Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry

Opinion

Dems are running a de facto coup: Even if Biden wins, Kamala will be prez

The Democratic Party is divided. 

On the one side is the faction that wants to dump the presidential candidate chosen by more than 14 million Democratic primary voters.

On the other side is the faction that wants to keep the presidential candidate who almost certainly will not serve out his four-year term, leading to the ascension of an unelected president and unelected vice president. 

What the entire party agrees on is that, either way, it is supposedly defending democracy. 

There’s no doubt that Joe Biden is the democratically selected presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, but also little doubt that his condition was hidden from the public and that, if he had to run in a free and fair nomination contest today, he would lose handily. 

An increasingly feeble President Biden was a crisis waiting to happen, and now that the crisis is upon us, there’s no easy way out. 

A pejorative, but accurate, description of the campaign to get Biden to quit the race is that it is an attempted intra-party coup. 

The voters chose Biden knowing he was 81 years old, although the party apparatus did everything possible to deny them a choice between the incumbent and a plausible alternative and everything possible to shut down the little-known member of the House who mounted a sacrificial challenge.

(If there had been a primetime primary debate between Biden and Rep. Dean Phillips, Democrats might not have been so shocked at Biden’s poor performance against Donald Trump.)

Still, for donors, pundits and elected Democrats to attempt to undo this choice is frankly undemocratic. 

It looks even less democratic when it is factored in that a small handful of people — Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, James Clyburn and a couple of others — are the ones who have the true power, perhaps, to force Biden from the race.?

Leaving Biden in place isn’t any better: If he’s this fragile and addled in July 2024, there’s no way he’s going to serve in the most demanding job on the planet until January 2029. 

This means the electorate will be, in effect, voting in November to make Kamala Harris president of the United States sometime in the next term, without her being at the top of the ticket and withstanding all the scrutiny and bearing all the responsibility that come with that. 

Her accession will be constitutionally legitimate, since this is how the system works.  

But it will be doing Harris and the country no favors to have her take the presidency without winning the office directly herself.

All this was avoidable if Joe and Jill Biden had had the foresight and public-spiritedness to decide last year that he wasn’t up for another presidential campaign and another term in office. 

That way, there could have been a fully open primary contest with a large, robust field. 

The winner would have had the legitimacy of having won the most votes in the primary and presumably have raised no serious question whether — absent some terrible unforeseeable event — he or she could serve out a full term. 

The Bidens made that impossible, and also created a situation where we don’t know whether the sitting president is fully in charge and whether he has a serious medical condition, diagnosed or undiagnosed. 

Certainly, the White House has been doing everything possible to keep people from knowing about Joe Biden’s reduced state, and until his catastrophic debate performance, almost all the insiders who had seen or heard about his alarming condition were happy to keep it to themselves. 

“Democracy dies in darkness” is the Trump-era motto of the Washington Post.?

Well, the inner sanctum of the Democratic Party tried to keep the public in the dark about Joe Biden, and now either wants to dump him against the expressed will of its voters, or effectively run Kamala Harris for president without admitting to voters that that is what it’s doing. 

Defending democracy is hard work. 

Twitter: @RichLowry

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