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Progressive Dogma Ensures Dems Will Be Stuck with Biden

Newsweek – Joe Biden turned in an abysmal performance in the first presidential debate Thursday night. Feeble and frail, doddering and incoherent, his acumen was—despite a solid week of preparation allegedly involving 16 senior administration officials—so bad that most commentators, including Left-leaning ones, wrote off his political future.

For about 12 hours after the debate concluded, reports held, the Democratic Party was in a “panic,” facing the desperate realization that despite years of efforts to promote Biden as a sound leader and use a wide range of means to try to destroy his presumptive opponent, the incumbent is on the fast track to losing.

After its initial shock, however, the progressive Left has begun to pull together the semblance of positive spin. Biden, more and more are saying, just had a “bad night” that should not invalidate the totality of his campaign or the supposed “success” of his administration. A “cold” that was not previously mentioned was the culprit for his raspy voice and the dead look in his eyes, even if it did not stop him from post-debate gladhanding at an Atlanta Waffle House and a separate Friday campaign event. Biden, we are assured, is a “good person” who means well despite his foibles.

Democratic officials gradually went on record to double down on their support for Biden. “No,” boomed House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries when a journalist asked if the president should stand down. By midday on Friday, CNN cited White House sources claiming that Biden was in for the long haul and reaffirmed that he would not merely continue his campaign but participate in a second debate with Trump, previously scheduled for September 10.

Do the Democrats seriously believe Biden’s obvious cognitive and physical health problems will improve in the four months before the election? In the Washington echo chamber, any contortion of perception and logic is possible. But for most, Biden’s pretense of viability is plain, and it is obvious the Democrats have no alternative.

Today’s Democratic Party rests on an uneasy coalition of aging moderates who genuinely believe the center-Left has something positive to offer and a much more vocal and powerful movement of radical progressives who are so totally convinced of their own virtue and correctness that any political future other than one in which they control the levers of power is unthinkable.

For ideologues of the latter stripe, even a senile 81-year-old must win in November because he sits on the “right side of history.” If Biden is incapable of governing, so much the better. Younger progressives in his administration can expect even greater leeway to impose an even more radical agenda on the country while the old man simply signs off on it. A sick old Biden, in other words, is better than any healthier alternative, whether that be Donald Trump or a less pliant Democrat who might out of common sense or political necessity push back on his party’s progressivism.

More importantly, progressive shibboleths have imposed such constraints on Democratic candidate selection that switching out Biden for another candidate—now or at any other time—would be a fraught endeavor. Next in line for the presidency should traditionally be Vice President Kamala Harris. In 2020, she was plucked from the loser bin to join Biden’s ticket after abandoning her own failed presidential candidacy in order to secure Biden’s primary win in South Carolina and thus bring his campaign to the forefront. The problem, of course, is that she has been such an utter disaster in office that all polls show her losing to Trump by double digits. Unsurprisingly, no one has even raised the possibility of Biden yielding to her if he is to abandon his campaign.

Worse, the only other alternatives to Biden among high-level Democrats are all white and almost all male. Bypassing Harris for another candidate would almost certainly mean dumping a black woman for a white man, something progressives would not tolerate in a low-level boardroom or third-rate liberal arts college, let alone in presidential politics. No argument could defend such a move in their bizarre logic. Appealing to qualifications, experience, popularity, electability, or any other factors—whether objective or subjective—could only be portrayed as an ugly resort to “white supremacy” and “patriarchy” within a political party that has pledged to rid the country of both regardless of the costs.

For the declining number of moderate Democrats who cower in fear of their party’s progressive wing—which ultimately has little regard for them—the practical issues offer an acceptable cover. Switching horses mid-race is rarely a good idea, and with the fate of “Our Democracy” at stake, they would be loath to take such a risk, especially in an intraparty process that would at this late stage involve no democratic mandate from their party’s voters. With hundreds of millions of dollars already invested in promoting Biden’s desperate cause, moreover, only a few weeks of campaign time would be insufficient to popularize virtually any potential replacement to a level exceeding even a greatly weakened Biden’s chances of victory.

The debate likely obliterated those chances, and people who suffer from Biden’s obvious ailments sadly have few prospects of recovery. But whether or not Democrats restore their former enthusiasm for Biden, thanks to their own twisted ideology they are stuck with him through election day.


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