‘Very Unrealistic’: Replacing Biden Will Likely Land Dems In A Political And Legal Quagmire

Any effort to replace President Joe Biden with another Democratic candidate would likely be an uphill battle against practical, political and even legal obstacles.

Following Biden’s debate performance Thursday night, where he struggled to put together coherent sentences and often stared blankly away from the camera, Democrats began raising the possibility of replacing him as the party’s nominee. Biden, who has not indicated any intention to step down, would likely not be easy to replace due to internal party politics, state laws and numerous uncertainties.

FEC Commissioner Trey Trainor wrote Friday for the Daily Caller News Foundation that there are a number of hurdles standing in the way of replacing Biden on the ballot, including “the complex mechanics of replacing a nominee across the 50 states, each governed by its own set of election laws and regulations.”

“States have specific deadlines for candidate substitutions, often months before Election Day,” he wrote. “These deadlines are crucial for ensuring the integrity and fairness of the electoral process, and attempting to replace Biden would require navigating these legal frameworks, potentially leading to legal battles and uncertainties that could undermine the Democratic Party’s chances in the general election.”

For now, Notre Dame Law School professor and election law expert Derek Muller told the DCNF it’s technically not too late to replace Biden.

“There’s no nominee,” he said. “He’s not on the ballot in any state yet. It doesn’t happen until after the convention.”

“If he chooses to step aside, then the DNC rules kick in,” Muller said.

DNC rules state that “all delegates to the National Convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

If Biden were to withdraw before the Democratic National Convention, there would likely be a vote on the convention floor for other prospective candidates. If Biden does not choose to step down on his own, Muller noted the pledge is not binding and he could theoretically still be replaced, but it would be “really hard” to get a majority of delegates at the convention to vote for somebody else.

“I just think it’s very unrealistic,” Muller said.

Hans​​​​ von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow and manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF he suspects “that the party leadership does not trust its delegates and would want to avoid a convention fight.”

“Easiest way to do that is hold the convention, nominate Biden, have him resign, and then have the DNC name his replacement,” von Spakovsky told the DCNF, noting the DNC has the authority to fill “vacancies in the nominations for the office of President and Vice President” under the party’s rules.

In a June 21 memo, the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project notes attempts to replace Biden on the ballot could prompt “pre-election litigation in some states that would make the process difficult and perhaps unsuccessful.”

“The process for substitution and withdrawal presents many election integrity issues,” Oversight Project Executive Director Mike Howell wrote in the memo. “Adherence to the law in some states may result in that process being unsuccessful for the purposes of another candidate being on the ballot.”

 

Trainor also noted there are “significant” financial implications for replacing Biden, writing that “funds directly tied to Biden’s campaign might face certain restrictions.”

“Democrats are wedded to President Biden and any attempt to sever the relationship at this juncture jeopardizes the integrity of our democratic process and the credibility of our political institutions,” Trainor continued.

Biden’s campaign and two fundraising committees pulled in a total of $8.1 million the day after Trump was convicted in Manhattan on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the case brought by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, according to Politico. His haul that day included around 52,000 new donors, making it the largest of the campaign.

There are also political considerations that make replacing Biden a challenge. Hans Noel, a political science professor at Georgetown University, told the Washington Post that “finding another candidate that everyone is comfortable with might be difficult.”

“Biden represents a compromise holding together the broad and potentially fractured coalition of the Democratic Party,” Noel said. “Any attempt to find a replacement will bring those fractures to the fore.”


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