INGRASSIA: Will Ol’ Joe Go Gently Into That Good Night?

Joe Biden loses his train of thought when questioned why he did so bad in the presidential debate.

Whether Joe Biden will drop out of the presidential race has quickly become the most important question of this year’s race, ever since his disastrous performance at last week’s presidential debate finally put both his party and the world on notice about the sheer magnitude of his decline.  Although most Republicans have been aware of Joe’s condition for a while now – really, ever since he decided to run for president from his Delaware basement four years ago, the Democrats – as well as their apparatchiks in the mainstream media, like CNN and The New York Times – have finally shone the spotlight on this escalating dilemma.  And it’s not like they have much choice: Biden’s cognitive impairment is undeniable, there’s no two ways about it.  Like many other eighty-year-olds, he is an octogenarian with dementia. But unlike those others who suffer in the relative peace and solitude of close family and friends, a president with dementia becomes a walking national security and constitutional liability.

He audibly struggles to string together a few basic words to make a coherent sentence.  He visibly tires after speaking for more than five minutes at a time.  His hands shake and his voice quakes.  He can barely walk in a straight line without wobbling – or being supported by his wife who pretends to be a doctor.  But, alas, Our First Lady, the Good Doctor, has not the remedy for this patient.  Joe Biden has a debilitating condition; in more normal times, he would not be permitted to carry out the solemn duties of his office.  No man with such declining mental faculties should ever have possession of the nuclear codes.  But these are not normal times – we are living through a polarized political environment featuring a forgetful president and his power-hungry wife.  Any movie with that plotline would end in disaster. Ours quickly is spiraling towards a similar outcome — but the tragedy is it’s happening in real time.

There are good reasons to think Biden might step down.  For one, this is the first time in living memory where he cannot count on the media to cover up his countless problems.  The post-debate analysis by CNN called the debate a debacle for Biden – the first bit of accurate reporting from that network in years.   Van Jones, a former Obama aide, called on Biden to reexamine his place in the race at this late stage.  The New York Times, a few days later, went one step further and called on Biden to drop out altogether.

In the intervening days, Biden has attempted to reassure party leaders, donors, and media allies that he can perform his duties.  But his vain attempts at cleanup have left much to be desired.  His speeches are rambling, if not downright coherent.  He always looks confused and lost, even when aided by “Dr. Jill” on stage.  The media and his own wife treat him like a young child; but that may be unfair to the child, who in all likelihood has greater control over his bowels than Ol’ Joe.  The gaffes are nonstop.  Just this week, Biden declared how proud he was for being the “first black woman to serve with a black president.”  Clearly, he meant that he was the first person to select an (allegedly) black woman in Kamala Harris as Vice President but confused that with having served alongside the first black President in Barack Obama.  Equally clear is that Biden would be hard pressed to explain what he meant by that statement – indeed, it is even doubtful at this point that he remembers having at all served as Vice President with Obama.

On the subject of Kamala Harris, as the Vice President, obviously by the 25th Amendment she would be next in line in presidential succession. However, it is doubtful that party leaders would be willing to grant her that office.  Indeed, it is because Kamala generally polls even less favorably than Biden, who already registers as the least popular president – at this stage of his administration – since polling began, that Biden has stood firmly in his post (at least for now).  With Biden’s current approvals, which are in the low-30s and declining, President Trump’s pathway to victory looks to be smooth sailing.  Virtually every single reputable pollster has the 45th President walloping Biden, and by significant margins, in the November election.

This says at least two things: one, it speaks to how lousy a candidate Biden is; and two, it speaks to how much lousier a candidate Harris, or any other candidate Democratic Party leaders nominate, would be in a head-to-head matchup against President Trump.  Not an ideal situation no matter how you spin it.

In addition to the bad polling, there are personal and political reasons why Biden would not just willingly surrender the reins of power.  One, as an 81-year-old politician who has served in various elected offices in Washington for over 50 years, he feels — selfishly — entitled to this office.  He ran for the presidency twice before he stole it in 2020 – in 2008 and 1988.  Few, if anyone, else in the Swamp can match Joe’s track record – all his rivals (Feinstein?) are dead already or have one foot (Pelosi?) in the grave.  Other than Hillary Clinton, who is only a few years younger than Joe, all those would-be contenders to succeed him for the presidency – Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer – were schoolchildren (if not in diapers) when Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1973. That ego ride is enough reason to want to stay in there.

There are more sinister reasons for holding on as well.  It’s not like Joe has much left in the tank – between the options of the White House and the nursing home, even for a dementia ridden president, the former must be much more delectable, however conceited and short-sighted (if not outright catastrophic) it is for the rest of the country.

