It's getting hard to see how Biden can stay in the race

It's getting hard to see how Biden can stay in the race
  • Biden is vowing to stay in the race — but his political position seems untenable.

  • His polling is slipping. House Democrats are squirming. There's open talk of swapping in VP Harris.

  • Biden could stay in, but he may be irreparably weakened by now.

As of Wednesday, President Joe Biden is vowing to stay in the presidential race. But it's becoming difficult to see how he can do so without suffering a humiliating defeat in November.

In the immediate aftermath of his poor debate performance, it was easier to imagine him staying in place. Most of the calls for him to step aside were coming from liberal commentators and opinion writers, with lawmakers largely holding their tongues or dodging questions about what they had just seen.

But things began to change this week. Democratic politicians who don't hold elected office — including former Rep. Tim Ryan and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, both of whom ran against Biden in 2020 — called on Biden to step down. Two House Democrats have publicly joined them, while two others — Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington — declared that they believe Biden will lose in November.

Meanwhile, the White House — a relatively disciplined operation, especially compared to the chaos and backstabbing that defined the Trump administration — has become especially leaky, signaling internal discontent.

Just in the last few days, people within the White House have discussed Biden's irritably, his relatively light schedule, and the jarring appearance of Hunter Biden at some White House meetings.

A New York Times/Siena College on Wednesday poll found that former President Donald Trump gained three points among voters nationwide after the debate. A CNN poll on Tuesday showed Vice President Kamala Harris outpolling Biden, and there's been a groundswell in support for the vice president among Democrats on social media.

More broadly, elected Democrats have grown comfortable openly discussing the possibility of replacing Biden, even if they're not officially calling for it. Many are also expressing discontent with the way the Biden campaign has handled the whole effort, including its use of the term "bedwetters" for those who were calling for a change.

And on Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported that Biden himself is privately weighing whether to go on.

It's not out of the question that Biden would choose to stay, and that top party leaders would choose to bite their tongues and stand behind him. But all of these developments have done immense damage to Biden's candidacy, and are virtually impossible to reverse.

Biden's growing polling deficit seems unlikely to bounce back, barring something disastrous happening to Trump.

The number of lawmakers either calling for him to drop out or declaring that he won't win seems to grow by the day, and there are very few lawmakers who are vociferously defending him.

If Biden chooses to go on, he will likely be limping into the general election.

It's not inconceivable that at that point, Democratic senators and House members will seek to distance themselves from the president, pitching themselves as a check on an inevitable second Trump administration.

Dumping Biden brings its own risks — it's an unprecedented move, and any potential successor may have their own political weaknesses. Depending on what happens, Democrats could be looking at an open convention, a scenario that could bring chaos and infighting just months before the election.

But after the week that Biden's had, it's difficult to see him being reelected in November.

Read the original article on Business Insider