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Why Joe Biden Should Drop Out

Because many voters doubt Biden's cognitive capacity to serve as president, Biden risks throwing the race to Trump if he stays in the race.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
July 7, 2024

Claims about the decline of Joe Biden's cognitive capacity probably are overblown. We can see Biden, every day, doing the job of president and speaking with the press or in public. People are prone to confirmation bias, and, now that many people are actively looking for signs of Biden's cognitive decline, lo and behold, they tend to find them. Media stories about Biden's alleged cognitive decline now have become a self-perpetuating cycle. Biden holds the most stressful job in the world, and almost everyone would be exhausted, continually stressed, and emotionally overwhelmed by serving in the position. Efforts to evaluate Biden's cognitive capacity are further complicated by Biden's life-long stutter and history of gaffs.

At the same time, Biden clearly had a bad debate with Trump, and Biden has since failed to convince most people that his poor performance was just a matter of having a bad night, as opposed to being a sign of his cognitive decline. Biden has declined to do the one thing, take and pass a cognitive test, that would convince a lot of people that he is cognitively fit.

Here is my assessment: Biden currently is capable of serving as president, so his cognitive decline, whatever its extent, is not, by itself, reason for him to withdraw from the race. Like all presidents, Biden is surrounded by support staff, and Biden's team seems to be doing a competent job. If Biden wins and he suffers further cognitive decline, he can pass the torch to Kamala Harris, a competent and basically decent vice president. A Biden victory poses no serious problem.

However, Biden's cognitive capacity is irrelevant after January if he loses to Donald Trump. I have summarized my main reasons for opposing Trump: "Donald Trump undermines the peaceful transfer of power, demonizes immigrants, praises authoritarians, mistreats women, and lies continuously. He is morally unfit to serve as president."

In fact, many voters are concerned with Biden's cognitive decline, and for that reason enough voters might vote for Trump over Biden to hand the election to Trump. Although one recent poll looks relatively favorable to Biden, on net Biden has, astonishingly, been fighting an uphill battle. Against Trump, who is morally degenerate. This election is a potential catastrophe in the making.

Biden should withdraw from the race because enough voters worry about his cognitive capacity to put his reelection in jeopardy. Is that fair? Who cares. What matters is who wins the election.

If Biden stays in, he might well beat Trump. I have a hard time believing that so many Americans would vote for someone as obviously morally degenerate as Trump. But the election will not be won with wishful thinking. Perhaps many people are lying to pollsters just to register discontent with Biden. That seems like a pretty risky assumption. The most plausible scenario, if Biden stays in the race, is that he loses to Trump.

Trying to replace Biden with another candidate would be a mess. It is a risky move. I think Harris is the obvious choice, but others disagree. There is no guarantee that a replacement candidate would beat Trump. If we could play and then rewind the tape, it could be that any Democratic candidate would lose to Trump, as depressing as that thought is. It also could be that any Democratic candidate, including Biden, would beat Trump.

But I think that any of the likely replacements for Biden probably has a better chance of beating Trump. So Biden should drop out. He should be like George Washington, and surrender power for the good of the country, not like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who largely destroyed her own legacy by failing to retire when she should have.

To be clear: I will vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever that might be, over Trump. It would be pleasant if that candidate actually wins.

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