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Francesca Rudkin: The Democrats need to make a move on replacing Biden now

Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Sun, 30 Jun 2024, 10:17am

Francesca Rudkin: The Democrats need to make a move on replacing Biden now

Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Sun, 30 Jun 2024, 10:17am

2024 is a fascinating year for democracy, with more than 80 countries holding elections. It’s the biggest election year in global history.

Roughly half the world’s population will have the opportunity to cast a vote in local, regional, legislative and presidential elections.

Democracy is being tested as countries deal with voter apathy, attempts to suppress opposition groups and the impact of sophisticated disinformation campaigns. Many of these election results are not just important locally, the impact will be felt across the world’s complicated web of geo-political linkages, issues and tensions.

Elections have already been held in places such as South Africa, India, and Taiwan, with interesting results, and this Thursday the UK goes to the polls, where it’s predicted the Labour Party will return to 10 Downing Street for the first time in 14 years.

But the big show, the one capturing global audiences. is the US Presidential Election – which doesn’t even take place until November.

Even if you didn’t watch the Trump-Biden debate on Friday afternoon, you have surely heard all about it. After 20 minutes of watching Biden stumble his way through answers with a frail voice and meandering train of thought, and looking at his podium as though desperately seeking answers or direction, I felt uncomfortable watching the train wreck and could feel the panic rising within the Democratic Party from my couch in Auckland.

We knew what this debate would be and how it would unfold. We knew it would involve the current President defending his record, attacking his opponent’s character, and most importantly, confirming his mental acuity.

Biden’s team called this debate, and set the rules. Struggling in the polls and constantly having to answer concerns about his age and ability to lead for another 4 years, they decided to debate early and calm all those fears.

So, it all came down to performance and delivery. Neither candidate shone. Trump’s performance was full of bluster and inaccuracies. He struggled to answer questions and at times made no sense.

But Biden had a even worse day. This has sent the Democratic Party into a spin, and rightly so - if you weren’t concerned about Biden’s mental capacity a couple of days ago, you surely are now.

Post-Friday’s debate, President Biden and his team have been doing everything they can to demonstrate he still has the energy and capacity to lead. But the damage is done. Biden got the job to beat Trump in the November election largely because he has done it before.

The Democrats may need to widen the job requirements. Replacing the Biden ticket is not something the Democrats will do lightly, and it can only be done if Biden steps down – but it surely must be considered now.


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