My head says it's irrational to talk about replacing Biden. But my gut won't stop asking questions.
Replacing Biden? How about replacing Trump?
That's right: Republicans are a strange alien breed whose actions lay outside "our" control so we can only talk about how Democrats are doing terrible things, like renominating Biden. But if you've decided you're partisan and only talk about the Democrats' game, go all in and stop trashing their candidate, even if "analytically." And if you don't want to be seen as in the tank, then don't write about politics, but write about the NBA and poker. That would be fine.
And you know what? Biden's been a fantastic President. I would love four more years of this kind of performance. And you know what? I bet by next November people won't be focusing on his age.
Any Democratic primary right now would result in performative discussions about Israel/Gaza/Hamas, race (“white supremacy”, etc) and perhaps immigration and trans issues that would likely be disastrous for the party.
How come no one, including Mr. Silver who I deeply respect, are asking the most obvious question about Biden's age.
What evidence is there that Joe Biden's age is affecting his job performance?
Someone as focused on empirical evidence like Silver and the readers here, should be asking that question and trying to find data. As far as I'm aware, there is none. Maybe he could take a few more international trips. But otherwise, I see no reason to believe that his age is affecting his job performance.
Instead I think a lot of liberals/libertarians/progressives who call themselves libertarians/progressives who call themselves progressives, are just wishing Biden accomplished more and are blaming that on age. And everyone is so freaking negative all the time that you can't help but be negative toward whoever is the president.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Biden once say he was going to be one and done?
One issue for someone who wants to just run against Biden is that they're running out of time to be on the primary ballots. The deadlines for Nevada and New Hampshire have already passed. Alabama and Arkansas are in the next 10 days. Most of the rest are by mid-December. That's a pretty slim window of time for someone to declare.
Of course, I suppose Biden could at any point say that he's not going to run and delegate his electors to someone else, but that'd be a pretty tough sell to voters - "I decided not to run, but too late, so you didn't get to choose who to vote for, sorry!" That sounds like dooming whoever it is in the general election, and it'd hardly be a democratic decision either.
It's just seems too late to have an actually democratic process, other than choosing Marianne Williamson I suppose.
I just want to say how happy I am that you're posting this stuff here now. Interesting and thoughtful content and analysis. I felt like 538 had been slipping for a while (although I did always like your posts and The Riddler), but I'm happy to have found you here.
The Siena polls hit me like a ton of bricks - I think it really means something, for young voters and voters of color, and that it’s in states that had been trending better for Ds. I accept all of your takes on it, but for the first time I think we have a situation.
This pushes me from “it’s no big deal, going to be very close as usual, but it will be OK” to “I guess some number of people have reached a level of irrationality that is hard to fathom, such that they would actually rather have Trump over Biden as President.” That is a new level of idiocy that is, incomprehensibly, a real thing. That they would tell a pollster that is a meaningful turn of events in itself.
I think the immediate solution would be for another poll to come out that does not say this, the commenter said facetiously.
The practical options are all bad, as noted. I am going to go with “I hope this problem goes away” for now.
Your friend is taken aback that an incumbent president would run for re-election?
The last time an incumbent president didn’t run was 1968 - it should be baked in to everyone’s expectations!
I get the frustration with a rematch - but it’s absurd to suggest Biden is somehow to be blamed for doing what every president in recent memory has done.
If you want to blame someone for a rematch, blame Trump. He’s the one going outside historical norms for a losing 1-term president.
You're way smarter about this stuff than I am, so I'm not challenging you, but my mind can't escape this thought: I don't believe there's a voter who'll say, "Biden is too old, so I'll vote for Trump," or "Biden is too old, so I'll just not vote, making Trump president by default." I just don't believe that voter exists.
Yes, the number one beef with Biden is he's too old. If I got called, I'd say the same thing. But when the choice comes in November between the two of them, It'll be between Trump and Biden, and I don't believe Trump will increase his coalition after Jan 6th + numerous trials.
I believe consensus gelled around Biden early in 2020 not because of the pandemic, but because the Democratic consensus was that the best way to beat Trump was with an old white guy, not because we necessarily wanted the old white guy.
The right wing echo chamber excels at jacking up negatives of Democrats. So it’s not a coincidence that both Obama and Biden weren’t the favorites in the year before voting and so the right wing echo chamber’s focus was on jacking up other candidate’s unfavorables. Once again, the problem isn’t Trump it’s the right wing echo chamber.
Biden is the President. Unless he's willing to step aside of his own volition how exactly do you get somebody else in?
I remember a pretty recent NYT/ Siena poll showing that Biden and Trump were neck and neck at 43% each BUT the undecided 14% disliked Biden less than Trump.
I *think* those undecideds will ultimately decide the election, and I think they’ll ultimately come down on the Biden side of the coin. Will it be enough of them in the right (swing) states to make the difference? I’m less certain of that, but I feel like it’s a piece of the polling puzzle that doesn’t get talked about enough.
If I remember correctly, in 2016, Hilary lost because the ~11% of the population that was still undecided a week before the election broke for Trump (which I *don’t* think will happen again, since Trump is now a known quantity), and I wish that pollsters had been more vocal about how many people in the electorate were undecided!
I wish they’d do that in general, actually, as knowing about undecided voters seems to provide very important context to the top-line numbers.
I'd run, but I have no money and about 40% of people think I deserve no human rights.
I would love to see polling for named Democrats the way they did for other Republicans. It would be helpful to know if anyone in particular outperforms Biden, especially since aging is not always a linear process.
Biden is old enough that the risk of a sudden debilitating medical condition is not trivial and we could be left scrambling for any viable candidate other than Harris. If someone outperforms her and/or Biden it'd be nice to know, along this whole democracy idea that maybe we should have more of a say in the nominees.
I'll also make the obligatory plug for ranked choice voting that would solve this issue and help with many others.
Biden has done such a good job so far I am fully satisfied with him. Talk of replacing him is not at all productive.
I'm curious what your thoughts are on how flat that polling is across age groups.
In 2016, exit polling (I know, but roll with me for a second) had young voters almost twenty points further left than old voters (https://www.cnn.com/election/2016/results/exit-polls/national/president). But polls of 2024 seem to consistently find things pretty even across age groups (the numbers you cite here has everyone within 11 points, and the gap is between young voters and gen X).
What's going on here? Is this reflective of the rightward swing of non-white voters (who skew younger)? If so, why isn't Trump running away with things? Is Biden's old-timey-aw-shucks politics more appealing to boomers, in addition to your nod here to it perhaps being offputting to younger voters? Is it reflective of young progressives not liking his relative moderacy (and that being appealing to Reagan-era voters)?