11 July 2024

Jokes are all over the social media. Serious people including famous mainstream media organisations, meanwhile, are calling for Joe Biden’s replacement as the Democratic presidential candidate. Republican champagne corks are flying.

These developments benefited Donald Trump, of course, but what if the entire mechanism that purportedly supports Biden wants all these to happen?

America is no stranger to conspiracy theories. Moon landing. JFK. 9/11. You name it. This Joe Biden one is not up there yet, but it’s close.

The “theory” has it that Joe Biden’s “supporters” knew all along that he stood just a little chance against Donald Trump in November, and things could get even worse between now and the election day, so they decided to set him up.

How? By arranging the earliest presidential debate in US history and sending him out there knowing that Trump would win by just standing there and looking younger.

The muting of the non-speaker’s microphone during the debate looked initially like a pro-Biden rule but in fact it backfired against the president because it forced him to speak uninterrupted.

Trump walked off the stage like a company’s CEO finishing a business routine while Biden had to be slowly assisted by his wife off the podium and out the studio.

The president had a fiery speech in front of a cheering crowd afterwards, but it was too late.

Many called that post-debate speech his “staircase wit”, meaning that he should have said all that during the TV showdown with Trump, not in front of his diehard supporters screaming approvals for every word.

CNN, whose anti-Trump stand is no secret, started it by calling the presidential debate the White House’s unmitigated political disaster.

The network also quoted Democratic sources as voicing great disappointment. Words like “panic” and “embarrassment” were used.

The floodgates then opened. Big, respectable names came out to demand presidential candidacy replacement. Biden’s “mumbles” spawned YouTube clips. Mockery abounded, and even a Hitler parody had his share.

These developments undoubtedly favoured Trump, but they also made it easier for purported Biden “allies” to say to him “Look, we still love you but you have come as far as you could. Just watch YouTube.”

The conspiracy theory is plausible up until this point. If they really want to change the Democratic candidate, there are huge risks, and next steps are extremely hard.

Legally, it would require tough changes that some states might not approve. It’s highly complicated to turn the Democratic primary delegates that the law says belonged to Biden into support for a new person.

The following is from Time: “At this point, the Democratic National Committee rules leave little wiggle room for anyone but Biden to be the party’s nominee. But that changes if Biden voluntarily chooses to step aside.

That’s where a lot of backroom discussions are unfolding to gauge the possibility of such an outcome. Can Biden be talked out of a second term?”

Politically, the midway replacement could make the Democrats look really bad, deceitful even. There are two potentially-catastrophic crossings in particular.

First, if it took just 15 minutes or so for all of America and the world to see that something was seriously wrong with Biden cognitively, replacing him would beg the question why those close to him did not spot it a long time ago, during which there were many red flags, opponents’ mocking videos, the government’s own insistence that everything was fine, that “cheap fake” clips were misleading America about his age problems.

Second (this is related to the first), if it was a medical condition and not a normal thing that old people do from time to time, this can be an atomic bomb.

A medical disorder is easily detectable and there is no way the US government does not have its most important person undergo regular health checks, considering his age and everything.

In other words, if the Biden camp removed him as the presidential candidate, it could be accused of having told America and the whole world a big, serious lie. A medical condition, if it happens to be true, could not have developed one week before the debate.

Fielding a new candidate would almost definitely make many feel that the Biden camp did not really care about him and was just interested in winning.

But the biggest damage would be the question who actually has been running America all these years. “Deep state” is often said in whispers and the word could be amplified if Biden dropped out, “voluntarily” or not.

The president’s election campaign team says he is still determined to run. That has been clear in Biden’s post-debate speech and his wife’s attitude, which is so

belligerently in favour of her husband’s bid for a second term that one half of America is considering her the most villainous woman.

Also, replacing Biden is no guarantee that the newcomer would defeat Trump. He or she might be a better talker than the sitting president, but that could be it.

Trump would do three things _ claiming experiences, ridiculing the change, and accusing his opponents of doing whatever necessary including weaponising the laws in order to stop him.

But how can the White House and Democratic Party bounce back from last week if Biden continue to represent them? He is not getting any younger going into the next debate and November.

They appear to have no way out. If politics becomes too competitive, not cooperative, it always leads to something like this.

By Tulsathit Taptim
File photo : US President Joe Biden//AFP