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Joe Biden’s Debate Disaster: Who Could Replace Him on the Democrat Ticket?

Until now, Joe Biden has commanded the loyalty of his party. But the sense now is that this will change.

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Following Joe Biden’s performance in the first televised debate with presidential challenger Donald Trump – which has variously been called “rambling”, “weak”, “meandering and confused” – giving the impression of a man “20 years older” than his rival, many senior Democrats are reported to be seriously discussing whether to replace him as their candidate on 5 November.

The US press carried reports that “panicked” Democrats were examining ways that the president might be replaced in time to mount a credible challenge before the general election on 5 November.

Until now – and as you’d expect – Biden has commanded the loyalty of his party and those prominent Democrat leaders who might otherwise have challenged for the party’s nomination. But the sense now is that this will change. So, who might emerge as a possible replacement for the 46th US president?

Joe Biden’s Debate Disaster: Who Could Replace Him on the Democrat Ticket?

  1. 1. Kamala Harris

    As the current vice president, Kamala Harris would appear to be the obvious second choice if Biden decides not to run. But, much like the president, she has done very poorly in approval ratings. In mid-June, she had a negative approval rating of 60%.

    While a vice president’s approval ratings have historically been tied to those of the president, Harris would have to find a balance between setting herself apart from Biden and not diminishing the administration’s efforts.

    Harris fiercely defended Biden after the debate, saying: “People can argue about style points, but ultimately this election … has to be about substance. And the contrast is clear.”

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  2. 2. Stacey Abrams

    When Georgia flipped blue in 2020, many credited Stacey Abrams for the success. The former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives was a prominent campaigner for Democrats ahead of the 2020 election.

    But despite this success in the south being attributed to her, Abrams comes with a difficult electoral record.

    She stood for governor in Georgia in 2018 and 2022 and lost both times, which could certainly cast some doubts on her electability within the party and among the voting public.
    Expand
  3. 3. Pete Buttigieg

    Pete Buttigieg went from local to national politics within the span of just a few months. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and won the Iowa caucuses. But he dropped out of the race shortly thereafter.

    Until now, Joe Biden has commanded the loyalty of his party. But the sense now is that this will change.

    When Biden took office, he appointed Buttigieg as transport secretary – and since his move to Washington, Buttigieg has continued to make a name for himself.

    (File photo source: DOT)

    When Biden took office, he appointed Buttigieg as transport secretary – and since his move to Washington, Buttigieg has continued to make a name for himself.

    Within the Democratic party, he appears to enjoy much popularity. He was “the most requested surrogate on the campaign trail” ahead of the 2022 midterms. If elected, Buttigieg would be the youngest ever president and the first openly gay man to become president.

    But Buttigieg may face challenges on the campaign trail as he has previously had significant difficulties securing support from minority voter groups.

    Expand
  4. 4. Amy Klobuchar

    The first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the US Senate, Amy Klobuchar has been on the national political stage since 2007. During the confirmation hearings for supreme court associate justice Brett Kavanaugh, she made headlines and drew praise for her sharp line of questioning. Klobuchar previously ran for president in 2020 and put her support behind Biden after exiting the race.

    She is seen as a moderate, someone who could unite both sides of the party and might be a close alternative to Biden.

    However, she has lower name recognition than her possible opponents within the party and had difficulties securing excitement for her campaign in 2020, an issue that could block her path again.

    Expand
  5. 5. Gavin Newsom

    California governor Gavin Newsom, who won a second term at the midterms, made headlines last year when he paid for billboards in conservative states like Texas and Indiana advertising that abortion is still legal in California.

    Newsom is less disliked than Biden and Harris but is still polling in the single digits, according to latest data.

    But this may be explained by his slightly lower name recognition among voters. Data from the January Granite State Poll in New Hampshire shows that some voters felt they do not know enough about him to form an opinion yet.

    Asked after the debate if he was considering running to replace Biden, Newsom said:

    “Our nominee is Joe Biden – I’m looking forward to voting for him in November.”
    Expand
  6. 6. Elizabeth Warren

    Elizabeth Warren, the senator for Massachusetts since 2013, previously ran for president in 2020 and quickly became known as the candidate with the most detailed plans for every issue on the agenda. While she did not win the nomination, she has since continued to make waves on Capitol Hill with passionate speeches on issues such as abortion rights.

    Behind Biden and Harris, who naturally have high name recognition due to their positions, Warren is best known among potential candidates. Additionally, she is less disliked than the president and vice president.

    Latest data from YouGov US polling shows Warren with a 47% approval rating against 24% who said they disliked her.
    Expand
  7. 7. Gretchen Whitmer

    After winning a second term as governor in the November 2022 midterms, defeating a Trump-backed Republican and increasing her win margin from 2018, Gretchen Whitmer has entered the 2024 stakes as a wild-card contender.

