Douglas Mackinnon took the gloves off for his new opinion piece in The Hill titled ‘Leading Democrats need to go to the White House to ask Biden and Harris to step aside.’
“Playtime is over,” Mackinnon begins. “We have to put the toys away and have the adults in the room re-exert their authority.
“It’s one thing when the issues of the day are identity politics; “green” energy; organized looting; cashless bail; Trump’s legal exposure; political corruption; or who’s really in charge of the border, when having a president and vice president in power who even countless Democrats no longer have faith in.” Yet, “it’s quite another when the world is teetering on the edge of massive violent conflict or outright nuclear war and that leadership looks demonstrably lost and feeble.”
So, to put it mildly, Mackinnon does not believe that Biden-Harris is the team to govern the United States through the troubled waters of contemporary geopolitics.
The Stakes are High
Mackinnon appeals to the existential stakes at play in the “teetering” world order – and the importance of the President of the United States in affecting that world order. Mackinnon suggests that the sensitivities of the moment – namely the potential for escalation, and nuclear confrontation, in Eastern Europe and the Middle East – call for a talented operator at the helm of our federal government.
Mackinnon, formerly a writer for the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, doesn’t get into the possibility of a Biden-Harris ticket enabling a second Trump administration; I’m not sure if preventing Trump from returning to the Oval Office factored into Mackinnon’s thinking. Would Mackinnon prefer Trump to Biden? Presumably not since Mackinnon appeals to Democratic leadership to replace Biden-Harris, suggesting that Mackinnon would prefer a DNC alternative to Trump. Regardless, Mackinnon is perfectly clear on one point: he wants Biden-Harris off the ticket.
“I can’t find a Democrat I know who wants either one on the ticket for 2024,” Mackinnon wrote. “Be it for age reasons; cognitive-health concerns; potential Hunter Biden corruption issues; plain competency fears; or record-low polling numbers, a second act of Biden-Harris comes across as political kryptonite for many Democrats hoping to retain the White House in 2024.”
Don’t expect Biden-Harris to step aside
Mackinnon is correct on several counts; his concerns are rational and widely shared. I have written extensively to suggest Biden and Harris not be on the 2024 ticket. Yet I have little hope that Democrats will provide an alternative. Biden is the incumbent. Displacing an incumbent president, from within the party, would be difficult. And establishment figures don’t have the appetite to try given the significant financial and reputation disincentives. The only people working to displace Biden-Harris are Democratic fringe candidates Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson. RFK Jr. has flirted with double digits in the polls, but neither candidate has a realistic shot of unseating Biden.
Voters have been quite clear – they don’t much care for the Biden-Harris ticket. Both Biden and Harris have historically low poll numbers. Sure, Biden has already defeated Trump in a presidential election, but he didn’t even have to campaign in 2020 thanks to the pandemic. Can the octogenarian president mount a campaign sufficiently convincing to retain the presidency? Do we even want Biden to retain the presidency? That the questions are being raised deserves the respect of the Democratic party.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
From the Vault