What Happens If the US President Drops Out of the Race: Here Are the Main Scenarios in Case Joe Biden Drops Out


By John

There are two main scenarios in this case Joe Biden decides to withdraw from the race for the White House.

Scenario 1: Endorsement of Kamala Harris

The first is that the president gives theendorsement and pass the baton – in a peaceful transition of power – to his deputy Kamala Harriswho in the polls is more unpopular than him but who appears only 1-2 points behind (therefore within the margin of error) in a hypothetical duel against Donald Trump. This is the most obvious and inevitable choice, since Harris is his natural heir, even if he dies or becomes ill during the presidency. That this is the first choice is confirmed privately by various sources in Biden’s campaign and also by many donors who, while not enthusiastic, admit that it is “impossible to ignore”.

Then it is true that she has never come out of Biden’s shadow, that she has never broken through the screen, but it is equally true that she is recovering ground and image on some issues, such as the key one ofabortion. She could also boast the age factor (59 years old) and the prospect of becoming the first female and black president, after having touched this glass ceiling as vice president. Among the possible alternatives, Harris is also the most well-known figure, both in the country and internationally, and could immediately access Biden’s campaign funds, in addition to inheriting his campaign infrastructure.

To launch it, however, the president would first have to secure the support of the entire party, therefore proposing during the convention of Chicago to the 3,894 delegates obtained in the primaries to vote for her. In that case, the problem of choosing her vice president would then arise.

Scenario 2: Open Convention with Various Candidates

If there were instead strong and open contrasts on a Harris candidacy, we risk the scenario of a ‘brokered’ convention, that is, open, where – in addition to the vice president – various candidates compete. Among the possible candidates are the governors of California Gavin Newsomof the Michigan Gretchen Whitmer and of Pennsylvania Josh Shapiroas well as the Secretary of Transportation Pete ButtigiegThey would have to compete for a majority of Biden’s delegate votes, and if no one advances to the first round, the 700 super delegates, namely party leaders and elected officials, would come into play.

Chaos and internal divisions are risked by investing a candidate who appeared out of nowhere and was not selected by the primaries, in a process that is certainly less transparent and less democratic. But perhaps none of the possible candidates want to risk an uphill race, burning their chances for 2028.

In any case, there remains an unknown that risks anticipating the timing of the nomination with respect to the convention that begins on August 19: the party had planned to do a virtual ‘roll call’ before August 7 to respect the electoral deadline in Ohio and certify the candidate so that he appears on the ballot. There is therefore little more than a month to change horses.