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  • Writer's picturejeffmcm

The Disastrous Debate and Decisions

The Biden presidency is distinguished by many visionary responses to current crises, with further movement too often blocked by a disgracefully stalled Congress, unable to carry its weight of a tripartite government, and a reactionary and regressive Supreme Court, eagerly erasing history and opening itself up to the highest bidder. But in the coming Presidential election, the Democratic party must not replicate the same “only one man can save us” ideology that the Republican party has adopted in its blind support of Donald Trump.


The performance by the President at last Thursday’s debate caused irreversible damage for a campaign already suffering from perceptions of his inability to fully engage. While it’s clear, in intent and action, that President Biden is most often able to function at an extraordinarily high level, his transient diminishment and crippling struggles to express himself clearly, defend and advocate for his positions, and present vigor and command, domestically and internationally, was distressingly clear. In a race of this enormity, the Democratic party cannot pretend this did not happen, nor that it will not re-occur. We know that the President was rigorously prepared, but that preparation failed miserably.


The Democratic party must respond as a political party to protect both itself as a trusted institution and to defend its values. A weakened candidate, who happens to be the current President, cannot expect unequivocable support, no matter his past successes. President Biden has achieved the highest office in the land, possibly the world, and exceeded many expectations during his term. Now he needs to make the very difficult decision to abandon his attempt for a second term, in order to preserve the country he, and his party, have worked so effectively to celebrate, defend, and vastly improve. President Biden’s resume is such that this act of self-sacrifice will only magnify his achievements.


A political party has to think and act politically and realistically, the latter being the harder part. Ideology and idealism have to face the fact that a critical percentage of the electorate will not devote time to dig into issues to discover the truth and/or lies the other campaign propagates. These inconstant and inconsistent “swing” voters must be presented with the strongest of candidates, one who can not only defend the current administration’s record but celebrate it, while also making mockery of Trump’s lies and authoritarian rampages. A diminished President, as we saw last Thursday, cannot do that.


The Democratic party is much to blame for creating this mess. The party should have stood up to the President in placing so much emphasis on himself, as the Republican party has failed to do with ex-President Trump, though for very different reasons. We cannot reverse that failure, but we can move forward with a strong, dynamic, younger candidate who can excite the multiple constituencies of the party, while also inspiring swing voters that this fresh face is the candidate representing the future, not the past. Otherwise, they will swing to the fraudulent campaign of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The party, and the country, cannot let that happen. This is an historical, moral and ethical responsibility. I look to President Biden, and the Democratic Party, to make the difficult decision to re-open the Democratic nomination and find the strongest candidate they can, one who can, with the party’s assets, turn this complex and heart-breaking situation into a win, a chance for a resilient Democratic party to face the future in the most powerful and effective way possible.


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