Will The Democrats Replace Joe Biden With Gretchen Whitmer? Last week, the White House was in full damage control mode after the release of the report from special counsel Robert Hur into President Joe Biden's mishandling of classified documents. The 388-page report found that while there was evidence that Biden "willfully retained" and shared highly classified materials when he was a private citizen – including about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan – it recommended that charges were not warranted.
Joe Biden and the Cognitive Issues Debate
However, the report put into question the president's mental health, describing him as having a "poor memory."
"We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory. Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him-by then a former president well into his eighties-of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness," the report stated.
The report further described the 81-year-old Democrat's memory as "hazy," "fuzzy," "faulty," "poor," and most damningly suggested it has "significant limitations." The report claimed Biden couldn't recall many defining milestones in his life – notably when his son Beau died or even the years he served as vice president.
While President Biden was defiant that his memory is fine, he has increasingly confused world leaders and made other notable gaffes. As Politico.com reported on Monday, the Democrats may need to seriously consider what their backup plan may be if Biden opts to step down and hand over the baton.
Biden already trailed former President Donald Trump in several recent polls, and that was before the release of the Hur report last week. The situation is only going to get worse, and Biden may see the writing on the wall.
How Joe Biden Could Be Replaced
Biden could finish the primary campaign as the undisputed victor, with far more than the 1,968 pledged delegate votes necessary to claim the nomination, "and then Biden would announce he would not accept the nomination and release his delegates to back a different nominee," Politico.com suggested.
The question would then be, who is there to step up?
Vice President Kamala Harris doesn't have what could be remotely described as good approval ratings, while California Gavin Newsom may be seen as too out of touch with the rest of the country. This leaves one solid choice for the Democrats – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan's governor would almost certainly hand the Democrats a win in a crucial battleground state, but also help maintain the rest of the Blue Wall. She has been both a vigorous Biden defender but could have more support from Arab Americans in Michigan and across the country – who have turned away from the president for his support over Israel in the ongoing war in Gaza.
Even a late entry of Whitmer could be a game changer – perhaps a much needed one – for the DNC. While Biden has trailed Trump in Michigan, where one recent survey had Biden trailing the former president by 8 percentage points, the same poll showed Whitmer 5 points ahead of Trump in her home state.
Whitmer may also be best positioned to step up.
She launched a federal political action committee last June to raise funds for other candidates. She reported $171,000 in donations in the first month and announced an initial round of endorsements this past December, backing mostly Midwest members of Congress seeking re-election. Whitmer has vowed to use her PAC to support Biden's reelection bid, but it could certainly be employed to launch an actual campaign.
Whitmer may have her sights set on 2028, but if Joe Biden steps down, she may be the candidate best positioned to step up in 2024 to replace him.
Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.