Climate

Opinion: If Trump would be king, Biden must be like George Washington and abandon his possible term

Democrats are on the horns of a dilemma following President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance: whether to move forward with a severely wounded presidential candidate or to attempt to convince him to withdraw and replace him with an unknown candidate who has not proven themselves on the presidential public stage.

Privately, many Democratic leaders say this is a Code Red necessitating a change.

While those leaders are not speaking out publicly, the voters are. Almost half of Democrat voters said in a new CBS News/YouGov poll that Biden should step aside and not accept the party’s nomination in late August. Seventy-two percent of respondents don’t think he possesses the mental and cognitive health necessary to serve. In another poll conducted by Our Revolution, nearly 70% of progressive Democratic voters said it was time for Biden to step aside. Pollster Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, expects some further decline in those numbers.

The debate was painful to watch. And, while winning the election is critical, a president must be able to effectively serve. As much as the White House and his allies desperately want to spin this as one bad debate performance, Americans have seen with their own eyes that Biden does not possess the cognitive and physical stamina to begin a second term, let alone finish it when he will be 86.

President Biden should gracefully withdraw his nomination, take a well-deserved victory lap, and pass the torch to the next generation.

Joe Biden is an American hero with a remarkable legacy that spans five decades. Of course, this is a difficult decision for a proud and stubborn man. Biden has been essentially running for president since 1987 when I met him in Iowa on the campaign trail. If high-level Democrats truly believe that Trump is an existential threat to our democracy, then they must convince him to withdraw.

At the beginning of our republic, President George Washington chose to step aside and ensure the peaceful transition of power, rather than run for a third presidential term. Washington did not want to be a king. Washington’s adversary, King George III asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence and West reportedly replied: “they say he will return to his farm.” According to legend, King George III replied: “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” We have good reason to believe that Trump wants to be king. Like Washington, Biden should not seek a second term for the love of our country and the future of our democracy.

As of now, Biden, his family, and closest aides are doubling down on his commitment to stay in the race trying to quell concerns by calling his debate performance simply a bad night.  In a remarkable, oblivious twist, they have privately blasted his debate preparation team for his unnerving debate performance rather than come to terms with Biden’s obvious decline.

Biden and his team went apoplectic when Special Counsel Robert Hur released his report saying that it would be difficult to prosecute Biden in the classified documents matter because Biden was a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and it would be difficult to prove the mental state of willfulness. Hur’s report, which came under fire, described Biden’s memory as “hazy”, “faulty” and having significant limitations, now seems legitimate and fair.

The report was inimical to the picture that the White House has tried to paint.

Take, by way of example, Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates who said that, “not only does the president perform around the clock, but he maintains a schedule that tires younger aides, including foreign trips into active war zones, and he proves he has that capacity by delivering tangible results that pundits had declared impossible.”

But behind the scenes, a new Axios report presents a different picture where the White House tries to shield Biden from the public to avoid verbal miscues and obvious fatigue outside of the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when he is dependably engaged. That’s fine for a Walmart greeter, but not so fine for the leader of the free world with the code for nuclear bombs. Biden has held the fewest solo press conferences of any president since the 1980’s.

Biden’s physical and mental health will only get worse from here.

In order to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee, he must step aside, which would release his 3,894 delegates (of 3,937) to vote for a different candidate in an open convention. Delegates would be under no obligation to support Vice President Kamala Harris.

The good news is that Democrats have a deep bench of talented potential presidential and vice-presidential candidates including, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzer, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore,  Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

For many of us, the choice between Trump and Biden is no choice at all. Voters are looking for fresh voices to solve this country’s thorniest issues. Biden’s family and closest allies need to seize this moment and speak truth to power and let him leave with honor and a legacy he and Americans alike can be proud of. America’s future may depend on it.

Doug Friednash grew up in Denver and is a partner with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck. He is the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Sign up for Sound Off to get a weekly roundup of our columns, editorials and more.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by email or mail.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *