Rob Reiner Urges President Joe Biden to Drop Out and End Election Campaign

Rob Reiner Urges President Joe Biden to Drop Out and End Election Campaign

In a surprising turn of events, filmmaker and political activist Rob Reiner has publicly urged President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 election campaign. Reiner’s call comes amid growing concerns within the Democratic Party about Biden’s ability to secure a second term, given his age and recent performance issues.

Several of Biden’s potential Democratic replacements and their top aides have begun to consider what a last-minute fight for the nomination might look like. They are closely monitoring their prospective opponents’ moves, looking for openings and ways to call them out for getting ahead of the president. For instance, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s PAC recently sent out a fundraising appeal that reads almost like a mission statement for her, highlighting her success in a key presidential battleground state.

More than two dozen top Democratic officials, political operatives, and donors tied to Biden and other potential substitutes have expressed their fears about nearly every scenario. They worry about the implications of going forward with Biden, a Kamala Harris nomination, or a nomination of someone else who would have beaten the first Black female vice president. They also fear long nights of multiple ballots spilling ideological and personal feuds on national television, and revelations of embarrassing details about people who have never been vetted by a national campaign.

“It would be a Category 5 hurricane,” said one top Democratic official, nervous about the potential fallout if Biden steps aside. Others believe that the resistance to Trump is strong enough to allow for a successful swap. “I think we can absolutely swap and win,” said a major Democratic donor. “If Joe Biden’s the nominee, we’re all in. If someone else is the nominee, we’re all in.”

A CBS News/YouGov poll found that only 55% of registered Democratic voters believe Biden should continue running, with 45% saying he should step aside. Despite this, Biden campaign aides have pointed to metrics like strong grassroots fundraising days and a surge in job applications since Thursday.

None of the speculation matters if Biden, who will be three months older by the next scheduled debate, doesn’t step aside. So far, he has maintained a defiant posture in public while privately acknowledging his poor performance but insisting that his candidacy is the only way forward. Since he won all the primaries, he controls most of the delegates, meaning they can only vote for someone else if he decides to pull out.

Multiple Democratic officials and operatives, some affiliated with alternatives and some not, argue that Biden has demonstrated too much ego to bow out. They believe that his argument of being the best Democrat to beat Trump has now been turned on its head, making him the least likely to win. They also criticize his inner circle for either not being honest or not capable of steering him toward an exit or recovery.

Even as minds turn to a list of potential replacements, including Harris, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and others, none have publicly expressed anything but support for Biden. They worry about being labeled traitors and fear that it might make Biden dig in more.

A debate watch party in Los Angeles featured high-profile attendees like Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff, Pritzker, Whitmer, and Beshear. Rob Reiner was reportedly vocal about the need for change, while Jane Fonda was visibly emotional. Even Barack Obama is choosing his words carefully, emphasizing the importance of unity and teamwork.

Biden campaign aides dismiss the possibility of him dropping out, arguing that no one else could do better against Trump. They point to a diverse list of supporters, from progressive icon Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to conservative GOP former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. A senior Biden adviser told CNN, “You win elections by bringing everyone under one banner. The best chance we have of doing it is the guy who has been in the White House, has a historic record of accomplishment, and already beaten Donald Trump once.”

In a demonstration of the campaign’s scramble to quash replacement talk, Biden aides announced that Donna Brazile and Stephanie Cutter would explain why a replacement would be a fantasy. Both Brazile and Cutter, however, were not informed in advance but remain committed to Biden.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who had considered a 2024 run if Biden didn’t, expressed confidence in Biden after a recent dinner. He acknowledged Biden’s age but emphasized his ability to unite the Democratic Party. “There are very few people who can span the broad interests of our beloved Democratic Party in the same way he can. And he’s proven that,” Murphy said.

If Biden were to step aside, many agree that Harris would have the early edge. Endorsing her could carry significant weight among loyal Biden delegates. However, some believe that the interest in other candidates stems from “the appeal of the unknown.” Harris’ years of scrutiny and association with Biden could be too much to let her get a free pass.

In a time of crisis for the Democratic Party, a combination of ambition and sense of duty could be enticing. Some are already considering the possibility of Harris failing on the first ballot and jumping in then. “Would it be very hard and challenging? Yes. But I think there’s actually a benefit to whoever the white knight is, riding in on a horse to save the campaign and the country,” said one senior Democratic operative.

However, this could lead to a chaotic convention with multiple candidates making promises and clashing candidacies. Democratic operatives worry about the message this would send to the country as they try to present themselves as the alternative to Trump-style chaos.

“President Biden is the nominee and he’s going to remain the nominee,” said Cutter. “For those who are looking for some sort of interparty fight, be careful what you wish for because that would ensure a Trump victory.”

As the Democratic Party grapples with these issues, Biden continues to urge his supporters to stay unified. During a series of stops in Pennsylvania, he emphasized his optimism about America’s future if the party sticks together. However, the party remains deeply divided, with some top Democrats privately suggesting that Biden should step aside.

Source: CNN, AP

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