Biden Faces Pressure: Will He Withdraw from the Race?

Democratic lawmakers intensify pressure on President Joe Biden to step down from the 2024 presidential campaign, raising doubts about his ability to secure another term.

Published July 08, 2024 - 00:07am

5 minutes read
United States
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A number of senior Democratic lawmakers told House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in a phone call on Sunday that President Joe Biden needs to step down from the 2024 campaign, according to reports from American media outlets.

Jeffries made the call to 'gauge the temperature' of key members and leaders before they return to Capitol Hill in Washington this week. The call, described as a 'listening session' by Democratic leadership sources, featured deep concerns about potential damage to the Democratic campaign and threats to the party's chances of reclaiming the House majority.

During the nearly two-hour call, most attendees expressed that Biden should not be the nominee, outweighing those who defended his candidacy. Some lawmakers, including Mark Takano, Adam Smith, Jim Himes, Joe Morelle, Jerry Nadler, and Susan Wild, opposed Biden's continuation as the nominee. However, Representatives Maxine Waters and Bobby Scott supported his candidacy.

A significant fear expressed during the call was that the Democrats would lose their chance to regain the House majority if Biden remains the candidate. Many believe that Vice President Kamala Harris should be the alternative candidate. The first Democrat to call for Biden's withdrawal was Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett. In a statement, Doggett urged Biden to make the painful decision to step down, emphasizing respect for Biden's achievements. Arizona Representative Raúl Grijalva echoed this sentiment, suggesting the party should look elsewhere for a candidate.

Despite these calls, Biden remains defiant, reaffirming in an ABC News interview on Friday his capability to continue and defeat Trump in the upcoming November election. On Sunday, Biden, 81, resumed his campaign trail in Philadelphia, and during a visit to Mount Airy Church, he made a subtle reference to the controversy around his candidacy. He acknowledged his age humorously, stating that while he looks 40, he has significant experience and stressed the need to unite the country.

However, the pressure on Biden continues to mount. Democratic leaders are calling for more urgent reactions to the escalating calls for Biden to withdraw, especially after what was described as a 'disastrous' debate performance against Republican candidate Donald Trump. The criticism of Biden's performance has only added fuel to the fire, with key Democratic leaders, including Jeffries, scheduling crisis meetings to determine the campaign's future direction. These meetings have revealed dissatisfaction with Biden's stamina and capability to manage a strenuous campaign and a second term.

President Biden's recent public appearances and interviews haven't entirely dispelled concerns about his fitness for office. During his speech at a historically significant church in Philadelphia, Biden expressed unprecedented optimism about America's future and emphasized the importance of unity. He maintained a confident demeanor and received enthusiastic support from the audience.

Biden also highlighted his plans to host a NATO summit in Washington next week, emphasizing America's leadership on the global stage. Despite this, Biden's Friday interview did little to quell doubts about his health and fitness for another four-year term, reaffirming that only divine intervention could persuade him to withdraw from the race.

Biden's unwavering stance has created a narrative clash between his belief in his ability to lead and growing doubts within his party about the prospects of his reelection campaign against Trump. Reflecting the increasing skepticism, notable Democratic National Committee members have publicly suggested that Biden withdraw to allow Vice President Kamala Harris to step in as the candidate, citing her perceived higher favorability compared to Biden or Trump.

The Democratic Party is witnessing an unusual friction as lawmakers struggle between supporting an incumbent president and openly calling for a change in candidacy. This contentious environment has mobilized both supporters and critics within the party, leading to an open debate about the direction of the upcoming presidential race.

The internal dissent is echoed across different factions in the party, each exploring various strategies to either support or replace Biden. Nonetheless, Biden's campaign continues to emphasize resilience, scheduling an intensive travel and media engagement plan through July, especially highlighting engagements during the Republican National Convention.

Amid these challenges, Trump has seized the opportunity to sow more division within the Democratic ranks. In a sarcastic post on social media, Trump encouraged Biden to ignore his many critics and continue his campaign, exposing the deepening rift within the Democratic Party.

In summary, the Democratic Party is at a crossroads, grappling with the decision to back an incumbent president faced with significant intra-party opposition or pivot to a new candidate ahead of the crucial 2024 presidential election. As Biden endeavors to maintain his campaign's momentum and assert his capability, the coming weeks will be pivotal in determining the party's strategy moving forward.

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