Joe Biden Can’t Be President (2)

Three weeks ago I wrote a post titled Joe Biden Can’t Be President:

I’m not saying Biden shouldn’t be president. That has always been true. I am saying that he lacks the physical and mental qualities necessary to to the job–not to do it well, but to do it at all.

Evidence of Biden’s incapacity continues to pile up. Earlier today, he gave an interview to MSNBC in which he pontificated about the coronavirus, or tried to. It was a sad spectacle. He apparently tried to read notes that he had before him, but was unable to do so, and lapsed into frustration and incoherence:

No doubt Democratic Party leaders have been calculating ways of denying Biden their nomination, or getting him off the ticket after the fact. The former is tricky: Biden is still around 750 delegates short of clinching the nomination (he has 1,217 delegates committed) and some state primaries have been postponed. Biden could drop out, but that might leave Bernie Sanders in the driver’s seat, the last thing the DNC wants.

So the safest course might be to nominate Biden and then have him resign for unspecified health reasons. Assuming that Biden could be persuaded, the rest is relatively easy: Article 3.1(c) of the Charter of the Democratic Party gives the DNC broad authority to “[fill] vacancies in the nominations for the office of President and Vice President.” There is a timing issue, as the DNC would have to nominate a new candidate in time to satisfy the states’ various filing deadlines. That works, according to Ballotpedia, as long as the DNC acts quickly after the Democratic Convention, which could be awkward.

But the main difficulty is political, not legal. Whom would the DNC select to replace Biden? If they plan ahead, they perhaps can coerce Biden to select that person as his running mate and thereby make the transition seem natural. But who might that person be? The DNC is hemmed in by the fact that Biden has said that his running mate will be a woman.

Which could be a problem. If Bernie Sanders’ voters continue to turn out in the primaries, he could finish a relatively close second. Denying him the nomination, if Biden withdraws, could depress turnout. Likewise, if the DNC failed to select one of the candidates who competed for the nomination, many Democratic voters would see themselves as disenfranchised. Recently there has been talk of selecting Andy Cuomo, who would create problems in that regard. And he also is not a woman, so the ground presumably can’t be prepared by making him the vice presidential nominee. Further, he presides over the state that has the worst record with regard to the Wuhan virus, not a sterling qualification under the circumstances. So it is hard to see that boomlet going anywhere.

The bottom line is that the Democrats are in a tough spot. Their presumptive nominee is plainly unable to carry out the duties of the presidency–not to carry them out well, but to carry them out at all. I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes.

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