NewsStreet Scribe

Democrats Face a Dilemma After Biden’s Dismal Debate

Screenshot via CNN and YouTube

“I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat,” said cowboy humorist Will Rogers nearly a century ago. Today the Democratic Party is disorganized and disgruntled in the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s dismal debate debacle last month. Calls for Biden to step down from the 2024 campaign in favor of a fresher face came from the editorial boards of the New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Democratic voters and politicians joined the chorus of cries urging Biden to step down, while others in the party urged him to stay in the race as the Nov. 5 election day draws ever closer.

Democrats are in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” quandary after Biden’s plodding performance on the debate stage. Though GOP candidate Donald Trump peppered his debate spiel with egregious falsehoods and exaggerations, and refused to say whether he would abide by the results of the upcoming 2024 election, it was President Biden’s cringe-worthy showing on the debate stage that was the salient takeaway from the event televised to a viewing audience of more than 50 million.

Soon after his flop in the first of two debates, Biden made a forceful and well-received speech at a rally in North Carolina. On July 1, Biden made a short but emphatic televised address decrying the Supreme Court’s decision that day expanding presidential powers by backing immunity from prosecution for presidents who may break the law while performing “official acts.” The decision was made by a 6–3 partisan split on the high court. Biden strongly agreed with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s words of dissent in the case: “In every use of power, the president is now a king above the law,” she warned. Still, Biden’s poor showing in the first debate is overshadowing his wise words in North Carolina and Washington that were heard by far fewer American voters than the 50 million who tuned in for last month’s debate.

The clock is ticking for Biden’s presidential run, and there’s not much time left. He needs a good showing during the next debate in September. Democrats hoping for a political savior on a white horse to replace Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August will probably have their hopes dashed as Biden is renominated in the Windy City. The president gave a strong, upbeat State of the Union speech early this year, and Democrats are hoping that Joe Biden shows up at the next debate, on the convention stage and on the campaign trail.

Biden spokesman James Singer has warned voters about the perils of a possible second Trump administration. “America, stop scrolling and pay attention,” he said recently. “Donald Trump is not playing games. He is telling America exactly what he intends to do if he regains power: rule as a dictator over a ‘unified reich’… The stakes could not be higher. Trump promises an unabashedly imperial presidency with no checks and balances, no courts and an obedient GOP.”

Indeed, the stakes have never been higher in the American political contest than they are in this year’s election. The competition in 2024 is between democracy and despotism, and democracy is on the ropes. If Trump returns to the White House, he has vowed to seek revenge and retribution on his opponents, and he has talked of pardons for the MAGA mobsters who were imprisoned after the infamous Jan. 6, 2021 invasion of Capitol Hill. He will stock his cabinet with lickspittle loyalists and go after opponents who dare to question his regime. 

In 1960, some 70 million Americans out of a population of about 176 million saw the first televised debate between Democrat John Kennedy and Republican rival Richard Nixon. In the 1960 election, Nixon lost a close contest, but he abided by the results. Today’s U.S. population is nearly twice what it was in 1960, but last month’s debate drew far fewer viewers. The choices for president this year are disheartening, but one can only hope that voters in 2024 would rather have a president who’s old, feeble and unsure than a preening plutocrat who’s old, evil and cocksure.