The Joe Biden Crisis Never Had to Happen

Joe Biden
July 9, 2024 Topic: Politics Region: Americas Blog Brand: Politics Tags: U.S. PoliticsJoe Biden2024 ElectionDemocratsBernie Sanders

The Joe Biden Crisis Never Had to Happen

As President Joe Biden faces withering public pressure to withdraw from the 2024 race, it’s important to remember that Biden’s (practically) guaranteed nomination required a thumb on the scale. 


Summary and Key Points: As President Joe Biden faces pressure to withdraw from the 2024 race, it's essential to scrutinize the Democratic primary process. Unlike a traditional primary, Biden's nomination seemed ensured through strategic measures by the DNC, limiting challengers and reconfiguring the schedule.

-This contrasts with the Republican primary, which was more transparent. Biden, who won the 2020 primary amidst a global pandemic, benefited from his perceived electability and a weaker field of opponents.


-The 2024 race, however, highlights concerns over Biden's popularity and health, raising questions about the democratic integrity of his nomination and its potential impact on the general election.

Joe Biden

As President Joe Biden faces withering public pressure to withdraw from the 2024 race, it’s important to remember that Biden’s (practically) guaranteed nomination required a thumb on the scale. 

The frustrating part, surely, for so many Democrats, is that Biden did not need to be the nominee. Had Biden been subjected to a traditional primary – where challengers were welcomed, where ballot access was facilitated, where the DNC did not reconfigure the schedule to suit the incumbent – then Democrats may not find themselves in their current predicament, with a sundowning octogenarian, guaranteed the nomination despite abysmal popularity and profound concerns over an observable decline. 

The irony, of course, is that Democrats are running the 2024 race on the premise that electing Biden is the key to saving democracy itself, that a win for Trump would constitute an existential threat to democracy – yet it was the Democrats who subverted the democratic process to ensure Biden would earn the 2024 nominee.

The Republicans, meanwhile, maligned as democracy eroding autocrats, held an open, transparent, and conventional primary election – which Trump happened to win. So, my question at this point is, which party is a threat to democracy?

And my other unanswerable question is, how would Biden have fared in a proper primary? Biden may have won fair and square – he did so in 2020, after all.

Remembering the 2020 Primary

Biden, to his credit, did win the 2020 primary against a crowded, incumbent-free field. But the 2020 race was really quite odd.

For one, portions of the primary and the entire general election were held amidst a global pandemic and the associated lockdowns. Candidates were restricted from hitting the road and shaking hands and kissing babies as is a time-honored practice. Instead, in Biden's case, the candidates were confined to Zoom appearances from his Delaware basement. The format was well suited for a low-energy, low-mobility 78-year-old trying to convince the American public he was spry enough for four years in office.

Two, the 2020 race adopted a weird tone, in that Democrats treated the removal of Trump from office as a sacred duty, a higher calling; all other concerns were considered secondary to the sacrosanct task of electability. Joe Biden, who had formed a popular tandem with Barack Obama, and whose absence from the 2016 election (on account of Beau Biden’s death), was deemed as the most capable of defeating Trump. And that was really the whole game; once that title was bestowed, Biden was golden. That and a big win in South Carolina, where Biden had managed to maintain high support among black voters.

Joe Biden

Third, the field wasn’t particularly strong. Bernie Sanders wasn’t quite the threat in 2020 that he had been in 2016. In large part because the election’s electability bias cut against Bernie’s appeal – but also because Bernie had changed. He wasn’t the scrappy, underdog, outsider anymore. Rather, Bernie’s 2020 campaign was slick, with trendy social media, and a less grass-roots-feel. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris ran an atrocious campaign; Elizabeth Warren was labeled a socialist; Pete Buttigieg didn’t have the requisite experience; and so on.

Biden won the 2020 primary fair and square. The same cannot be said for 2024 – and the results are an undemocratic farce, very likely to result in a general election debacle.

About the Author: Harrison Kass 

Harrison Kass is a defense and national security writer with over 1,000 total pieces on issues involving global affairs. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

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