OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Prior to his 2020 victory, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had many episodes where it appeared as though his mental acuity and capacities were fading. In the two-plus years since he’s been in the Oval Office, things have only gotten worse: Now, a majority of Americans, in recent polls, view him as not competent enough to complete a second term.
As such, there have been growing calls to replace both him and his unpopular vice president, Kamala Harris, on the 2024 Democratic ticket, and some names have already surfaced.
Fox News reported on Saturday that there is still time to get someone else on board, but time is rapidly running out.
The outlet noted:
Democrats already have a process in place to find a new candidate for the general election. That is the presidential primary. Democrat voters will head to the polls from January to June next year and select a presidential nominee.
Biden already faces competition from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson for that nomination, but polling shows that Democrat voters are not enthusiastic about them.
That means that another Democratic candidate with broad appeal to the party’s base would need to step up, and soon.
“The most likely candidate is California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has toured red states, called for a national referendum on guns and challenged presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a debate on Fox News,” Fox News reported, adding that Newsom has actually been viewed as somewhat of a nuisance by the Biden White House and Harris staffers.
“Rumors are also swirling around the popular governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who ran for president in 2020 on the need for generational change, has maintained a high profile while serving in the Biden cabinet,” Fox News reported, adding: “If any of these candidates want to mount a challenge, they have a few weeks left to join the race without compromising their ability to win.”
Typically, according to standard procedures, many states demand that candidates submit a declaration by a specific date to secure a spot on their primary ballot. Nevada holds the earliest deadline, set for October 15, which is just under a month, Fox reported. Another 14 states have filing deadlines by the end of the year.
Biden also can control his own fate. Should he win the nomination — which seems likely at this point — he could also choose to step down and take himself out of the race during the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for August 2024. Delegates are awarded to candidates as primaries are held but they don’t actually vote for a candidate until the nominating convention.
“If Biden wins a majority of delegates but wants to step down, he could use a speech prior to the convention or even during the week to endorse another candidate,” Fox noted. “Under Democratic Party rules, pledged delegates are not required to vote for the candidate they represent but are told to ‘reflect the sentiments of those who elected them,’ so an endorsement from Biden would be very influential.”
However, this is complicated and risky as well. Should Biden fail to persuade enough delegates to back his endorsed candidate, then rounds of voting would take place until a candidate managed to win a majority. That would, however, make Democrats look disunited and in disarray during a week when the spotlight is squarely on the party.
“This all makes a second Biden run the most likely outcome in 2024. If a candidate wants to change that, they would need to act now and accept that they are taking on an unprecedented challenge,” Fox News noted.