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US election: After TV debacle: Biden defies calls to withdraw

US election: After TV debacle: Biden defies calls to withdraw
US election: After TV debacle: Biden defies calls to withdraw

Biden’s disastrous performance in the duel against Trump has called his suitability for the office into question. But the 81-year-old is not considering withdrawing. His team is trying to brush aside any worries.

After his disastrous performance in the TV debate with his opponent Donald Trump, US President Joe Biden is trying to close ranks behind him. The 81-year-old has rejected calls for him to withdraw.

The president continued his campaign over the weekend, outwardly undeterred. He also collected donations at exclusive receptions in New Jersey and the Hamptons near New York – the Hamptons are known as a weekend destination for the rich and beautiful. There, Biden tried to convince his donors of his suitability for the office: “I didn’t have a great evening, but I’m going to fight even harder.” On Sunday, the Democrat withdrew for a long-planned family meeting – the debacle and possible consequences are likely to be a topic of discussion with his closest confidants.

Biden had a TV debate with his Republican predecessor Trump on Thursday evening (local time). Both want to return to the White House after the presidential election in November. According to polls, it is currently a neck-and-neck race. Biden’s performance, however, was a fiasco – he lost his train of thought, mumbled, stared into space with his mouth open and was often unable to finish his sentences properly. After the debate, a debate broke out in the USA about whether the 81-year-old is the right candidate for the Democrats. “To serve his country, President Biden should drop out of the race,” wrote the New York Times in an opinion piece. Other media outlets also openly called on the Democrat to withdraw.

Biden and his team go on the offensive

After the TV debacle, Biden’s camp went into attack mode and tried to limit the damage. The data showed that the duel had not changed the perception of the American people, it said in an email to party supporters. “Joe Biden will be the Democratic candidate, period,” it said in another text. A “bedwetter brigade” was calling on Biden to withdraw. The New York Times reported that Biden’s team was making countless calls in the background to try to put pressure on concerned Democratic MPs, supporters and donors. Top Democratic politician Nancy Pelosi defended Biden aggressively on breakfast television on Sunday. “It was a bad evening. Let’s put it behind us,” she said, trying to shift the focus to Trump.

Biden himself is working with major donors at a number of non-public events. The hosts of a long-planned reception in the upscale town of East Hampton included Hollywood stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Michael J. Fox. On the way to the appointment, Biden was met by a number of demonstrators. They held up signs on the side of the road that read things like “We love you, but it’s time” or “Stand down for democracy”. According to Biden’s team, another event in New Jersey alone raised around 3.7 million US dollars (around 3.4 million euros). The figures cannot be independently verified.

Biden retires with family

After his fundraising marathon, Biden traveled to Camp David – the country residence of US presidents near Washington. There, Biden wants to discuss the future of his election campaign with his family, reported NBC. The White House reacted quickly after the text was published and rejected the report. The approach of the report is incorrect. The government headquarters emphasized that the trip had been planned long before the debate and that a family photo of the Bidens was planned. However, it is difficult to imagine that the meeting will not now become an emergency meeting.

First Lady Jill Biden will also play a special role. The Bidens have been married for 47 years. Jill Biden is considered the US President’s closest confidant, and the 73-year-old’s word carries weight. She defended her husband demonstratively after the botched TV debate. “Joe is not only the right person for the job,” she said at a fundraising event on Saturday. “He is the only person for the job.”

Democrats on alert

So far, the front row of Democrats has stood united behind Biden – but there is unrest within the party. In fact, the coming days are likely to be decisive. That is when polls will show whether Biden’s weak performance is reflected in voters. If Biden’s poll numbers deteriorate, this will not only unsettle donors, but also cause panic among Democratic politicians who are also up for re-election in November.

At the party convention in Chicago in August, Biden is to be officially chosen as his party’s presidential candidate. He has already collected the necessary delegate votes for this in the primaries – the coronation party convention is, at least so far, a mere formality. Theoretically, however, it is possible that the party changes course at short notice and takes Biden out of the race. For this to happen, however, Biden himself would have to clear the way and withdraw. Observers consider this to be a mere thought experiment so close to the election. And even if this were to happen, the question remains as to who could succeed Biden in the duel against the 78-year-old Trump.

No real alternative

Because the Democrats have put their faith in Biden, they have failed to build a successor. Vice President Kamala Harris is very unpopular. The 59-year-old is unlikely to be the first choice. One name that is mentioned is Gavin Newsom. The 56-year-old governor of the liberal US state of California is an eloquent, thoroughbred politician. It is questionable whether he could score points with the more conservative rural population. Gretchen Whitmer, the 52-year-old governor of the state of Michigan, is also mentioned. The lawyer is part of the leadership circle of the Democratic Party. Many Democrats see Michelle Obama, the former First Lady and wife of former President Barack Obama, as a shining light. It is rather illusory that she could suddenly enter the race.

Source: Stern

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