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Jon Favreau says Democrats 'just don’t know' if nominating Biden better than lesser-known candidate

Former Obama administration speechwriter Jon Favreau said Saturday that Democrats will likely never know whether keeping President Biden on the top of the ticket is the wisest decision, but he warned of the “huge risk to democracy” that could ensue if Biden decided to step aside.

In a series of posts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Favreau responded to a piece from The New York Times columnist and podcaster Ezra Klein, who argued Democrats should convince the president not to run again and then pick a new candidate at the party convention in August — a practice, Klein noted, that used to be far more common in presidential elections.

Klein offered several up-and-coming stars in the Democratic party whom delegates could select at the convention: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.), Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“The list goes on,” Klein added.

Favreau urged Democrats to read the piece, but he expressed skepticism about the main argument.

“The challenge is, we just don’t know — and will likely never know — if nominating Biden is riskier than letting Democratic activists and insiders pick a lesser-known and potentially weaker general election candidate at the convention with three months to go,” Favreau wrote on X.

Favreau noted Democrats “have some real stars who’ve won races in the toughest states,” but he added that “it’s not at all clear that they’d a) be the choice of the delegates, or b) end up stronger than Biden against Trump,” pointing to some limited polling that shows Biden outperforming other Democratic candidates in a head-to-head match-up against former President Trump.

“So even if you think Biden’s decision to stay in the race is driven by ego or short-sightedness, a last-minute (and highly unlikely) decision to step aside would also represent a huge risk to democracy — which also has to be weighing on his mind. Would it be as risky as the campaign we’re most likely about to face? Again, it’s just too hard to know for sure.”

Ultimately, however, Favreau agreed with Klein about the importance of Biden recognizing voters’ concerns, rather than simply pointing to Trump’s similar fallibility or dismissing the concerns as a media construct.

“What Biden can do is take concerns about his age seriously, acknowledge that fears about his performance aren’t media creations or Democratic bedwetting, and focus single-mindedly on crisp, strong, energetic appearances, which we’ve seen he’s absolutely capable of (2023 [State of the Union], Jan 6th speeches, etc.),” Favreau said.

Source: The Hill

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