UPDATED 7/2: Tough Love for Demoralized Dems

Time for Stoicism people: stop fretting about what you can’t change; redouble your focus on what you can affect.

We Democrats and Joe Biden had one poor night in the recent debate. So what?

Stop yapping about changing candidates or worrying that the sky has fallen based on one event. If we knew that Joe Biden was unfit for office, that’s one thing… but this is not THAT thing. In Joe Biden we have the most successful, experienced, and effective first-term President in the past 80 years. Our guy had one weak performance with some poor optics against a lying, felon, rapist, traitor fascist.

SO. FUCKING. WHAT? Snap out of it!

Imagine if after Dunkirk, the Brits, Canadians and French has just packed it up and told themselves, “well we just got whipped and kicked out of the European mainland, so I guess we had better lay down arms and make peace with a murderous, criminal Nazi regime”? Or if we Americans just gave up after Pearl Harbor, or Operation Market Garden, or the battle of the Java Sea, or the Kasserine Pass, or Guam, or Wake Island, or any number of other battlefield defeats and set-backs?

We are battling for the existence of our nation as we know it: authoritarianism and fascism vs. democracy and the rule of law! This is an existential fight that we must, and we will, win. This isn’t a fight in which we have the luxury of second-guessing our general because of one setback. Yes, Joe Biden is old. It’s true. And he’s also wise, and cunning, and a steady experienced old hand at all of this political mishagas. Meanwhile, they have a legitimate crazy person who is sun-downing every damn day and sinking further and further into unreality and lies and hatred and fear as his sole electoral weapons. I like our chances.

Biden will have great days – like the last SOTU and the rally following his poor debate performance the other day; and he’ll have more poor days, like this latest debate. But on any given day, I’ll take a stressed, or tired, or sick, or mentally fogged and/or stuttering but proven effective commander over the overtly insane, lying, felon, traitor, hate-fetishist, clown-show of a commender they are working with.

There will be no white (or any other color…) knight (or Amazon warrioress) riding in to save the day. NOBODY, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, is going to do electorally better than Joe Biden in the coming election. We Democrats simply aren’t going to change horses this close to the shore. Our delegates are locked in and determined to stick it out with Biden. Biden will NOT release the delegates. Biden isn’t incapacitated – he had a bad night. Suck it up. Get back in the fight and ignore the lily livered professional blather spouts trying to dispirit us and give us poor council disguised as concern.

The voters are who matters and they are telling is in every possible way that they did not see Biden’s performance as at all outcome determinative. The polls haven’t budged and focus groups have been all over the map, from an overwhelming victory for Biden, to an overwhelming victory for Trump – which hasn’t changed their minds about how they would actually vote, in either case. Only the chattering class who think their wisdom is superior to that of the hoi polloi are wringing hands and checking the DNC Convention rules. Ignore those weasels, cowards, concern trolls, virtue signalers, media mavens trying to sell copy, and opposing agents!

Buckle down, stick your knife between your teeth, and get back to doing all the essential work we know makes an actual difference in elections – canvassing, calling, texting, advocating among your social circles, donating when you can, and reaching out to any and all persuadable voters. Turn your anxiety into urgency. We have a traitor fascist liar and his traveling menagerie of sycophantic freaks and losers who need an ass-whuppin’. Let’s go (Dark Brandon!) and give it to them.

UPDATE 6/29: Now, I am aware that I have given very little attention to spreading oil on your troubled waters. To me, the very need for such calming is facially farcical, but I understand the desire for soothing words and wise insights. Robert Hubbell has done that hard work of collecting the most sensible and useful advice in this regard, so I am delegating that task to him and the fine thinkers and authors he cites to. Very worth a read if you need further talking down from the ledge.

UPDATE 7/2: Sometimes you get lucky and find someone else expressing your own thoughts better than you could have. Today, for me, that was Stuart Stevens (formerly Republican strategist and operative) writing at The Atlantic (click through for an audio version).

Millions vote for a candidate, propelling him to victory. Before the voters’ decision is formally certified, people who don’t like the outcome demand that the election results be thrown out and a different candidate selected in a closed process. That was America on January 6, 2021. And now, some in the Democratic Party want to follow a similar script.

