Biden can’t win, but Democrats can with a ‘blitz primary’

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Biden can’t win, but Democrats can with a ‘blitz primary’

Despite his steadfast commitment to remain in the presidential race, President Biden will inevitably realize his candidacy is a lost cause or else face a mutiny from Democratic officeholders at all levels.

In the likely event that happens, here is how the party can maximize its chances of success in November. 

Indeed, there’s no doubt Biden has lost the confidence of his party and the country. I believe the solution — and indeed, a great opportunity for the Democrats — is a truly open, transparent, “blitz primary” that could lead to a truly open convention.  

Such an event, if executed properly, would no doubt galvanize the electorate and indeed, the whole country. The unconventional strategy, the likes of which have never been seen before, would generate great excitement and a commitment to a new Democratic Party, represented by a fresh face and a bold message.  

The plan, authored by Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University professor and policy adviser to Clinton, Obama and Biden’s 2020 campaign, insists the president would have to resist crowning a successor in the event he drops out of the race. 

To be sure, Kamala Harris — running on Biden’s record, with her own negatives, and tied to her lack of any meaningful legislation in tightening the Southern border — does not have much of a case for being appointed the nominee. Indeed, it is unlikely Harris would be a strong candidate, and she proved to be a less than adept campaigner after dropping out two months before the first primary in 2020.  

Nonetheless, there is no questioning Harris has earned her spot to compete in the primary and would likely be more adept than Biden at throwing punches against Trump. 

After giving candidates a few days to enter the race, contingent on their pledge to run a positive-only primary campaign, they’d begin to vie for delegates.  

Prominent Democratic strategist James Carville authored his own plan for a mini-primary, suggesting party magnates such as former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama would select the eight strongest candidates to sit in a series of town halls moderated by liberal icons such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. 

At the convention, delegates would decide on the nominee using ranked choice voting, concluding on the third day. Once a nominee has been crowned, they would appear on stage with Biden and Harris, as well as Obama and Clinton in a demonstration of unity and progress. 

Without this, the likely winner — indeed the almost certain winner — of November’s election, will be Donald Trump. 

That leaves one important question. Who would run? 

Popular contenders to replace Biden are of course Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Others include Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Gavin Newsom of California and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) 

Other long shots are former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Michelle Obama and even former Vice President Al Gore.  

While none of these candidates beat Trump in the current polling, a blitz primary would no doubt catapult any one of these individuals into the national spotlight, making up for a lack of familiarity among the broader electorate.  

Put another way, almost all the possible Democratic candidates would be an improvement from Biden. As evidenced by his tumultuous “comeback” interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president is incapable of staying on message and appears arrogant and defensive. And, when character is the only thing Joe Biden had going for him, he appears to have lost his only redeeming quality.

In that same vein, I believe most any younger, principled candidate would be a grave threat to Trump given widespread dissatisfaction with his candidacy among moderate Republicans. 

In the coming weeks, Democrats must do everything they can to convince Biden to bow out gracefully as his continued candidacy is doing irreparable damage to Democrats at all levels of the ballot. 

In fact, Republicans now lead in the RealClearPolitics average of generic congressional ballot polling by 2 points. Before the debate, Democrats were leading in this metric.  

Going forward, candidates in hotly contested swing districts will do what they must — including criticizing President Biden — to win over their constituencies, no doubt making matters worse for Biden and the Democratic Party. 

On top of this, major donors are calling for Biden to step down, threatening to close their wallets to the entire party if he refuses. To be sure, this group of wealthy mega-donors have started the Next Generation PAC, and are working to raise as much as $100 million to put toward the campaign of a replacement candidate. 

There’s no sugarcoating it: The last 10 days have been tumultuous for Democrats. But now it is time to turn this crisis into an opportunity.  

A blitz primary is the Democrats’ only option if they want to remain competitive in this election. And, as Biden’s allies hesitate to support him publicly and House Democrats begin turning on his candidacy, our party must move in a different direction.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant and the founder and partner at Schoen Cooperman Research. His latest book is “The End of Democracy? Russia and China on the Rise and America in Retreat.”