Crisis in Biden’s campaign as Clooney and Democrats urge withdrawal

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11th July 2024 – (Washington) President Joe Biden’s campaign for re-election is facing intensified scrutiny as concerns about his capability to lead due to his age have come to the forefront. Notably, actor George Clooney and several influential Democrats have publicly urged him to consider stepping aside.

In a poignant commentary published in The New York Times, Clooney expressed his concerns about Biden’s evident decline, which he observed firsthand during a recent fundraising event. Clooney starkly noted that the President did not resemble his former self, even from as recently as 2020. “He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate. Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw,” Clooney wrote, suggesting an unsettling denial within the party ranks about Biden’s current state.

Adding to the growing chorus, Vermont Senator Peter Welch voiced a similar sentiment in an op-ed for The Washington Post, becoming the first US senator to call for Biden to exit the race. “We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance,” Welch stated, pushing the narrative that the President should reassess his candidacy seriously.

This sentiment was echoed by Democratic Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Pat Ryan, along with New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, who all publicly called for Biden to withdraw from the race. These statements mark a significant shift within the party, highlighting a broader concern about Biden’s ability to secure a victory against Republican challenger Donald Trump in the upcoming November elections.

The situation is further complicated by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments on MSNBC. While not outright opposing Biden’s continued candidacy, Pelosi emphasised the urgency of his decision-making, given the proximity of the election. “We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short,” she remarked, underscoring the critical timing.

Despite these pressures, Biden has maintained a steadfast position on his candidacy. Hosting world leaders at the NATO summit in Washington, he reiterated his intent to continue his campaign, dismissing the skepticism as media and elite-driven narratives. He plans to address these issues directly at a rare news conference scheduled for Thursday, aiming to reinforce his standing within the party and alleviate concerns about his health and campaign viability.

Recent polls have not been favourable, with a Reuters/Ipsos survey indicating that 59 per cent of registered Democratic voters believe Biden is too old for the office, and a third suggesting he should step aside. With key battleground states leaning towards the Republicans, according to the Cook Political Report, Biden’s path to re-election is becoming increasingly challenging.

As the Democratic National Convention approaches next month, where the party’s candidate will be officially finalised, all eyes will be on Biden and his team’s next moves. Vice President Kamala Harris has been discussed as a potential replacement, should Biden decide to withdraw, although her polling figures are similar to Biden’s, presenting another layer of complexity to an already tumultuous campaign season.