The Democratic Party held 57 primaries and caucuses; voters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories had their say, as did Democrats abroad. Joe Biden won 87 percent of the total vote. He lost one contest, in American Samoa, to the little-known Jason Palmer. Suddenly, there are cries in the Democratic Party that, as goes a single territorial caucus, so should the nation.

I worked in five presidential campaigns for Republicans and helped elect Republican senators and governors in more than half of the country. For decades, I made ads attacking the Democratic Party. But in all those years, I never saw anything as ridiculous as the push, in the aftermath of last week’s debate, to replace Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. For many in the party, the event raised genuine concerns about the incumbent’s fitness for a new term. But a president’s record makes a better basis for judgment than a 90-minute broadcast does. Biden has a capable vice president, should he truly become unable to serve. The standard for passing over Democratic voters’ preferred nominee should be extraordinarily high—and has not been met.

The fundamental danger of Donald Trump is that he’s an autocrat who refuses to accept the will of the voters. So the proper response is to throw out millions of votes, dump the overwhelming choice, and replace him with someone selected by a handful of insiders? What will the message be: “Our usurper is better than your usurper”?

What is it about the Democratic Party that engenders this kind of self-doubt and fear? At a moment when Democrats’ instinct should mirror what Biden declared in a rally the day after the debate—“When you are knocked down, you get back up”—some in the party are seized by the urge to run, not fight. Think about how this would look: Hey, I guess Donald Trump is right; our guy isn’t fit to be president. We’ll give it another shot. Trust us, we’’l get it right eventually.

Madness.

After decades of losing the image wars as Republicans positioned themselves as the “party of strength,” Democrats are on the verge of a historic self-redefinition. When Biden traveled to Ukraine, he became the first president to visit an allied war zone not controlled by U.S. troops. A Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, defied China and visited Taiwan. A Republican Party that was once defined by Ronald Reagan demanding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” is now the beating heart of the pro–Vladimir Putin movement, led by a former president elected with the Russian dictator’s help.

For generations, Republicans succeeded in labeling Democrats the “blame America first” party. Today, it’s the Republican nominee who calls America a “third-world nation … an uncivilized country.” Republicans used to describe Democrats as “victim shoppers” who always hold others at fault instead of accepting personal responsibility. Donald Trump sees America as a nation of victims, with powerful forces taking advantage of our weakness. As president, Trump labeled Canada a national-security threat. Really? Picture the horror: an invading army of Canucks driving snowmobiles over the border to the martial soundtrack of Celine Dion.

Given a huge opportunity to project more self-assurance than Trump’s Republicans, these Dump Biden Democrats would ensure that their party once again slips back into the quicksand of doubt and second-guessing. No major American political party has thrown a presidential nominee overboard, so leave it up to some geniuses in the Democratic Party to hatch a scheme to make history.

What makes them believe that replacing Biden increases the chances of defeating Trump? How many times have candidates with impressive state-level records crashed and burned in a presidential race? The last time a party held on to the White House without the benefits of incumbency was 36 years ago. Recent polls show none of the fantasy replacement Democrats beating Trump. There are polls showing Biden defeating Trump. Say what you will about the Biden campaign’s organization, but four years ago it defeated an incumbent president—no easy thing.

Clearly, something was off inside the Biden campaign that allowed this debate debacle to occur, starting with the choice even to debate Trump. The Biden team easily could have insisted, as a precondition for a debate, that Trump first publicly acknowledge that he is running against a legally elected president who won a fair vote. Also, why did Biden look like an undertaker had done his makeup? But those breakdowns do not negate the substantial evidence that the Biden campaign knows how to defeat Trump. Do Democrats really want to throw that aside and reconstruct a campaign from scratch months before an existential election?

Presidential campaigns are billion-dollar businesses open to customers for a limited time. Right now, Democrats have a huge advantage over a GOP apparatus gutted by Trump in a power play that installed his daughter-in-law as co-chair of the Republican National Committee. What are the Dump Biden Democrats thinking? That Trump’s mob-boss takeover of his party gave them an unfair edge, so it’s only sporting for them to emulate him?

