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Understand how Democrats could replace Biden before the election

Understand how Democrats could replace Biden before the election

Washington, June 28 (Reuters) – After President Joe Biden’s shaky performance in the debate with former President Donald Trump on Thursday night, some Democrats have begun to publicly question whether he should be replaced as their 2024 nominee.

To understand how this works, Reuters spoke with Elaine Kamark, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and Democratic National Committee (DNC) and author of Primary Politics, about the presidential nomination process.

What options are available to Democrats?

The Democratic Party has no concrete alternative to Biden as a presidential candidate. He ran virtually unopposed for the party’s presidential nomination this year.

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He won’t be officially nominated until later this summer, so there’s still time for that change, and some scenarios for it to happen: Biden himself could decide to leave before he’s nominated; He may face a challenge from others trying to win over the delegates he has amassed; Or he may withdraw after the Democratic convention in Chicago in August, leaving the Democratic National Committee to elect someone to challenge Trump in his place.

what is happening now?

For now, the process depends mostly on Biden. He will either have to agree to withdraw or face a competitor so late in the process that they will try to force him to do so. So far, Biden has given no indication that he wants to withdraw, and no opponent has challenged him directly.

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Indeed, some of his top potential replacements — Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — enthusiastically defended Biden after the debate, serving as surrogates who showed their support but also contrasted her smooth display with his, which was hesitant on the debate stage in Atlanta.

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What would happen if Biden withdrew?

Biden has spent the past few months collecting nearly 4,000 Democratic delegates by winning primaries in U.S. states and territories.

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These delegates usually vote for him, but the rules do not require them to do so; delegates can vote according to their conscience, which means they can direct their votes to someone else.

If Biden “releases” his delegates when he withdraws, there could be competition among other Democratic candidates to become the nominee.

Who will replace Biden?

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Several candidates could enter the race, but there is no clear number.

Vice President Harris is almost certainly at the top of the ticket, but she has had her own problems after a rocky start to her term and low poll numbers. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the vice president becomes president if the president dies or becomes incapacitated, but she is not involved in the party’s internal process for choosing a nominee.

California Gov. Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker have been named as potential replacements, but they are Biden supporters and are working to help him get elected now.

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How will the candidate be selected?

There is likely to be something of a battle between the heavyweight Democrats vying for the post.

Candidates will have to obtain signatures from 600 conference delegates to be nominated. There are expected to be about 4,672 delegates in 2024, including 3,933 pledged delegates and 739 robo or superdelegates, according to Ballotpedia.

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If no one wins a majority of delegates, there will be a “negotiating agreement” in which delegates act as free agents and negotiate with party leadership to come up with a nominee.

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Rules will be set and there will be a roll call vote for names up for nomination.

It can take several rounds of voting before someone achieves a majority and becomes the nominee. The last negotiated convention where Democrats failed to nominate a candidate on the first ballot was in 1952.

What happens if Biden withdraws after the agreement?

If Biden withdraws after the August convention, the 435 members of the Democratic National Committee will choose a new nominee. Members will meet in a special session to choose a candidate.

Who are these 435 members of the DNC?

They are divided equally between men and women, as well as various constituencies, including union leaders and representatives of LGBTQ and ethnic minorities.

Of the total, 75 are appointed by the president, while the rest are elected in their states.

Who can appoint a replacement in this case?

To name a nominee to replace Biden on the ballot, that person must have the support of a minimum of Democratic National Committee members — perhaps about 60, though the exact number will be determined by the Democratic National Committee Rules Committee, which will set the election rules. Actions before you start.

There will likely be letters of nomination and support. Several candidates may be nominated before the list is narrowed down.

How will these votes be counted?

The Democratic National Council is likely to hold its meeting in Washington and the votes will be counted there.

Ballots will be marked, signed and collected by hand. If voting takes place too close to Election Day on Nov. 5, when gathering in person is not possible, it will likely be virtual.

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