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Tipsheet

Oof: A Ton of Elected Democrats Really, Really Have No Idea What to Say About Joe Biden

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Part of the panic engulfing Democrats' self-inflicted Joe Biden dilemma is a deep concern about the possibility of Biden faltering further and tanking the entire ticket in key states and districts.  Some campaigns may be able to survive a close loss at the top of the blue ticket, but a decisive Biden defeat could put any number of House and Senate seats in serious jeopardy.  That's why Democrats are whispering to reporters about how "sh*t is going to hit the fan" over the current high-stakes game of chicken, outcome unclear.  "People are scared about their own races," the same unnamed Congressman told Axios. Yesterday, Biden attempted to put the issue to rest, demanding that the Democrats buzzards stop circling his candidacy.  His message was not subtle, and was directed squarely at members of his own political coalition -- very much including 'news' media figures and elected officials.  Some key excerpts:

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Fellow Democrats,

Now that you have returned from the July 4th recess, I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump...We had a Democratic nomination process and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively. I received over 14 million votes, 87% of the votes cast across the entire nominating process. I have nearly 3,000 delegates, making me the presumptive nominee of our party by a wide margin...This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me. One fared so badly that he left the primaries to run as an independent. Another attacked me for being too old and was soundly defeated. The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party. Do we now just say this process didn’t matter? That the voters don’t have a say?

I decline to do that. I feel a deep obligation to the faith and the trust the voters of the Democratic Party have placed in me to run this year. It was their decision to make. Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned. The voters — and the voters alone — decide the nominee of the Democratic Party. How can we stand for democracy in our nation if we ignore it in our own party? I cannot do that. I will not do that...My fellow Democrats — we have the record, the vision, and the fundamental commitment to America’s freedoms and our Democracy to win. The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.

Sincerely,

Joe Biden

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He (or his team) brought out the big rhetorical guns here.  The big take-aways are that continuing to question whether Biden should be the party's nominee is tantamount to attacking democracy itself, and is actively helping Donald Trump win.  Frankly, both points have merit.  Constantly bleeding your presumptive nominee is politically destructive.  And Biden is the presumptive nominee because he's the duly-elected incumbent president who decided to seek re-election and who overwhelmingly won the almost-non-existent primary process that Democrats chose to engage in -- despite all the warning signs surrounding Biden's very advanced age.  That is their own fault.  It's a choice that is tormenting and haunting them now, and will only grow more fateful in their minds if Biden stays in and Trump wins.  Speaking of which, here's a related aside:


Biden's missive is a shot across the bow, a command to stop the mutiny, and to get in formation. He's telling the other side to blink. Will they? It seems like it, at least for now. Does it hold and last?  I guess we'll see, but they're running out of time to do anything else.  Still, a number of Democrats have already come out against Biden's continuing his run.  Quite a few others have doubled down in their support, especially as of last night.  And many are just saying absolutely nothing, or essentially nothing.  Virginia Senator Mark Warner, whose state suddenly looks competitive, was rumored to be organizing a meeting to discuss this matter, but that effort leaked, so the plan was scuttled.  His subsequent statement, following Biden's letter, was a puddle of nothing:

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"Now is the time for conversations" is extremely Senatorial.  Also, it's wrong: The real time for conversations around this subject was last year or earlier, before the giant conspiracy of lies about the president's condition deepened and led to this point.  Perhaps the two most vulnerable upper chamber incumbents from either party, Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, would like voters to know, er, something, sort of?


Good stuff. Look, I understand that politicians often hedge, avoid taking risks, and try to wait for things to settle down or shake out before deciding what to say. People on the Left ridiculed Republican lawmakers for years over their gutless gyrations and acrobatics to avoid commenting on the latest Trump controversy du jour.  But the affliction is bipartisan, and here we have endangered Democratic incumbents unable to say anything remotely worthwhile about a man who is plainly unfit to be president for another four years.  The notion, as Brown suggests, that it takes a "pundit" to weigh in on the cognitive and physical fitness of an 81-year-old Commander-in-Chief, particularly after the events of the last two weeks, is ludicrous.  He'll "keep listening to people."  Bold leadership, right there.  As for Tester's assertion that he'll just go back standing up to Joe Biden when he's wrong, his opponent filleted that posture promptly and effectively: 

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Are useless piles of words from Tester and Brown better or worse than just running away, as Ted Cruz's opponent in Texas did here?


And a hybrid approach from Pennsylvania's Bob Casey:


"I’m not gonna be an analyst.”  I'll leave you with two thoughts. First, because we discussed whether or not Kamala Harris would be a better bet for Democrats than Biden in our Monday analysis, this is a good point:


Finally, it's worth really driving home who was lying on behalf of the absolutely scandalous "conspiracy of silence" about Biden, while labeling others misinformation agents and smear artists -- and who was telling the truth:


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