More diabolically, being president allows him to retain some semblance of control over the Executive Branch and administrative state – which includes control over the Justice Department.  With Hunter’s looming sentencing for unlawful possession of a firearm just around the corner, and the high probability that Republicans on Capitol Hill will probably not give up investigating and prosecuting Biden for mishandling confidential documents (in addition to a slew of other corruption charges arising from his using the vice presidency to enrich family members including Hunter), the incentives to stay in the office, however incapacitated he might be, appear to far outweigh those in favor of stepping down.  Do Joe, Jill, and the rest of the Biden Crime Family want to relinquish power and risk facing endless prosecution for the rest of their days on earth?  That does not appear like a good option.  Thus, between the Scylla of staying in and the Charybdis of leaving, they may try to hold onto the presidency, for dear life, even as many of their staffers will likely question their long-term career prospects and the brighter of them, seeing the writing on the wall, will jump ship: before it’s too late.

The dimwitted will stay in office and continue to lie and cover up for Biden.  But even the most duplicitous individual in the White House must know, deep down, that they are on a precariously short leash.  As we speak, several Democratic Senators, including Mark Warner, are actively conspiring behind the scenes to oust Joe Biden.  Surely, Kamala Harris is plotting how, if Biden should step down, she will make her move for the presidency.  And of course, there are others – including both Hillary Clinton and the Obama family – who might see the presidency as rightfully theirs, creating a possibility of more infighting and a Palace Revolution of sorts that could plunge the Democratic Party into total disarray at a level not seen since 1968.

There are certainly analogues between this ongoing crisis within the Democratic Party owing to Joe Biden’s age and condition, and the problems that ultimately caused LBJ to not opt for reelection in 1968.  But the situation with Biden is arguably worse.  LBJ announced to the world he would not opt for reelection in March of that year; we are presently in July, a mere four months away from the November election.  The DNC is next month.  To step down now, after the primary has already ended, would send the Democrats into a mad scramble.

They are probably too incompetent, at this stage with all their DEI managers and strategists, to put together an action plan to fill the vacancy and mitigate the competitive free-for-all and inevitable bruised egos that come with it.  If they were to choose Michelle Obama as their party nominee, do people really believe Kamala Harris and her people will just willingly serve another four years for the good of the team, and let the former first lady (man?) serve as first black (fe?)-male president over her?  Is Kamala really the type of person that strikes you as being that selfless? That altruistic? A “for the greater good of the country” kind of girl?

Also, it’s not like Biden is running as an outsider, trying to get into the White House.  He is technically “the president” – that means he’s the incumbent, with all the strictures of a constitutional process (however much they would prefer to ignore or disregard it) to follow.  If Biden gets the boot, Kamala (not “Big Mike” or Hillary or Newsom) is the next man (woman?) up.  There is a 25th Amendment, which theoretically allows Harris to remove Biden on her own terms, with the support of a majority of Cabinet Secretaries, and with some help from Congress.  If Harris were a genius politician, she might be able to invoke the Amendment and seize power that way.

But Harris, as the personification of DEI made flesh (in contrast with Biden, the personification of the geriatric Washington Swamp), she in the greatest likelihood lacks the strategic abilities to pull off such a feat.  One, she’s stupid.  And two, she probably simply doesn’t have what it takes – courage-wise, organizational skills, etc. – to trigger that constitutional article.  To the extent she is even aware such an Amendment exists, she probably lacks the aptitude (despite, of course, being a first-rate legal mind) to divine its legal complexities and meaning.  She is no political genius, or a strategic genius of any sort.  So, it is unlikely that possibility, despite being more feasible than at any time since the 25th Amendment’s ratification, will come to fruition.

All of which is to say, Joe Biden will likely be the Democratic nominee.  Short of him dropping dead, he will go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump in November’s race, a reenactment of 2020.  However, this time, their cover has been blown – if they attempt to steal the race, as they no doubt will, nobody will buy it.  Courts will be far more receptive to evidence of fraud.  But it is unlikely it will even get that far this time around. In 2024, the Democrats have lost nearly all the luster they once had even four short years ago.  They look as worn out as the man at the head of their ticket; karma has a way of catching up to those who have so long enveloped themselves in a mountain of lies.

The jury is out: Donald Trump’s return to the White House in January of 2025 is a forgone conclusion (again, short of a massive cheat).  The Democrats have now become their own worst enemy – to their collective detriment, and to the rest of the world’s great enjoyment.

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Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.

You can email Paul Ingrassia here, and read more of Paul Ingrassia's articles here.

 

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