From Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect <[email protected]>
Subject Kuttner on TAP: The Drumbeat for Biden to Step Aside Will Only Grow Louder
Date February 21, 2024 8:04 PM
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**FEBRUARY 21, 2024**

On the Prospect website

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Corporate Attack Dogs Find a New Subject to Bully

Beth Baltzan, a non-Senate-confirmed staffer to the U.S. trade
representative, Katherine Tai, has been targeted by Big Tech firms as a
way to sully Tai's decisions about digital trade. BY DAVID DAYEN

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Often a stepping stone to higher office, Republican AG offices have
played host to a repeated set of scandals in recent years. BY TONI

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The Neglected History of the State of Israel

The Revisionist faction of Zionism that ended up triumphing adhered
to literal fascist doctrines and traditions. BY RICK PERLSTEIN

Kuttner on TAP








**** The Drumbeat for Biden to Step Aside Will
Only Grow Louder

Would an open convention actually energize the Democrats?

Ezra Klein has doubled down on his call for Biden to step aside in favor
of an open nominating process. His latest podcast, with political
scientist and longtime Democratic insider Elaine Kamarck, describes
exactly how the process would work. You can read the transcript here

To save you reading almost 10,000 words (which are worth the read):
Kamarck makes a case that the process might well be energizing and not
the sh*tshow that skeptics fear. It would be one part grassroots
democracy and one part smoke-filled room.

If Biden were to announce that he is stepping aside, the effort to
influence the nomination would take the form of organizing to select who
is to be chosen as the delegates. Biden will have won most if not all
primaries, but the individuals selected to serve as actual delegates
will not be chosen for several more weeks or months, and the role of
delegate will be up for grabs.

To quote Kamarck, "Suppose that Joe Biden dropped out in April. The
people who would want to replace him will engage in a very grass-roots
campaign to get their loyalists in the state elected to go to the
national convention ... You would be finding your supporters in the
state and encouraging them to go to the county convention or go to the
state convention."

In other words, the immediate consequence would be a series of late
quasi-primaries in all states. At the convention itself, with multiple
hats in the ring, it is very unlikely that the nominee would be chosen
on the first ballot. That's where the smoke-filled room part comes in.
As in the old days, there would be a lot of deliberation and horse
trading between ballots to come up with a ticket that can win.

Kamarck argues that an open, multi-ballot convention could end up
producing Democratic unity. "The fundamental issue of the Democratic
Party is that Donald Trump should not be president again." That, says
Kamarck, "would create a strategic sharpening of the mind on the
Democratic side."

What about the tricky issue of Kamala Harris? In stepping aside, Biden
might just throw it open. Or he might urge the convention to select

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But either way, it's hard to imagine a multi-ballot process choosing
Harris, since the delgates above all want to win. And it would take some
of the sting out of her being denied the nomination if she fails to
prevail in a legitimate process, especially if the nominee for president
or vice president were African American.

It may be that this is all wishful. A brokered convention might be
perceived as elite and undemocratic. After late-night dealmaking, it
might not pick the strongest nominee.

In the old days, smoke-filled multi-ballot Democratic conventions gave
us FDR on the fourth ballot in 1932, but also John W. Davis in 1924,
after 103 ballots.

Here at the

**Prospect**, we've been debating the pros and cons of a Biden
abdication for months, most recently in this video/transcript by David
Harold Meyerson has flatly argued that Biden should step aside
I've argued both sides of the case, writing that it might be best if
someone else ran but also trying to show how Biden could run a better
campaign and win.

Quite apart from what we think, the calls for Biden to step aside have
taken on a life of their own. They will be all over the talk shows and
social media, and the drumbeat will only grow louder as Biden invetably
keeps making verbal slips.

The advantage of a fresh face, say a Whitmer-Warnock ticket, is that
most of Biden's liabilities disappear. Gretchen Whitmer is 52; Trump
at 77 becomes the geezer. It isn't Whitmer's inflation, or
Whitmer's Israel policy, or Whitmer's verbal gaffes. Unlike Hillary
Clinton in 2016, who appeared cowed by Trump's looming presence,
Whitmer is terrific at standing up to bullies, as well as delivering for
working-class voters. But would she be the nominee?

History is unjust. If he were 60, the case for renominating Biden would
be overwhelming. But you can't stop time. How much better for his
legacy that he be remembered as a great one-term president who put aside
his own vanity to reduce the risk of the return of Trump.

Then again, I cannot guarantee how an open convention might turn out.
Are we better off with the flawed and decent man we know, or the one we
can't predict?


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