🔒 Biden defiant amid calls to step back from 2024 race: Timothy L. O’Brien

Despite mounting calls for Joe Biden to step back from the 2024 race after a turbulent debate, the President remains resolute: “I am firmly committed to staying in this race,” he affirmed in a letter to Democrats. Political analysts, like Francis Wilkinson and Mary Ellen Klas, debate the risks of challenging him. Despite dwindling favorability, Biden presses on, aiming to defy the odds, while polls show a narrowing gap against Trump in key swing states.

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By Timothy L. O’Brien

Despite increasing pressure from within the Democratic Party for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 election after a disastrous first debate, he’s made it very clear that he isn’t going anywhere. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

“I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump,” Biden wrote in a two-page letter to congressional Democrats Monday. “The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end.” 

For political columnist Francis Wilkinson, the letter was all about defining risk. “Is it riskier to remove the president? … Biden is saying, “I am raising the risk-level if you try to push me out,” Wilkinson said during Bloomberg Opinion’s weekly election analysis live stream Tuesday. 

Political columnist Mary Ellen Klas agreed: “He’s trying to run [the clock] out before the Democratic Convention, before it’s impossible to do anything else.” 

In his letter, Biden argued that anyone who wanted to run could have done so during the Democratic primary. Voters, he noted, chose him to be their candidate. Even so, the president appears to be in a corner, with some polls showing that voters are losing faith in him. Biden’s favorability among Democratic voters plummeted to an all-time low of 27%, according to post-debate polling data compiled by a prominent Democratic political action committee.

“[Biden’s] saying that he’s going to ignore everyone besides the voters,” said senior executive editor Timothy  L. O’Brien. “I think Biden’s performance in the debate was so troubling … you have to imagine it did cause a lot of voters to recalculate.”

On the other hand, a recent post-debate Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll showed Biden narrowing the gap with Trump in key swing states. Go figure.

With Biden’s physical limitations on full display now, it may have been best for the president and the Democratic Party to have started considering an open primary at least a year ago — instead of risking disaster sub-122 days before the election and less than 50 days before the Democratic National Convention.

“Biden can’t reverse what Americans saw [during the debate], and what we saw was someone who had a health event. The question is now: How often will this happen?” Klas said. 

So what does Biden know that polls and many voters don’t? Would changing horses so close to a presidential election only make things worse? And what would that even look like?

“I don’t know,” Wilkinson said. “You can’t ignore the fact that we are in uncharted territory.” 

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