Op-Ed: Biden Vowed To Be A Bridge Candidate. That’s Why He Should Step Aside To Let Kamala Harris Run

2024 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture Presented By Coca-Cola - Day 1 - Caesar's Superdome

Kamala Harris speaks onstage during Day 1 of the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture on July 5, 2024, in New Orleans. | Source: Bennett Raglin / Getty

In the wake of his disastrous debate performance where he struggled on multiple occasions to answer questions in complete sentences, President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance on a conference call with campaign staffers to declare he will not abandon his reelection bid.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can and as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running. I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party,” Biden said on Wednesday. “No one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end, and we’re going to win because when Democrats unite, we always win.”

The problem for Biden, though, is the damage had already been done.

The day prior to Biden’s vow to stay in the race, one Democratic Congressman, Lloyd Doggett of Texas, called for Biden to withdraw from the race. Others have since signaled that they are open to Biden leaving the race.

“How the fu*k are you going to put all these white people ahead of Kamala?”

Biden has not helped himself after reportedly taking several days to reach out to concerned Democratic leaders, governors and donors. That is said to have only angered them by not assuaging their concerns as to whether or not Biden has the mental and physical capacity to win his reelection campaign. Now, polling is starting to show that in spite of the Biden campaign’s claim that he simply had a bad night, voters feel differently and have shifted away from him accordingly.

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In First Presidential Debate

President Joe Biden pauses during the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

A CBS News poll recently found that 72% of voters say Biden does not have the “mental and cognitive health” to serve as president while nearly half of Democrats shared that they want him to step aside.

A separate poll from the Wall Street Journal released on Wednesday revealed that 76% of Democrats say he is too old to run for president – the same percentage as Republicans.

That same day, a new poll from New York Times/Siena College showed Trump beating Biden by six percentage points among likely voters and by nine percentage points with registered voters.

Biden was losing before the debate that he asked for happened – now he’s losing by even more.

At this stage of the campaign, Harris is the most sensible answer as Biden’s replacement.

Like many, I would choose a dead Joe Biden over the prospect of Donald Trump formally becoming America’s Führer.

But why should we have to?

Vice President Harris Speaks At The 30th Essence Festival Of Culture In New Orleans

Source: Michael DeMocker / Getty

In spite of his claims that he plans to stay in the race, the Washington Post reported that privately Biden and his team know that he needs to prove his fitness for office or be seriously pressured to step aside.

Those plans included last week’s TV interview with ABC News and hosting NATO’s allies this week, which I’m quite doubtful is nearly enough for a necessary but delayed attempt at damage control.

As of now, it remains unlikely that Biden will step aside. But given a few more weeks of bad polling, the calls for him to step aside will only grow longer as the panic continues.

Instead of digging in his heels, Biden ought to remember that four years ago he positioned himself as a “bridge” candidate, and for the sake of the country he says he wants to save from Trump, he should step aside and let his running mate takeover.

Although Biden might have spent the immediate days after the debate not calling anyone, his allies were said to have been telling reporters (off the record) that Vice President Kamala Harris polls worse than the president.

Foul as that sounds, new polling from CNN found Harris performing better against Trump than Biden.

Even before the debate, a Politico poll had Harris outperforming Biden with Black and Latino voters.

A Bloomberg News poll conducted prior to the debate showed improvement from Harris with swing state voters. In addition, voters selected her as their choice for Biden’s replacement should he not be able to finish his campaign.

She may not be the most popular politician in America, but she is more popular than Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Her political skills were questioned as a result of her failed 2020 presidential campaign, and she initially struggled in her role as vice president. But in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, she’s developed political skills not best reflected in the memes or old coverage of her on the campaign.

The Kamala Harris as a replacement nominee talk started in earnest following the CNN polling, but is growing by the day.

I have heard a lot of (white) people on TV, on podcasts, and in publications talk about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmire, California Gov. Gavin Newsome, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and other people not named Kamala Harris.

To quote Donna Brazile to CNN on the matter: “How the fu*k are you going to put all these white people ahead of Kamala?”

President Biden Holds Campaign Rally In Philadelphia

Vice President Kamala Harris introduces President Joe Biden during a campaign rally at Girard College on May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Source: Andrew Harnik / Getty

For The Atlantic, Adam Serwer called on Biden to resign and allow Harris to take over the campaign and the presidency, writing that “if Biden is unfit to debate and campaign, then he is also not fit to govern.”

Drastic as it may sound to some, I agree.

Biden was losing before the debate he asked for happened.

No amount of gaslighting from Team Biden will get me to unsee what I saw at the debate. Yes, I heard him at the Waffle House after the debate and in North Carolina the day after. But Biden was frozen at moments during the debate. Now there are stories floating about how that kind of behavior has happened more frequently and becoming more worrisome.

Biden failed to alleviate concerns voters have expressed about his age for as long as he’s been president and people have the right to ask whether democracy has to be saved to prevent having an 86-year-old president in 2029.

Biden might not want to go, but he should, and at this stage of the campaign, Harris is the most sensible and logical answer as his replacement. She has the easiest access to the Biden/Harris campaign coffers. She can speak in complete sentences at a debate.

Biden can spend the next week pleading his case. But if he fails, he should reconsider being the bridge candidate he promised to be and step aside for his running mate.

Michael Arceneaux is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book, “I Finally Bought Some Jordans,” was published in March.


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The post Op-Ed: Biden Vowed To Be A Bridge Candidate. That’s Why He Should Step Aside To Let Kamala Harris Run appeared first on NewsOne.

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