Democrats don't have many options if they want to replace Biden

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  • For years, Republicans have attacked Biden for his age and perceived mental acuity.

  • Those critiques only got louder on Thursday after a special counsel report implied he was forgetful.

  • Some Democrats also previously complained about his age, but the party has no alternatives now.

While US special counsel Robert Hur's report Thursday afternoon about President Joe Biden's mishandling of confidential documents didn't recommend charging him with any crimes, pundits and politicians have focused on how it describes the 81-year-old president: elderly and forgetful.

With less than a year until election day, the Democratic Party has no apparent backup plan if it decides to part with its endorsed candidate.

Choosing a candidate to run against or replace Biden would also likely be a tremendously messy process: Would the party want to go with its current vice president, Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, or some other dark horse candidate? Who within the party would ultimately make that decision? What happens to all of the Biden campaign's funding?

The Democratic Party doesn't have the luxury of time to figure it out, either: The primary election season has already begun across the nation, and it's far too late for many states to add new names to their ballots per local election laws.

Take Michigan, the next state on the calendar to host its Democratic primary on February 27. In a worst-case scenario, the latest the Democratic Party would've been able to insert a new candidate on the ballot was December 8, 2023, or about two months ago.

Super Tuesday, the day when 15 states — roughly a third of the overall delegate count — hold their primaries, is on March 5. Similar to Michigan, it's also much too late to add a new candidate to those primary ballots, including California, which boasts just under 500 delegates and had a late-December 2023 cutoff point to be added to the ballot.

If a replacement for Biden can't be formally placed on ballots, the only option for the Democratic Party, if it's serious about fielding a different nominee, would be to quickly mobilize a campaign to write that candidate's name on state Democratic primary ballots. But if this write-in campaign isn't implemented before Super Tuesday, there's little chance at all that a formal replacement for Biden will be available on Democratic tickets come November.

The deadline to appear as an independent candidate on general election ballots in November is much more lenient, meaning the Democratic Party could, as a last resort, opt to promote a candidate not even tied to the party on the ballot.

With all this in mind, it's almost certainly in the Democratic Party's best interest to coalesce around Biden as much as possible to build support around his campaign.

Read the original article on Business Insider