There has been talk on the left — quietly at first, though now growing in volume — of somehow replacing former Vice President Joe Biden, the last remaining declared candidate, as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee for the 2020 election.
If that were to happen, how and when would such a thing occur? Left-leaning publication The Week looked into the idea and laid out a few possibilities for what might transpire in an effort to remove Biden from the party’s ticket.
How and when will Biden be replaced as nominee?
Writer Bonnie Kristian noted that Biden was never really the top choice of Democrats in the 2020 primary cycle, but by virtue of the process of elimination of all other candidates, has nonetheless ended up tagged with the presumptive nominee label.
Of course, with even more attention focused on Biden than before, his tendency to commit gaffes, his increasingly incoherent pattern of speech, his apparent diminishment of mental capacity, his known history of inappropriate touching with women and children, and now a credible accusation of sexual assault from a former Senate aide — all of which have reduced Biden’s chances of defeating President Donald Trump — have a growing number of Democrats searching desperately for another option.
Kristian admits that Biden being replaced as the presumptive nominee by somebody else prior to the rescheduled Democratic National Convention in August is highly unlikely. Biden has already acquired roughly three-fourths of the pledged delegates needed to immediately claim the nomination at the convention.
Secret discussions in a “smoke-filled room” at Democratic convention
So if not prior to the convention, when? Kristian surmised that there was a possibility that superdelegates, as well as some pledged delegates, could figure out a way to shift their votes at the convention from Biden to some as-yet-unnamed alternative.
This could be done both with or without Biden’s consent and cooperation, with the latter option offering up potentially disastrous political fallout while the former option allows Biden to quietly step aside and save face.
If Biden were to be pushed aside one way or another, the approximately 350 members of the Democratic National Committee would then come together in a cliched “smoke-filled room” at the convention to decide upon who would represent the party as the nominee in the upcoming election, with little or no input from the rank-and-file Democrats who make up the base of the party.
Another option to be considered in replacing Biden is to do so at some point after the convention but before the election, with either Biden’s chosen running mate stepping to the forefront or someone else filling in the top slot on the ticket, though getting ballots changed in all of the states would be a complicated — and likely lawsuit-inviting — process.
Still another option could be having electors from the various states at the Electoral College agree to cast their votes for someone other than Biden post-election, though that idea could be fraught with legal challenges as well.
Most likely possibility is no changes made at all
Kristian eventually concluded that the most likely outcome would be that no changes to the ticket are made at all, and pointed out the rather narrow window — August through September — for party leaders to make a change if any were to be made at all.
This is all highly speculative, of course, and the public may never even know if any such discussions are actually taking place or being seriously considered in a “smoke-filled room,” but given Biden’s apparent deteriorating condition and mounting problems, such an occurrence can’t be entirely ruled out.