Joe Biden Keeps Talking About Himself Like a Hero in an Action Movie

But this election isn't about Biden. It's about all the rights we stand to lose if (when??) Trump wins in November.

Joe Biden Keeps Talking About Himself Like a Hero in an Action Movie

Welp, I hope everyone had a lovely Independence Day—the way things have been going lately, I’m not wholly confident there will be another. Amid a growing push for President Biden to end his presidential bid, even more bad news arrived over the holiday.

You’d think the existentially important questions about Biden’s presidential fitness and his latest devastating poll numbers would matter to his team—you’d think. Alas, there’s a certain arrogance to the Biden campaign’s apparent refusal to take any of this seriously enough for him to step aside. Instead, they’re framing him as an action movie hero who will rise above adversity—even when none of this is about him, really, and is actually about all the rights we stand to lose if (when??) Trump wins in November. But first, here’s what you might’ve missed if you spent Thursday unplugged—as you should have!

Democratic governors reportedly told Biden point-blank that his campaign is “irretrievable” on Wednesday, with governors in purple states like New Mexico and Maine expressing concern that they could lose their seats with him at the top of the ticket. Biden didn’t do himself any favors by assuring governors that he’ll be fine so long as he stops doing events after 8 p.m. so he can get enough sleep—nor by going on a radio station and saying he’s “proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first Black woman, to serve with a Black president.” Then, of course, there was that damning New York magazine article detailing a months-long “conspiracy of silence” to conceal Biden’s mental decline, which has allegedly seen him forget the names of people he’s known for decades and struggle to perform basic presidential tasks. In the report, a guest at a White House event this year recalled feeling unsure whether “they could vote for Biden, since the guest was now open to an idea that they had previously dismissed as right-wing propaganda: The president may not really be the acting president after all.”

There’s also an alleged Democratic donor revolt fomenting, which has the potential to be the most damning piece of all, especially if other major donors take a page from Abigail Disney and withhold donations until Biden steps aside. Biden’s campaign has yet to offer a single good response to the latest, astoundingly awful polling, which shows Trump leading Biden by nine percentage points among registered voters and by six points among likely voters, while a Wall Street Journal poll showed 80% of voters say Biden is simply too old to run. Biden is currently at a 34% approval rating, down from about 40% a month ago, which… I doubt I have to explain how bad that is, right? On Thursday, a third House Democrat called for Biden to step down from the ticket.

In turn, Biden has only doubled and tripled down. He told White House staff on Wednesday, “I am running. I am the leader of the Democratic Party. No one is pushing me out. I’ve been knocked down before and counted out my whole life. When you get knocked down, you get back up.” For a moment, let’s ignore the absurdity of saying you’ve been “counted out my whole life” when you were elected to Congress at 30. The narrative that Biden has been “knocked down” and simply needs the time, space, and patience of the electorate to get back up is frankly one of the stupidest and most selfish things I’ve ever heard. There’s simply too much at stake for us to take a chance on a man who is getting absolutely stomped by Trump—one of the least popular politicians in history, who pretty much any other Democrat who isn’t named Joseph Robinette Biden would have a substantially better chance at defeating. Trump, after all, is not a well-liked candidate; Biden, specifically, just has too much baggage. Trump’s campaign itself has conceded that running against Vice President Kamala Harris would be far more challenging, as they couldn’t just singularly focus on age and competency.

Contrary to the strategy Biden’s team seems to be leaning into, the forthcoming election is about infinitely more than him. Democrats need a presidential nominee who can stave off a national abortion ban (and meaningfully restore our reproductive rights, for that matter) and end the deeply unpopular war that Biden’s been propelling in Gaza. But so long as Biden is at the top of the ticket, the rest of the campaign trail is going to center almost exclusively around his age and health, issues that simply aren’t going to go away—especially since he’s clearly not in a position to make them go away. Biden hasn’t given a press conference in weeks, since his joint conference with Ukraine President Zelenskyy in Italy on May 23. And his persistent strategy of avoiding journalists is only raising more questions.

I’m especially stuck on Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado reportedly telling Biden he’s heard from a “groundswell” of people who want Biden off the ticket, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham expressing concern that she could lose her race with Biden as the nominee. New Mexico, mind you, is a key abortion access bastion for Texans—losing it would be unfathomably bad, and I’m afraid the Biden campaign isn’t taking that fact very seriously.

I can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t a superhero movie. Biden’s campaign can’t just romanticize him as a scrappy underdog a la pre-super-soldier serum Captain America in a CGI-dumpster fire of a Marvel franchise. This election carries the real potential for Democrats to lose the White House, House, Senate, and gubernatorial races across the country—all at a time when states are the arbiters of whether pregnant people have fundamental human rights. I don’t know or pretend to know what’s going to happen, or what the best course of action is. But I do know that nothing good can come of Biden, his ego, and his team making this all about him, and ignoring the people who have everything to lose if Democrats can’t beat Trump in November.

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