President Joe Biden in the Oval Office

President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Feb. 16, 2021.

(Photo: White House/Lawrence Jackson)

A Plea to Biden: If You Truly Want to Prevent Trump Authoritarianism, Please Withdraw

You would go down in history as a leader who saved American democracy, not that one who turned it over to fascist extremists.

President Biden: You’ve recently warned that the nation is threatened by the authoritarianism of Donald Trump and his MAGA movement. You told an Arizona audience that America is at an “inflection point.”

“There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic values of our democracy: the MAGA movement," you said. "All of us are being asked right now: what will we do to maintain our democracy?”

Here’s what I think you can do: Drop out of the 2024 race and let a younger Democratic governor, senator, or other emergent leader compete to defeat Trump.

Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but lost the electoral vote to Trump by an aggregate of 77,744 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If Hillary had received about 78,000 more votes in those three states, Clinton rather than Trump would have become the President in 2016.

Given that the stakes may be the future of democracy, this is way too close.

Similarly, in 2020 you won the popular vote by about 7 million votes. But you won the electoral vote by a slim 103,091 vote margin in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. If Trump had flipped slightly more than 100,000 votes in those three states, he would have legally won a second term and perhaps tried to stay in office for a third term.

Currently, Las Vegas betting odds (which are often more accurate than political polls) show Trump with a 44.44% probability of winning the 2024 Presidential election, while you, Mr. President, only have a 33.33% chance. Turning to polls, five high quality polls from CBS, CNN, Fox, Marquette University, and Quinnipiac show Trump defeating you nationally from between 2-4%.

Even more worrisome, a recent NY Times/Siena College poll shows Trump defeating you in five swing states you won in 2020 and are likely to determine the 2024 Electoral College winner: Michigan—Trump 48%/Biden 43%; Pennsylvania—Trump 48%/Biden 44%; Arizona—Trump 49%/Biden 44%; Georgia—Trump 49%/Biden 43%; Nevada: Trump 52%/Biden 41%. If the other states break the same way as in 2020 but Trump wins three of these five states by a handful of votes, then Trump would win the Electoral College and legally become President again.

Given that the stakes may be the future of democracy, this is way too close. This is why I think you should withdraw and open the Democratic Party nomination contest up to younger prominent Democrats like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Gov. Roy Coope, or several others who have yet to make themselves known as strong candidates.

It’s very late in the day and other candidates have missed the filing deadlines in a few state primaries.

But as Harold Meyerson argues in The American Prospect, “Democrats could still enter the late primaries and…come to the convention asking Biden to release his delegates. Under this or a similar scenario, Biden, who’s done the nation great service in the course of his career and presidency, might opt to do one more and drop out.”

If you decided to withdraw, Mr. President, you would go down in history as a leader who saved American democracy, not the one who turned it over to Trump’s MAGA authoritarianism.

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