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It’s Dawning on the Democrats: Biden-Harris Will Drag Them Down

It’s Dawning on the Democrats: Biden-Harris Will Drag Them Down

They’ve tied their party to a pair of losers.

The Joe Biden–Kamala Harris ticket was well-placed to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. History may show that, beyond that, it turned out to be fit for no other purpose.

We hear an enormous amount these days about the problem of “Flight 93-ism” on the American right, but a great deal less about the concomitant panic that has led the Democratic Party to behave as if last year’s election represented its last gasp. Since Joe Biden took office in January, his party has been busy cramming everything it has ever wanted to do into a series of multi-trillion-dollar, must-pass bills; hawking a patently unconstitutional elections-supervision bill that would hand it full control of America’s democratic infrastructure; and engaging in a frenzied attempt to pack the Supreme Court, discredit the Senate, abolish the filibuster, and add new states to the union by simple majority vote. If you ask for an explanation of this preposterous behavior, you will be told that it is the product of the Republican Party’s dastardly scheme to implement Jim Eagle. If you look more closely, however, you’ll sense something else: fear — that, in a desperate attempt to remove President Trump from office, the Democrats tailored themselves a straitjacket from which they will struggle mightily to escape.

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This fear is well-founded. Joe Biden is an aging, incompetent mediocrity whose main claim to fame, like the Delta Tau Chi fraternity from Animal House, is his long tradition of existence. Kamala Harris, his vice president, is a widely disliked authoritarian whose last run for the White House was stymied by her inability to garner support from more than 3 percent of the Democratic-primary electorate. If before the disaster that was the last fortnight, the Democrats hadn’t sensed that they’d tied their party to a pair of losers, they sure as hell must have now.

It seems unlikely that outside events will save the party from its mistake. We have begun to hear rumblings about that popular old chestnut, the 25th Amendment, during the last week. Speaking to Hugh Hewitt this morning, Senator Rick Scott asked and answered what he called “a legitimate question” about the incumbent president. “Does this guy,” Scott inquired, “have the capability to lead the United States and be commander in chief of the most powerful and lethal military force ever created in the history of the world?” “If he does not,” Scott concluded, “then we have got to do something about it.”

But, absent some shattering revelation about the state of Joe Biden’s health, this is not going to happen. The 25th Amendment is an escape hatch reserved for genuine crises, not an open-ended enabling act by which the cabinet and Congress might facilitate a legalized coup. For the provision to be successfully invoked, advocates would have to convince a majority of the cabinet and a supermajority of the Congress that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” — not politically, but as a matter of medical fact. Clearly, this ain’t in the cards. Joe Biden, who has the power under the amendment to counter “that no inability exists,” will not go along with it. Kamala Harris, who would have everything to lose if she acquiesced in a failed attempt, is not going to risk it. And Congress, which would be called upon to follow through in the unlikely event the cabinet pulled the trigger, will not vote for it.

And why should it, given that getting rid of President Biden would not actually fix the Democrats’ problems? Joe Biden’s approval rating is currently around 46 percent in national poll averages — not great for a president in his seventh month in office, but dramatically better than Kamala Harris’s rating, which stands at just 37 percent. Per NBC, Harris inspires “very positive” feelings in just 19 percent of the population while prompting “very negative feelings” among 36 percent — a feat makes her the most strongly disliked VP since records began. If today, the Democratic Party decided to cut its losses and replace Biden with Harris, it would be selecting a new president who was nearly ten points less popular than the old one. This would be absurd.

This means that if the Democratic Party is destined for a reckoning with its ticket — as now seems increasingly likely — it will have to come during the next set of presidential primaries. Come 2024; Joe Biden will be nearly 82 years old — nearly a decade older than any president has ever been at any point in any term — while Harris, with four years of cackling ineptitude under her belt, will likely have become an even more septic proposition than she presently is. Given the threat of a returning Donald Trump or an “even worse than Trump!” figure such as Governor DeSantis, it isn’t too tough to imagine the drumbeat from the have-to-win-this-most-important-ever-election crowd growing so loud that switching to an alternative, unsullied set of nominees seems like the most prudent choice.

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It is less easy, however, to imagine this actually working. Aside from the obvious challenge of explaining to their identity politics-obsessed base why it is just so inspiring! to have Kamala Harris as VP, but it wouldn’t be at all inspiring to have her continue in the role (or become the president herself), a Democratic Party that sought to substitute in another set of candidates would be attempting to sidestep one of the ironclad rules of modern politics: that when an incumbent president is subject to a serious challenge during the primary, that president goes on to lose the general. It happened in 1992 after Pat Buchanan took on George H. W. Bush; it happened in 1980 after Ted Kennedy took on Jimmy Carter; it happened in 1976 after Ronald Reagan took on Gerald Ford; and, in 1968, the mere prospect of it happening forced LBJ to retire and helped Hubert Humphrey to lose.

Rock, meet hard place. In a couple of years, you’re gonna get on great.

Cross-posted from National Review

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