Democrats feel powerless as ‘elites’ fall in line behind Biden

President Joe Biden is trying to frame his quest to retain his candidacy against the “elites” in Washington.

But in interviews, rank-and-file Democrats, party chairs, campaign leaders and elected officials say Biden is right behind.

All the while, they say, they’ve sensed deep concerns about Biden — and fielded reservations from voters. poll After the polls proved — but felt powerless to act in the face of a White House under Biden’s thumb and a Democratic Party.

“I want to be more bold,” said one Democratic state party leader who thinks Biden should step aside. The person spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the president’s camp.

“If I speak out of bounds I shall be crucified by them,” continued the chair. “I know when you get out of line, they suddenly change priorities and your race, your state is off the map.”

Now, they say it’s happening again.

After a disastrous debate performance, he was initially called to step down. New revelations From those around the President his mental acuity and Warning signs One power broker after another pursues Biden about future fundraising — sometimes after expressing serious doubts about him.

But by some accounts from Democrats on Tuesday, that support felt more akin to a November death march than enthusiastic support for a party candidate.

“Nobody’s excited,” said one presidential aide. “The expectations for Biden going forward are very low.”

Another Democratic House member made this very clear.

“People are very frustrated with the president’s defensiveness and denial. “He’s like the grandfather who refuses to hand over the car keys even though it’s no longer safe to drive,” said the man. “There is also a growing resignation that if Joe Biden insists on being our nominee, we will have to make the best of a bad situation heading into the most consequential presidential election in American history.”

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On Sunday, Rep. Jerry Nadler, DNY and three congressional Democrats told colleagues in a phone call that Biden should step aside.

On Tuesday, Nadler changed his tune.

“The bottom line is whether I have concerns or not,” Nadler told reporters on Tuesday. “He’s going to be our nominee, and we should all support him.”

Another member of Congress privately expressed deep concerns with Biden, fearing a major impasse could spell disaster for Democrats. But the man expressed impotence as if speaking without leading as an individual member.

“I can say something, but I’m a pragmatist. Will it have any effect? ​​Will it have any impact? I think without leadership moving forward — I don’t think any ranking member is going to change that movement,” the council member said. “He’s going to do the right thing. I fall into the category of many frontrunners who have remained silent in the hope that But he chooses to stay.

In the 12 days since Biden froze, mumbled, retreated and sometimes struggled to finish a sentence in a debate against former President Donald Trump, he’s been playing clean.

“Take the debate out and look at the last two weeks,” said a second Democratic leader, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. “Can he get a message across or create a story or is every public event going to be about this?”

The situation, of course, is still fluid. Although Biden this week doubled down on his insistence that he will not drop out of the 2024 race, there are still calls for him to do so, and the situation could change.

Both state party leaders said there are fears within the party that Democratic voters will lose enthusiasm and Biden will lose the election — with low-turnout candidates swamping him.

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“Most of the chairs I’ve talked to are scared,” said the second chair.

Some Democrats have said the president took too long to do damage control with his own party, allowing talk of undermining his candidacy and dominating a race that should have focused on Trump.

A battleground Democratic organizer described a divided party, with some deeply skeptical not only of Biden’s age but whether he could do the job. Others, the person said, are ready to support Biden and stop the bleeding and move on.

“It feels like we’re creating a 2016 environment again, where we were primarily divided and not reunited. It’s very frustrating for us in these swing states. We have to win, not lose,” the person said. “Ultimately, nobody knows how this will be resolved. There is no way out.

The White House and campaign tried to contain the fallout, reaching out to members of Congress, briefing governors and fielding calls from campaign and donors. Biden was scheduled for a call with the mayors on Tuesday.

Some of those calls provoked backlash themselves, and some complained Not a chance allowed Weighing in and what others say I felt gassy. His campaign insists it still exists Plenty of underpinnings Support for the president points to one area 864,000 are first-time donors In the last fundraising quarter and 2024 campaign volunteers said they signed up to more than three times as many regulatory changes after the debate.

Biden and his team have reiterated that millions of voters chose him in the primaries, and that excluding him would undermine the will of those people. Some Democrats said in interviews that those voters may not have received the same information, namely, cognitive concerns raised by Biden’s debate performance.

On Thursday, Biden is scheduled to hold a rare news conference that is expected to be another test of his mental acuity.

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On Monday, in a phone interview on MSNBC, Biden said he would not agree with the “elite” who want to sideline him. The president issued a letter to Democrats in Congress announcing that he would remain in the race.

“I would not run again if I did not absolutely believe that I am the best person to defeat Donald Trump in 2024,” Biden wrote. “We had a democratic nomination process and the voters spoke clearly and decisively.”

“The question of how to move forward has been on the air for well over a week now. And it’s time to end. We have a job to do. That is to defeat Donald Trump,” Biden wrote. “Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about a task leader helps Trump and hurts us.”

However, it also caused some stir among Democrats in Congress, with some saying they had not received the letter and had to read about it in the media.

“I’m still concerned, and I don’t think anything he’s done has alleviated that concern. Whether it’s the North Carolina rally or the Wisconsin rally, we’re looking at it all,” said one Democratic congressman. “I’m concerned. But it’s the president’s decision what to do with his legacy and move forward, and I’ll get behind it.

The first party leader shared a similar resignation.

“I don’t have the power to change Biden’s mind. So I’ll roll with what’s in front of me and do my best to win,” the man said. “I don’t think our voice matters to them.”

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