. Who do we replace Biden with?

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  7. Gustopher says:

    George Clooney. A large segment of America wants a spokesmodel rather than a competent administrator as President. Paired with a competent VP (Vice-President Pete has a ring to it), I think we have a winning combination.

    As for the how, I think Biden would just have to vanish from the face of the earth, and Clooney would have to say, with all the charm he can muster (which is a lot) “I ate him.”

    Presumably, Harris would want to run as an incumbent once she is promoted to the Presidency, but she may be able to be kept in line with threats of being eaten.

    ETA: Clooney is getting old, but he looked good in The Flash, other than the fact that he was in The Flash

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  8. Kylopod says:

    One of the weirdest things I’ve noticed from listening to Democrats who want Biden replaced is that they all seem absolutely convinced Kamala would be a terrible choice, but they also seem equally certain she’d just disappear in a puff of smoke in the scenario where Biden announces he isn’t running, and that the Democratic Party would automatically look outside the White House, probably to a popular governor like Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, Josh Shapiro, or Andy Beshear. That in itself is delusional. Whether you like it or not, Kamala would be the overwhelming front-runner in that scenario.

    The question I always ask these people is: what would this hypothetical candidate be able to run on? What’s the message going to be? “Biden’s accomplished a lot in the past four years, but he needed to pass the torch”? Or is this person going to trash Biden’s record and claim they’re going to do a better job than either Biden or Trump? Or are they going to take some middle ground, distancing themselves from certain policies (say, Gaza, the border) but sticking with others? All these messages sound weak to me, and only reinforce the idea that Dems don’t know what they’re doing or what they stand for, while also cutting them off from any concrete accomplishments from the Biden Admin.

    Whenever people wish for some different candidate to come swooping in to rescue them from what they perceive as a bad current choice, there’s always an element of “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Potential candidates always look better from a distance, and we begin to see the cracks as soon as they become candidates and come under scrutiny. It happened to the Republicans in 2011 when they thought Rick Perry would save them. It happened to the Dems with Hillary Clinton, who was, let’s remember, incredibly popular when she left the Obama Admin in 2013–and this was just after Benghazi. When Obama was running for reelection there were articles arguing he should step down and allow Hillary to run in his place, or that he should replace Biden with her.

    Whatever problems Biden has in his reelection campaign, I cannot imagine Democratic prospects would improve if they picked someone else. Maybe he’s doomed if he runs, maybe he isn’t, but if he were to step down now, the message this would be likeliest to signal to the public is “We effed up, but vote for us anyway.”

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  9. EddieInCA says:

    As most of you will remember, I’ve been challenging people to give me a name going back a year. Give me a name that can beat Biden in a primary, or, if Biden drops out, can unite the Democratic coalition enough to overcome the Red State advantage in a general.

    Every single person has failed the challenge.

    Bueller? Anyone?

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    they also seem equally certain she’d just disappear in a puff of smoke in the scenario where Biden announces he isn’t running

    My scenario accounts for Harris, therefore it is more realistic than most other scenarios, even if my scenario requires the threat of cannibalism.

    The only scenario more realistic is the one where Harris replaces Biden.

    We can still work cannibalism into that scenario, and I am now picturing Harris unhinging her jaw and swallowing Biden whole, like a snake. And even that is more realistic than most of this.

    I expect it would result in a Maureen Dowd column combining Biden’s and Harris’s weights, and asking if America is ready for a 250-300lb woman as President, and speculating on whether Harris can lose that “Biden Bulge” by Election Day.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Gretchen Whitmer.

    I don’t know what her in-state polls are, but if she’s even close to 50% she can bag Michigan. She’d bring out the pro-choice vote. She’s young(ish) and good on TV.

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  12. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    She’d be a great choice except I think Black women would sit out in large numbers in 2024 if it was Whitmer over Harris. That that would fracture the coalition.

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  13. Franklin says:

    @Michael Reynolds: 48% approval, 36% disapproval as of October. As a resident here, I can assure you that most of her supporters here *really* support her, enthusiastically.

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  14. Paul L. says:

    We need a strong smart minority woman for President that supports free Palestine.
    Sandy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Occasional Cortex.
    Taylor Swift.
    Cenk Uygar.

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  15. EddieInCA says:

    @Paul L.:

    I rarely engage you, because, quite frankly, you’re tiresome. But tonight, I am enjoying a Willett in front of my fireplace, and feeling good, so I’m going to just say….

    Strike One: AOC isn’t eligible. She’s only 34 years old.
    Strike Two: Taylor Swift isn’t eligible. She’s only 34 years old.
    Strike Three: Cenk Uygar isn’t eligible. He was born in Turkey to Turkish parents.