    Whitmer was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2000, and gained national attention for her speech on abortion rights in 2013, where she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted as a young woman. She was the target of a kidnapping plot thwarted by the FBI in October 2020.

    Whitmer is well known for her ability to work across the aisle and has passed more than 900 bipartisan bills as governor. With Michigan poised to move up in the Democratic primary calendar, Whitmer could have an early home advantage if she decides to run.

    Whether vice president or wild card favourite, no Democrat except Biden has declared an intention to run.

    Amid increased calls for him to step aside following his performance in Thursday’s debate, however, the Democratic party may consider their options ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August.

    (The author is a PhD Candidate in Politics, University of Southampton. This article has been republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.)

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Kamala Harris

As the current vice president, Kamala Harris would appear to be the obvious second choice if Biden decides not to run. But, much like the president, she has done very poorly in approval ratings. In mid-June, she had a negative approval rating of 60%.

While a vice president’s approval ratings have historically been tied to those of the president, Harris would have to find a balance between setting herself apart from Biden and not diminishing the administration’s efforts.

Harris fiercely defended Biden after the debate, saying: “People can argue about style points, but ultimately this election … has to be about substance. And the contrast is clear.”

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Stacey Abrams

When Georgia flipped blue in 2020, many credited Stacey Abrams for the success. The former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives was a prominent campaigner for Democrats ahead of the 2020 election.

But despite this success in the south being attributed to her, Abrams comes with a difficult electoral record.

She stood for governor in Georgia in 2018 and 2022 and lost both times, which could certainly cast some doubts on her electability within the party and among the voting public.

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg went from local to national politics within the span of just a few months. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and won the Iowa caucuses. But he dropped out of the race shortly thereafter.

Until now, Joe Biden has commanded the loyalty of his party. But the sense now is that this will change.

When Biden took office, he appointed Buttigieg as transport secretary – and since his move to Washington, Buttigieg has continued to make a name for himself.

(File photo source: DOT)

When Biden took office, he appointed Buttigieg as transport secretary – and since his move to Washington, Buttigieg has continued to make a name for himself.

Within the Democratic party, he appears to enjoy much popularity. He was “the most requested surrogate on the campaign trail” ahead of the 2022 midterms. If elected, Buttigieg would be the youngest ever president and the first openly gay man to become president.

But Buttigieg may face challenges on the campaign trail as he has previously had significant difficulties securing support from minority voter groups.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Amy Klobuchar

The first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the US Senate, Amy Klobuchar has been on the national political stage since 2007. During the confirmation hearings for supreme court associate justice Brett Kavanaugh, she made headlines and drew praise for her sharp line of questioning. Klobuchar previously ran for president in 2020 and put her support behind Biden after exiting the race.

She is seen as a moderate, someone who could unite both sides of the party and might be a close alternative to Biden.

However, she has lower name recognition than her possible opponents within the party and had difficulties securing excitement for her campaign in 2020, an issue that could block her path again.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Gavin Newsom

California governor Gavin Newsom, who won a second term at the midterms, made headlines last year when he paid for billboards in conservative states like Texas and Indiana advertising that abortion is still legal in California.

Newsom is less disliked than Biden and Harris but is still polling in the single digits, according to latest data.

But this may be explained by his slightly lower name recognition among voters. Data from the January Granite State Poll in New Hampshire shows that some voters felt they do not know enough about him to form an opinion yet.

Asked after the debate if he was considering running to replace Biden, Newsom said:

“Our nominee is Joe Biden – I’m looking forward to voting for him in November.”
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren, the senator for Massachusetts since 2013, previously ran for president in 2020 and quickly became known as the candidate with the most detailed plans for every issue on the agenda. While she did not win the nomination, she has since continued to make waves on Capitol Hill with passionate speeches on issues such as abortion rights.

Behind Biden and Harris, who naturally have high name recognition due to their positions, Warren is best known among potential candidates. Additionally, she is less disliked than the president and vice president.

Latest data from YouGov US polling shows Warren with a 47% approval rating against 24% who said they disliked her.
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Gretchen Whitmer

After winning a second term as governor in the November 2022 midterms, defeating a Trump-backed Republican and increasing her win margin from 2018, Gretchen Whitmer has entered the 2024 stakes as a wild-card contender.

Whitmer was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2000, and gained national attention for her speech on abortion rights in 2013, where she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted as a young woman. She was the target of a kidnapping plot thwarted by the FBI in October 2020.

Whitmer is well known for her ability to work across the aisle and has passed more than 900 bipartisan bills as governor. With Michigan poised to move up in the Democratic primary calendar, Whitmer could have an early home advantage if she decides to run.

Whether vice president or wild card favourite, no Democrat except Biden has declared an intention to run.

Amid increased calls for him to step aside following his performance in Thursday’s debate, however, the Democratic party may consider their options ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August.

(The author is a PhD Candidate in Politics, University of Southampton. This article has been republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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