Trump is the candidate of chaos, uncertainty, and erratic behavior. Democrats can win a race against him by offering Americans the opposite: steady, calm, and confident leadership. Joe Biden has provided that. His record is arguably the most impressive of any first-term president since World War II. My advice to Democrats: Run on that record; don’t run from one bad debate. Show a little swagger, not timidity. Forget all this Dump Biden nonsense and seize the day. Now is the worst time to flinch. Your country needs strength. You can crush Donald Trump, but only if you fight.

Stuart Stevens, July 2, 2024

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9 thoughts on “UPDATED 7/2: Tough Love for Demoralized Dems”

  1. The biggest problem with Dems and progressives is that they have a functioning brain and heart instead of the sheeple ignorance and cult obedience of RWNJs. If the GQP_GOP didn’t have trump’s tiny brains, they’d have no brains.

    Reply
  2. This wasn’t “one bad night” as people want to believe. He is at the stage of life where he is aging exponentially. People who are on this page are extremely knowledgeable and keenly aware of the day to day events. For the 50 million other people who watched the debate this was an absolute shock to their system. The last time they saw the President was as a fiery old man at the SOTU speech. The comparison to this man six months later is a 180. While most will not turn to Trump, they will turn to not voting for Biden (which is a vote for Trump).

    Reply
      • Hey David,
        Now is the time to work like hell to get Kamala Harris so we do not totally change over to a Handmaids-Fascist society in November.

        Reply
    • Agreed. I am in my 30s and my whole social milieu is made up of disaffected younger people who ordinarily vote D but have no reason to vote Biden. They’ve been gaslit by Dems who said he was capable and now are being told to reject reality and what their eyes and ears witnessed. Kamala would almost universally win over my friend group and get Ds mobilized again. This is a no brainer versus heading straight into the iceberg with Biden at the “helm.”

      Reply
  3. How about everyone telling us folks with concerns go read Biden’s closing statement from the debate.

    That had nothing to do with a him having a cold or low gain settings on his mic or his age or mental state.

    Rapist/felon Trump has a record to run against. It should have been a royal beatdown of a closing statement.

    Where’s the “are you better off now than in 2020”? Because rapist/felon Trump was POTUS in 2020, and 2020 sucked.

    Where’s Roe? Where’s his lying SCOTUS picks? J6? The 400,000 needless COVID deaths? His ring kissing of murderous dictators, saluting North Korean generals (remember that)?

    FFS, technically, aren’t we still at war with North Korea?

    The corruption in his White House, his family got 2 billion from the Saudis!

    The convicted felons working on and around his campaign then and now?

    Where’s the outreach to young voters?!!! FFS, it should have been a layup.

    You win or lose a debate in the first 30 minutes, but you can recover some with a strong finish.

    ——How about next time we insist the DNC hold real primaries with real debates with ALL candidates——

    That would have preemptively shut me up proper, right? That would have been the time for people like me to voice our objections.

    In 2016 a few of us got blacklisted from this site just for raising alarms about HRC and the DNC.

    Maybe be more open minded and hear out the concerns of others before we get labeled as disloyal because sometimes we’re right.

    I respect everyone’s opinions here, except for JGCK, and I hope we’re all friends when the dust settles.

    There are filing deadlines and printing millions of ballots takes time and most states are run by Republicans, who I’m pretty sure won’t be eager to help out if we need a change.

    So NOW is EXACTLY the time to debate these issues, because it will be too late in just a few weeks.

    I voted for HRC in 2016 and I’ll vote Dem again this time.

    If I’m wrong, first round’s on me.

    Reply
  4. Great post Michael. I could not agree with you more that Democrats must embrace President Biden.

    Reply
  5. Excellent message. The tsunami of doom and gloom from Democrats is hard to dismiss. Their message should be: one robin doesn’t make a spring, so buckle up your big boy pants and dig in for a tough fight. Quitters never win, winners never quit. I’m sick and tired of sunshine patriots and summer time soldiers.

    Reply

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