Biden pins campaign hopes on ABC interview; more Dems, donors fall behind Harris – National & International News – FRI 5Jul2024

Biden pins campaign hopes on ABC interview tonight despite more public flubs. Meanwhile, more Democratic politicians and donors line up behind Harris, publicly and privately.

Biden pins campaign hopes on ABC interview; more Dems, donors fall behind Harris

Over a week after his disastrous debate with Donald Trump, President Biden has defiantly vowed to stay in the 2024 race, at least publicly. Even during his July 4th speech when he declared he was “not going anywhere”, there were times when his speech appeared muddled. There was also this confusing moment when he made an off-the-cuff remark about highway congestion. Then, during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station, Biden appeared to say he was proud to be the first Black woman to serve with a Black president

Tonight at 8PM ET/7PM, ABC will air an interview with Biden and George Stephanopoulos. The campaign hopes that this interview will put to rest the growing calls for him to step aside. However, the interview is pre-taped. It’s questionable whether such a carefully curated event will cancel out the poor impression of Biden’s mental fitness left in the minds of many voters by Biden’s live debate performance. 

Adding to the campaign’s woes, several major Democratic donors have gone public this week to say they will withhold donations to the campaign until Biden bows out. Some have said they will only give to down-ballot candidates.

Some elected Democrats in Washington acknowledged (anonymously) to NBC what many in the country have long suspected; Biden’s debate performance was not a “blip” or an anomaly as many in the Biden camp have sought to portray. One senator said, “The country saw [at the debate] what those of us who have had personal interactions with him have all known for the last 2½ years”.

One House member said, alarmingly, that debate-night Biden was not the “worst” version of Biden. However, the lawmaker said, “it was not an aberration”. 

The conversation in Washington is swiftly moving towards what to do about it. 

Momentum builds for Kamala Harris to step in

CNN interviewed dozens of Democratic operatives, including sitting members of Congress and some caucus leaders (none of whom wanted to be named on the record). Even as Biden and his team vow to battle on, and many Democratic officials are standing behind Biden publicly, statements to CNN show a consensus is building behind-the-scenes that Biden needs to go. Sources acknowledged that the debate likely tanked any chance Biden may have had of beating Trump in November.

There is also consensus Vice President Kamala Harris must be the one to replace him. Even Trump’s campaign have already switched gears and are directing their attacks at Harris more than Biden.

A Google document circulating among Washington Democrats and donors put it bluntly: “There’s one path out of this mess, and it’s Kamala”. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that it would be less complicated legally to transfer Biden’s huge campaign war chest to Harris than to any potential replacement.

However, the document’s authors are also cleareyed that Harris wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice. Harris’ approval ratings have been less than stellar. Establishment Democrats will likely fall in line behind her if Biden steps aside, but Harris’ candidacy isn’t likely to generate much excitement among the voter base. “She’s not the best option,” the document reads, but, “she’s the only realistic option to win”.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) spoke to CNN yesterday and hinted that the conversation about a viable running mate for Harris is already taking place. This choice, Huffman opines, is what will bring the enthusiasm among voters. Several Democratic governors are in the running, including: Roy Cooper (NC), J. B. Pritzker (IL), Josh Shapiro (PA), Tim Walz (MN) and Andy Beshear (KY).

Huffman also mentioned that the party could announce the switch soon after the Republican National Convention, which will take place from July 15 – July 18. However, Huffman prefaced this speculation by saying “sooner is better”. 


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