Panic among Democrats, emergency meeting on Biden. Hopes for withdrawal by Friday


By John

“We’re done for.” Panic grows in the Democratic Party over Joe Biden’s candidacy: The widespread fear is that the situation could descend into unprecedented chaos with the reopening of Congress. In an attempt to close ranks and decide on a strategy to move forward, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has called an emergency meeting of party leaders, many of whom are hoping that the president decides to retire by next Friday. Although only five members of Congress have publicly called for the president to withdraw from the race for the White House, the risk is that the number will grow as the days pass. The New York Times reports having spoken to about 50 members of Congress who are calling for Biden to step back, while the Washington Post, citing an adviser to some major donors, reports that “for every 10 people who want him to leave, there is one who wants him to stay.” “Our mission is to win back the White House. We need to have a family discussion, in fact,” said one of the Democrats invited to participate in the virtual meeting.

“We’re done” with Biden, confessed another, referring to the concern of losing not only the White House but also Congress. In the Senate, which Biden considers home for the years he spent there, the chairman of the powerful intelligence committee Mark Warner is trying to gather a group of senators to ask the leader to withdraw. “I don’t know anything,” Senator Chris Murphy told CNN. “The president must do more. This week will be decisive,” he added. Also cautious about Biden’s prospects was California Representative Adam Schiff, who believes Vice President Kamala Harris can win in a landslide over Trump. “We’re voting for Harris no matter what, even if Biden stays in the race, because it’s clear that she can’t govern for another four years. So why can’t we just vote for her and give her a chance to assert herself?” asked former Obama adviser and CNN commentator Van Jones. Senator Bernie Sanders defended the president, advising him to change strategy and focus on policies, not age.

For Republican Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s main allies, Biden will eventually be replaced. Attention is high on the next moves of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the only one believed to have the political stature to have a frank discussion with the president about his possible exit. Many are also looking at Jill Biden, the First Lady and the president’s top advisor on the most important decisions. While Russia is watching the developments from afar and sneers, speaking, through Foreign Minister Lavrov, of a “pitiful spectacle”. While the party is discussing its future, Biden is in Pennsylvania, one of the key states in view of November. Biden won it in 2020 but, at the moment, polls indicate he is 4.5 percentage points behind Trump. In Philadelphia he stopped at an African-American church: the president quoted verses from the Bible, joked about his age – “I look like I’m forty” – and urged them to “stay united”. He received a warm welcome, with those present shouting “another four years”. The next stop was Harrisburg, then the return to Washington, where a decisive week awaits Biden between the NATO summit and the pressure for withdrawal: time is running out for a step back.