Former Speaker McCarthy predicts neither Joe nor Jill Biden will 'give it up' and step aside as Democratic nominee

 June 29, 2024

President Joe Biden's performance at Thursday's debate was an utter disaster and immediately sparked worried discussions among Democrats, their donors and strategists, and the media about the prospect of replacing him as the nominee at this late stage in the election cycle.

According to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), replacing Biden would be easier said than done, in part because neither the president nor first lady Jill Biden will want to voluntarily "give it up" and step aside, the Washington Examiner reported.

In other words, despite how horrified some Democrats may have been by Biden's terrible debate performance, the party is most likely stuck with him as their nominee in a rematch against former President Donald Trump.

"Joe Biden is not going to give it up. Why? Because Jill does not want to give it up either"

Former Speaker McCarthy spoke on Friday with Fox Business host Larry Kudlow and when asked about Democrats replacing President Biden as the nominee, he replied that "They can't" because Biden and the Democratic National Committee "changed the rules" of how the party's primary system works after he was elected in 2020.

"They created this problem, and the only way he -- Joe Biden can come off the ballot is if he decides it," McCarthy said as he noted how "un-democratic" it would be for the Democratic Party to swap out their presumptive nominee after all of the primary elections have already been held.

"Joe Biden is going to be the nominee. Joe Biden is not going to give it up. Why? Because Jill does not want to give it up either," he continued as he went on to discuss how "you can't negotiate" with Biden and have to work with his staffers instead because "He just talks about cars."

McCarthy reiterated that Biden would have to decide for himself to drop out and release the convention delegates he's won that are obligated to support him, and said, "So he has to make the decision but the real time would have been a year ago, before he started to run."

The former speaker later added of Biden's poor debate performance, "His problem is age. It’s not even what he said. It’s just the look of what he did, his actions, which everybody knows -- he’s not the same person he used to be."

Swapping out Biden as the nominee won't be easy

CNBC similarly reported on how hard it would be for the Democratic Party to replace President Biden as their presumptive nominee at this late stage of the race and that attempting to do so "carries enormous political risks and would be difficult, if not impossible, to pull off."

Biden would have to "willingly" end his campaign, which he has shown no intention of doing, and even if he did drop out and endorse a replacement -- be it the decidedly unpopular Vice President Kamala Harris or some other prominent Democratic governor -- there is no guarantee that his pledged delegates, donors, and voters would shift the entirety of their support over to somebody else.

The outlet noted that there is the possibility of a mass abandonment of Biden at the Democratic National Convention in August, though throwing the convention open to other contenders at this point would likely prove chaotic and even "disastrous" for the party just a few months ahead of the general election in November.

Biden's post-debate polling

There is no question that President Biden lost the debate, as the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight showed that he lost ground in virtually every measurable metric while former President Trump either held steady or made modest gains.

It is still too soon for the full impact of the debate to be reflected in the national polls, but Biden's recent trajectory has been negative while Trump's support is rising and the former president currently leads the incumbent by an average of 1.8 points.

That relatively slim lead for Trump may not sound like much but it is worth considering that Biden was up by 9.6 at this same point in the 2020 election, and Trump maintains marginal to moderate leads in all of the most important swing states that typically decide presidential elections.

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