Dem 51
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GOP 49
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The Show Goes On

It's "Democrats in disarray" time. Again. Joe Biden gave an adequate interview with George Stephanopoulos last week, but that hasn't calmed the Democrats, in part because only 8 million people watched it (vs. 51 million who watched the debate). More and more Democrats are calling for him to withdraw from the race. On Friday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who is a moderate, announced in public that he was organizing a group of Democratic senators to have a gentle talk with Biden about what they see as an upcoming disaster (hint, hint).

On Saturday, Rep. Angie Craig (DFL-MN) became the first sorta-battleground representative to openly call for Biden to throw in the towel. She has skin in the game (because her district is D+1). Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) has also called for Biden to drop out, but his district is D+20, so he'll win even if the Democrats were to nominate the soon-to-be-unemployed Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) for president. Also openly calling for Biden to call it a career are Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ, D+15 district), Seth Moulton (D-MA, D+11 district), and Mike Quigley (D-IL, D+18 district). There could be an emerging pattern here. It reminds us of the "Leavers" and "Remainers" in the U.K. a couple of years ago.

For what it is worth, polling guru Nate Silver has also called for Biden to end his candidacy. He said that Biden gave an incoherent answer to George Stephanopoulos' question about how he can continue when the polls are so bad for him. Even though Silver no longer works for ABC News, he no doubt closely follows the FiveThirtyEight daily simulation, which currently has Trump winning 500 times out of 1,000 runs and Biden winning 500. Note that Silver's new prediction model, which he keeps behind a paywall, has generally been more pessimistic, and—the last time he shared the numbers publicly—had Donald Trump at about 60% to win.

Soon-to-be Sen. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was on NBC News' Meet the Press yesterday, and praised Kamala Harris. He said: "I think she has the experience, the judgment, the leadership ability to be an extraordinary president." He also said she could beat Trump overwhelmingly. Gentle hint there, maybe?

Yesterday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) had a video meeting with the ranking members of all the House committees. No doubt he will quietly inform Biden of what they think. What is special about them is they are more focused on House races than Biden is. They may also have a better take on whether Biden or Kamala Harris would help the Democrats capture the House. If Donald Trump wins, it will be absolutely essential for the Democrats (and the country) that they hold onto at least one chamber of Congress, and the House is probably easier because the Senate map is so terrible for the blue team.

Also in the works is a project to collect signatures on a letter to Biden from as many Democrats as possible, urging him to withdraw gracefully and go down in the history books as the first president since George Washington who put country over self. Well, OK, a couple of others—like Lyndon Johnson—bowed out voluntarily, but that was because they thought they would lose. Biden thinks he can win.

Despite all these less-than-subtle hints, Biden is doubling down, at least in public. So are his allies. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) said that the Democrats need to "get a spine or grow a set." Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said Biden is "who our country needs." Sen Chris Coons (D-DE) said he can't wait to campaign for Biden.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), a Biden supporter, said that Biden needs to get out in front of the voters to show that he is still up to the job. Biden got the message and yesterday spoke at a Black church in northwest Philadelphia and then to union members in Harrisburg. He understands that Pennsylvania is a must-win state, so this is his tenth campaign visit and he will continue to go there many more times if he stays in.

We don't know how this will play out. Nobody does, probably not even Biden. He doesn't know how many Democratic senators, representatives, governors, donors and others whose opinion he respects will privately or publicly tell him "the time has come, the walrus said."

One thing playing out in the background is that there is nary a peep from Donald Trump or his surrogates. They could be screaming from the rooftops that Biden is totally senile and can't go to the bathroom without Jill helping him. They are not. As in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Silver Blaze," the key may be the politician who did not bark. Trump clearly wants to run against Biden, since that story line is simple: "He is old and demented." That would not work against Kamala Harris. Sure, they will try to place her somewhere to the left of Leon Trotsky, but she will respond that she was a prosecutor, first as Alameda County DA, then as San Francisco DA, then as California AG, and that she put plenty of criminals like Trump in prison. The contrast of a prosecutor vs. a felon is not one Trump wants. Also, as an observant Catholic, Biden is uncomfortable talking about abortion 24/7. Harris has no such inhibitions. Trump may intuitively understand that while Harris would lose some working-class white men, she might be able to make up for it among young voters, women, and minorities in general.

You know who is also quiet as a (dead) mouse? Harris herself. She went to Essence Fest, a cultural festival for Black women, in New Orleans Saturday. She didn't say a word about Biden. Mum's the word. She did talk politics, though—about getting people to vote and the need for someone to beat Trump. Of course, she has to be super careful. One bad word about Biden and thousands of people would pounce on her on social media, claiming she was disloyal. She can't have that, especially since she could end up being the nominee. She could have spent her time there touting Biden. But she didn't do that either, since it is to her advantage that he drops out, but she has to pretend she wants him to stay in at all costs. It's a tough position to be in. It's like Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) rooting for Trump to win so he can be the voice of the opposition. At all costs, he has to avoid people thinking that he wants Trump to win. Such is the nature of politics. Sometimes you must fervently deny what you actually want. (V)

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