Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Biden assails Democratic elites as he fights to remain in the race

By 37ci3 Jul9,2024



WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has reached the White House after two terms as vice president and nearly four decades in the Senate — an establishment resume if ever there was one. But Biden, who has faced calls to decline re-election, is now framing his fight for political survival as a “party elite” against voters.

Biden’s current stance of defiance stems from his belief that he and most of his inner circle — many of those calling for his ouster — were never behind him, according to many people familiar with his thinking. Biden sometimes expressed his opinion with anger: in an 18-minute interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I don’t care what these big names think,” Biden said after the hosts listed some prominent Democrats who had urged him to step aside. “They made a mistake in 2020. They were wrong about the red tide in 2022. They were wrong in 2024.”

Uncertainty and fear about what will happen if Biden appears on the ballot against Donald Trump is a big factor in the nervousness in the party. After Biden’s tense debate performance, lawmakers in congressional recess returned to Washington on Monday, allowing for face-to-face discussions about his viability and possible contingencies if he steps aside.

For now, Biden’s advisers argue that his standing in the polls hasn’t changed enough to justify the level of panic among elected officials and pundits or the media coverage of his debate performance. But in a letter to Democratic lawmakers, Biden argued that public hand-wringing made a difficult situation worse.

“Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us,” he wrote.

He called the concern among Democrats a distraction on a call with donors Monday, according to quotes from the campaign.

“We cannot waste any more time with distractions. I have one job, and that is to defeat Donald Trump,” Biden said.

Democrats are starting to voice the idea that infighting is hurting them.

“There’s a lesson to be learned from Trump and the Republicans: Make a decision and move forward together,” said one delegate at the Democratic National Convention, adding that the backstabbing and sniping must end quickly because they hurt the party and whoever ends up hurting them. as a candidate.

Despite his decades in Washington, Biden has always pitched himself to voters based on the sensibilities of middle-class families and labor unions and black voters. As a senator, he commuted daily by train from Delaware. He also required his staff, including aides on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, to work essential service shifts in state offices or hold meetings outside Washington.

According to a source familiar with his thinking, Biden was encouraged to run by his family, who did not see a dramatic change and did not find the support of some of his core supporters.

Biden, one of his close allies said, is currently in a “vision race” with elements of his party that have never fully supported him. Another source close to Biden said: “Joe Biden’s weakness is his age. Everyone has weaknesses or they will fix them. But no one else is tested.”

Biden made a campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday, ramping up his outreach and solicitation of advice outside his most loyal circle of core advisers. A former Biden official said he has spoken to him every day since the controversy, the official said after months of no such contact.

Biden called his campaign co-chairs on Saturday and offered him more open opinions, a source familiar with the discussion said. One advised him to make similar calls to House and Senate candidates most at risk of losing their seats in November, most of whom have remained silent on Biden’s future.

As Biden stumbles during the crowded 2020 Democratic contest, his campaign will pursue one of two tactics — focus on Trump and emphasize that the Democratic winning coalition is much broader than white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and elite votes across the United States. media and on Twitter.

“We hear all these pundits and pundits and cable TV talkers talking about the race. Tell them it’s not over, man, we’re just getting started,” Biden said at a hastily arranged rally in South Carolina the night he finished fifth in New Hampshire.

“Too often your loyalty, your support, your commitment to this party is taken for granted,” Biden told the mostly black audience that night.

Biden has resorted to both strategies over the past 72 hours. On Friday, he offered some of his harshest criticism of Trump at a rally in Wisconsin, calling him a political “exile” and warning that the Supreme Court’s latest immunity ruling would make him a dictator. On Monday, Biden’s campaign highlighted the continued support of key members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In an MSNBC interview and during a call with campaign donors on Monday, Biden said that despite the panic among party elites, his campaign has seen an outpouring of support from local donors and campaign volunteers. His assessment came in part from conversations with campaign officials during the campaign’s final stops.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler said in an interview after Biden’s rally in Madison on Friday: “People reading the New York Times editorial page and updating on Twitter are trying to figure out what’s going on and what’s going to happen next. People talking to voters and volunteering in the queues see that for the general public this is an absolutely winnable election. The main question is how ready we are to do the job.”

Trump’s campaign rejected the idea that Biden would advance by attacking elites.

“It’s hard to intimidate against what you literally praise,” said Chris LaCivita, Trump’s senior adviser. “Joe Biden has perfected the art of selling admissions (and while his son is selling art).”

The challenge Biden now faces is finding a big moment to demonstrate his electability, more than two months before the second scheduled debate and 119 days before Election Day.

“The purpose of the debate was to engage Trump in more conversations. We did the exact opposite,” said an ally worried about Biden. “Even if Biden has valid speeches over the next four months, there’s not a story between now and Election Day that won’t be about that.”

Biden will only seriously explore public appearances in the coming week, including a press conference at the NATO summit on Thursday, a campaign trip to Michigan on Friday and then events targeting Black and Latino constituencies in Texas and Nevada next week.

A Biden campaign official said they are confident the campaign’s focus will return to Trump, especially when the Republican National Convention begins next week.

“The only constant in politics is change,” the official said.



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