    You really are a moron, aren’t you? I know you do it for the lulz, but, frankly, I’m embarrassed for you. You’re one step up from the homeless guy on the corner screaming that the end of the world is coming. Sad.

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  16. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Strike One: AOC isn’t eligible. She’s only 34 years old.
    Strike Two: Taylor Swift isn’t eligible. She’s only 34 years old.

    They both will turn 35 in late 2024 (AOC in October, Swift in December). They’re eligible as long as they turn 35 before Inauguration Day 2025.

    Fun fact: The first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull in 1872, was technically ineligible as she turned 35 a few months after Inauguration Day 1873. But there’s no record of anyone challenging her right to run, as her candidacy wasn’t really taken seriously.

    The convention that nominated her named Frederick Douglas as her vp, though they did it without asking him and he had no involvement in the campaign. Still, technically that makes him the first African American to appear on a presidential ticket.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: Despite Cenk’s ineligibility, he has declared himself as a candidate for the Democratic primary. He hasn’t been allowed on a single ballot, though he’s trying to challenge it legally, arguing that the 14th Amendment supersedes the natural-born clause.

    Of course it ain’t going anywhere.

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  18. Ken_L says:

    The three candidates in the 2020 primary who were runners-up to Joe Biden are all still active in politics: Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloombeg and Elizabeth Warren. Not only do those arguing for the president to step aside seem to imagine Kamala Harris will somehow dematerialise, they assume those three ambitious Democrats will happily make way for someone with zero experience and zero national support base. It’s fantasy.

    I argued in 2020 that Biden should not be the nominee because it was obvious to anyone with any sense that it would lead to the current dramas. But having chosen him, the party doesn’t get to change its mind now. If Biden had announced a year ago that he was not going to run again, it would have led to two years of a lame duck presidency and a chaotic Democratic primary unless Harris ran unopposed, which would have been unlikely.

    Unless Democrats have suicidal tendencies, they have no option but to unite behind the president and campaign hard for his re-election.

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  19. Jax says:

    @EddieInCA: I just assumed our poor friend Paul L was stroking out, cuz that was all gibberish to me. Thanks for translating. 😛 😛

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  20. Lounsbury says:

    @EddieInCA: There is no sign in overall voting data that the majority of the black American electororate is in the same Identity Politics mindset as the Bohemian Bourgeouisie Left in voting, rather more pragmatic – genuinely pragmatic.
    However even a small marginal effect, more plausible from the data, would be dangerous.

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  21. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA: Came to point out that AOC and Swift are indeed eligible but @Kylopod beat me to it. Fun fact: Joe Biden had yet to turn 30 when he was first elected to the Senate but did so a few days later, well in time to meet the Constitutional requirement before being sworn in.

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  22. Andy says:

    @EddieInCA:

    As most of you will remember, I’ve been challenging people to give me a name going back a year. Give me a name that can beat Biden in a primary, or, if Biden drops out, can unite the Democratic coalition enough to overcome the Red State advantage in a general.

    The reason no one can meet your challenge is because the whole process is emergent and contingent and unpredictable – and that’s exactly one of the biggest reasons why Democrats like the idea of replacing Biden, but balk when considering the practicalities. It’s a big collective action problem with no way to assess outcomes. Any person anyone can name would be little more than a guess.

    And given the collective action problem and the incumbent bias, the only way I can realistically see this happening is if Biden voluntarily steps down from the campaign. At that point, there would be a competition to replace him – and someone would replace him! I have no idea who would come out on top and how that process would affect the general election or how that person would do against Trump.

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  23. Ken_L says:

    @Andy: Biden would not only have to withdraw his candidacy, the DNC would also have to change the primary rules in the 80% of states where it’s currently too late for anyone else to get on the ballot. Or they could unite around Dean Phillips!

    It’s surely not true you have no idea how things would play out. We know that Kamala Harris, who would almost certainly choose to run, would defend the administration’s record and promise to “finish the job”. That would require any other plausible candidate to criticise the administration, which would be a gift to Republicans. But it’s all pointless dreaming, because it ain’t gonna happen.

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  24. Kevin says:

    @Kylopod: Amusingly(?) enough, depending on how the Supreme Court rules on the Colorado ballot access issue, it’s entirely possible that they’ll clear the way for Cenk to run, and maybe even become president, in some sort of fever dream. It’s possible they’ll rule that the 14th amendment says you can’t hold office, but says nothing about running for office, and/or states don’t get to decide, so it’s really up to Congress on January 6th or whenever to make the call. So, you know, more chaos.

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