The Absurdity of the Dump-Biden Uprising


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Millions vote for a candidate, propelling him to victory. Before the voters’ decision is formally certified, people who don’t like the outcome demand that the election results be thrown out and a different candidate selected in a closed process. That was America on January 6, 2021. And now, some in the Democratic Party want to follow a similar script.

The Democratic Party held 57 primaries and caucuses; voters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories had their say, as did Democrats abroad. Joe Biden won 87 percent of the total vote. He lost one contest, in American Samoa, to the little-known Jason Palmer. Suddenly, there are cries in the Democratic Party that, as goes a single territorial caucus, so should the nation.

I worked in five presidential campaigns for Republicans and helped elect Republican senators and governors in more than half of the country. For decades, I made ads attacking the Democratic Party. But in all those years, I never saw anything as ridiculous as the push, in the aftermath of last week’s debate, to replace Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. For many in the party, the event raised genuine concerns about the incumbent’s fitness for a new term. But a president’s record makes a better basis for judgment than a 90-minute broadcast does. Biden has a capable vice president, should he truly become unable to serve. The standard for passing over Democratic voters’ preferred nominee should be extraordinarily high—and has not been met.

The fundamental danger of Donald Trump is that he’s an autocrat who refuses to accept the will of the voters. So the proper response is to throw out millions of votes, dump the overwhelming choice, and replace him with someone selected by a handful of insiders? What will the message be: “Our usurper is better than your usurper”?

What is it about the Democratic Party that engenders this kind of self-doubt and fear? At a moment when Democrats’ instinct should mirror what Biden declared in a rally the day after the debate—“When you are knocked down, you get back up”—some in the party are seized by the urge to run, not fight. Think about how this would look: Hey, I guess Donald Trump is right; our guy isn’t fit to be president. We’ll give it another shot. Trust us, we’’l get it right eventually.

Madness.

After decades of losing the image wars as Republicans positioned themselves as the “party of strength,” Democrats are on the verge of a historic self-redefinition. When Biden traveled to Ukraine, he became the first president to visit an allied war zone not controlled by U.S. troops. A Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, defied China and visited Taiwan. A Republican Party that was once defined by Ronald Reagan demanding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” is now the beating heart of the pro–Vladimir Putin movement, led by a former president elected with the Russian dictator’s help.

For generations, Republicans succeeded in labeling Democrats the “blame America first” party. Today, it’s the Republican nominee who calls America a “third-world nation … an uncivilized country.” Republicans used to describe Democrats as “victim shoppers” who always hold others at fault instead of accepting personal responsibility. Donald Trump sees America as a nation of victims, with powerful forces taking advantage of our weakness. As president, Trump labeled Canada a national-security threat. Really? Picture the horror: an invading army of Canucks driving snowmobiles over the border to the martial soundtrack of Celine Dion.

Given a huge opportunity to project more self-assurance than Trump’s Republicans, these Dump Biden Democrats would ensure that their party once again slips back into the quicksand of doubt and second-guessing. No major American political party has thrown a presidential nominee overboard, so leave it up to some geniuses in the Democratic Party to hatch a scheme to make history.

What makes them believe that replacing Biden increases the chances of defeating Trump? How many times have candidates with impressive state-level records crashed and burned in a presidential race? The last time a party held on to the White House without the benefits of incumbency was 36 years ago. Recent polls show none of the fantasy replacement Democrats beating Trump. There are polls showing Biden defeating Trump. Say what you will about the Biden campaign’s organization, but four years ago it defeated an incumbent president—no easy thing.

Clearly, something was off inside the Biden campaign that allowed this debate debacle to occur, starting with the choice even to debate Trump. The Biden team easily could have insisted, as a precondition for a debate, that Trump first publicly acknowledge that he is running against a legally elected president who won a fair vote. Also, why did Biden look like an undertaker had done his makeup? But those breakdowns do not negate the substantial evidence that the Biden campaign knows how to defeat Trump. Do Democrats really want to throw that aside and reconstruct a campaign from scratch months before an existential election?

Presidential campaigns are billion-dollar businesses open to customers for a limited time. Right now, Democrats have a huge advantage over a GOP apparatus gutted by Trump in a power play that installed his daughter-in-law as co-chair of the Republican National Committee. What are the Dump Biden Democrats thinking? That Trump’s mob-boss takeover of his party gave them an unfair edge, so it’s only sporting for them to emulate him?

Trump is the candidate of chaos, uncertainty, and erratic behavior. Democrats can win a race against him by offering Americans the opposite: steady, calm, and confident leadership. Joe Biden has provided that. His record is arguably the most impressive of any first-term president since World War II. My advice to Democrats: Run on that record; don’t run from one bad debate. Show a little swagger, not timidity. Forget all this Dump Biden nonsense and seize the day. Now is the worst time to flinch. Your country needs strength. You can crush Donald Trump, but only if you fight.



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