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How much would you bet on Biden’s comeback? | News, Sports, Jobs

How much would you bet on Biden’s comeback? | News, Sports, Jobs
How much would you bet on Biden’s comeback? | News, Sports, Jobs


MONA CHARLES

One of the saddest fables that people have consoled themselves with over the past eight years has been that of the strength of American institutions: voters could elevate an incompetent, malicious demagogue to the rank of politician, but our system of checks and balances was robust; our institutions would prevent any serious harm.

Over the years, one institution after another has proven the opposite: that they are not bulwarks, but mere facades.

An entire political party, and indeed the party of Lincoln, abandoned its commitment to law and tradition, to principles such as free trade, concern for the national debt, the acceptance of immigrants, sympathy for free enterprise, and America’s claim to be a leading role in the world.

Large parts of the press, an indispensable institution in a free society, have been transformed into propaganda channels that rival those of North Korea.

Business leaders have sided with Trump, showering him with donations and downplaying his threat to the freedoms that underpin the free market economy.

Conservative organizations and think tanks have become mouthpieces for MAGA.

Some churches have replaced Trump with God, and even those that have not gone that far view criticism of Trump as a form of blasphemy.

Until this week, it was the judiciary that had largely withstood the prevailing winds – despite Aileen Cannon, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. With Trump v. United States, that is over. Another domino has fallen – a huge one. The decision, which could be one of the most outrageous in American history, puts the president above the law and paves the way for massive abuse of power, if not an outright dictatorship.

It is against this backdrop that we must look at Biden’s candidacy. The past week has shown that the only way to confront autocracy in our own country is through the election on November 5. Even before Trump vs. the USA, the stakes were enormous. Since then, the stakes have become astronomically high.

The question we all have to answer is: Are we willing to stake our democracy on Biden’s chances of victory?

Before the debate, I was. Now I’m coming to the conclusion that the risks are too great. Before the debate, I was disappointed in Biden’s decision to run again (though I thought he did a good job as president), but I’ve come to terms with it. Now I’m angry at him and the people around him who put ego, pride, and stubbornness above the country in making that decision. I believed the Biden team when they said that Biden was the real deal at the State of the Union, and that the multiple stories of decline and dementia were extremely exaggerated partisan attacks. Now I can see that the reports of deterioration were more right than wrong, and that the Biden team was hiding him and deceiving us.

He skipped the Super Bowl interview. He took the back entrance of Air Force One to avoid the longer staircase. Even in the press conference he called to rebut Robert Hur’s accusations that he was losing his footing, he confused the presidents of Mexico and Egypt. This came shortly after he referred to Emmanuel Macron as Francois Mitterrand (who died in 1996).

Moreover, Biden asked for this debate. Presumably he and his team realized he had to convince Americans, even many Democrats, that he was mentally and physically up to the demands of another term. A March AP/NORC poll found that only 40% of Democrats were extremely or very confident that Biden had the mental capacity to serve another term. That’s bad enough, but among non-Democrats, the picture was bleak. A June 5-7 CBS poll found that 72% of independents did not believe Biden had the mental and cognitive health to serve as president.

Biden’s performance in the debate confirmed the worst rumors about his sensitivity. The first post-debate polls confirm the extent of his failure.

In a normal year, it would be irresponsible to ask voters to elect an ailing 81-year-old. This year, it’s a disaster. The Biden announced on June 27 can’t beat Trump. Remember: The 2020 version of Biden barely managed it.

If Biden were to drop out of the race, he would be immediately celebrated as a statesman. At the same time, the prospect of a candidate decades younger who can make a case would excite voters who look forward to November with the same enthusiasm as the victims of the French Revolution who rode carts to the guillotine. Independent voters in particular would be happy to have another option.

In 2020, the Democrats, usually so divided and identity-obsessed, put all that aside to unite behind the old white man in the name of defeating a real threat. I pray the party can do that again this year—and not think about who is black or female or Asian or Hispanic, but who has the best chance of winning. That could be Kamala Harris. But it could also be someone else.

The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the world still in existence. Everything depends on whether it remains a strong institution capable of doing its job. Right now, its primary goal is to keep Trump out of power.

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Mona Charen is political editor at The Bulwark and moderator of the “I disagree” Podcasts.



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