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First Congressional Democrat Calls on Biden to Withdraw From Election

Biden “pledged to be transitional” to allow a new cohort of leaders to take his place, Rep. Lloyd Doggett said.

President Joe Biden, seen in reflection, speaks to the media at the White House on July 1, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

A House Democrat has called on President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race, becoming the first congressional Democrat to do so as politicians and insiders are criticizing the Biden campaign for sweeping aside concerns over the president’s mental acuity.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) released a statement harshly criticizing the Democratic campaign for continuing to run Biden even as his popularity has significantly lagged and the alternative is a potential “long, dark authoritarian era unchecked by either the courts or a submissive Republican Congress” brought by a Donald Trump presidency.

“President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump. I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies,” Doggett said.

Doggett said that the act of stepping down could pave the way for a new cohort of leaders in the Democratic Party — at a time when the party is hemorrhaging support from young voters in particular who have reached voting age at a time of historic inequality and global unrest perpetuated by U.S. imperialism.

“While much of his work has been transformational, he pledged to be transitional. He has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country through an open, democratic process,” the Democrat said.

Much of the rest of the party appears ready to go along with keeping Biden, despite the risks. Bloomberg reported on Monday that the Democratic National Committee is considering issuing the formal nomination to Biden as early as July 21, which could put an end to the possibility of Democrats selecting someone else for the spot without a more aggressive move from dissidents.

The committee says that the decision to nominate Biden early was made to get around an Ohio GOP-backed law that would have kept Biden from appearing on Ohio’s primary ballot — and that this decision hasn’t been swayed by the wave of people calling for Biden to step aside.

But Doggett’s call comes amid reports of droves of disquieted White House aides and other elected Democrats who say that the campaign is focusing too much energy on silencing critics instead of on winning the election and preventing another Trump term.

“I really do criticize the campaign for a dismissive attitude towards people who are raising questions for discussion. That’s just facing the reality that we’re in,” Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) told Semafor on Monday. “But that’s the discussion we have to have.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) said that, while he thinks the public hasn’t seen the same cognizant and sharp Biden he has, he was “horrified” watching the debate.

“I think like a lot of people I was pretty horrified by the debate,” Whitehouse told local Rhode Island outlet 12 News. “I think people want to make sure that this is a campaign that’s ready to go and win, that the president and his team are being candid with us about his condition — that this was a real anomaly and not just the way he is these days…. I’ve been critical of the campaign all along, so the upside is that this could be the jolt that they need.”

White House insiders say, however, that Biden’s condition is deteriorating, with officials having to tiptoe around him and time meetings and briefings at exact times in order to catch the “good” Biden — rather than the angry or confused one that staffers have worked tirelessly to keep away from the media.

At the same time, some diehard Biden allies are doubling down on his candidacy even amid warnings that continuing to run him is heightening the chance of a full-on fascist Donald Trump presidency.

“The fact is, there wasn’t an open dialogue [in recent years] about whether he should run except for the people who would benefit from him running,” one Democratic official familiar with the campaign told Politico. This group of insiders thought that the election “was going to be about Trump, not about Biden, and at the end of the day, people just wouldn’t vote for Trump. But here we are, we’re sitting in July, and the race is about Biden, and it’s about a trait you can’t fix.”

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