The obvious choice to replace Biden if he drops out of the race

President Biden’s letter to his fellow Democrats in Congress on Monday was everything his debate performance should have been: a forceful, articulate defense of what he has accomplished in his nearly four years as president and a warning about the existential threat to our democracy posed by his rival, former President Trump.

“I am firmly committed to staying in this race, running this race to the finish, and beating Donald Trump,” the president wrote. “We have a historic track record of success in the race. From creating over 15 million jobs (including 200,000 last month), achieving historic lows in unemployment, revitalizing American manufacturing with 800,000 jobs, protecting and expanding affordable health care, rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, highways, ports, and airports… to beating Big Pharma and lowering the cost of prescription drugs, including $35 a month insulin for seniors, to providing student debt relief for nearly 5 million Americans and a historic investment in the fight against climate change.”

Listen Listen.

The problem, of course, is that a written statement, no matter how impassioned, cannot dispel the fire of despair ignited by Biden’s shockingly weak debate performance and his subsequent uneven interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

I take Biden at his word — he intends to stay in the race, but if he drops out under pressure from his fellow Democrats — and I also believe the political scientists and pundits who say Democrats simply don’t have enough time to thoroughly evaluate a new nominee, with one obvious exception: Vice President Kamala Harris.

Despite right-wing caricatures portraying her as a lightweight, any deep analysis of her record as a big-city district attorney and U.S. senator will puncture the perceptions of those who (oddly) think her laugh or her syntax disqualifies her from running for president.

I would vote for Harris without hesitation. And I bet so would many of the black women who rescued Biden’s candidacy in 2020 and are often described as the backbone of the Democratic Party.

But overcoming the deep-seated and often unconscious sexism and racism that afflicts a portion of the American electorate would undoubtedly be her greatest challenge. (“I think he’s arrogant,” a conservative cousin of mine once said of then-candidate Barack Obama. She might as well have called him “arrogant.”)

And yet, the electorate has grown accustomed to presidential candidates who are not white men.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump despite losing in the undemocratic electoral college. Voters tired of President George W. Bush helped Obama defeat John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, in both the popular vote and Trump's. and the electoral college. And former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, a woman of South Asian descent, survived until Super Tuesday against Trump in this year's Republican primaries.

If something terrible were to happen to Biden, Harris — who already has nearly four years of White House experience — is more than capable of occupying the Oval Office. And Biden could proudly, if reluctantly, pass the torch to her to lead the ticket; after all, at 59, she would represent the generational shift that so many Americans continue to tell pollsters they yearn for.

The former prosecutor can also be tough. In 2018, when Harris was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, her questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh led Trump to call her “nasty.” love to see her debate Trump.

If Biden stays in power, of course, he has my vote. He has built an administration around values ​​that, for the most part, mirror my own. How could anyone committed to reproductive rights, sensible immigration reform, a fair tax system and a habitable planet vote any other way? And even if he is furious about the way the president has handled the war between Israel and Hamas, Palestinians will face an even more uncertain future if Trump is inaugurated again.

In a second term, Trump would do metaphorically what he tried to do literally at the end of his first: overthrow the government.

Among the evidence is Project 2025, a 900-page wish list drafted by Trump allies under the aegis of the Heritage Foundation. Though Trump has hypocritically attempted to distance himself from the plan, it would be his plan for governing: severely weakening the authority of federal agencies, undermining the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, abolishing entities like the Department of Education, abandoning the fight against climate change, and much more.

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution,” Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts said on a far-right podcast, “which will remain bloodless if the left allows it.”

These people are sick.

Now that the Supreme Court has essentially elevated the president's powers to those of a monarch, it is even more imperative to keep the man who says he would be a dictator from day one out of the White House.

It’s clear that Biden is no longer the man he once was, and running for president is probably more exhausting than being president. As a journalist who has traveled with presidential candidates, including Biden, Obama, Romney and McCain, I have always been amazed at his stamina. It’s a lot to ask of an 81-year-old man to travel across time zones, meet with world leaders, handle the other heavy responsibilities of the presidency and also run for re-election.

But I'd rather have a president who works from 10am to 4pm and needs to go to bed early than a 78-year-old convicted felon who lies, cheats, sexually assaults women, tries to steal elections and won't hesitate to speak out. as He is far above the law if Americans give him the chance.


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