Biden Debate Disaster Ignites Replacement Talks and Party Panic

Joe Biden’s Thursday night debate performance can be viewed in two ways: bad or very bad. Members of Joe Biden’s inner circle might feverishly defend him, but the whispers are growing louder. With major newspapers like The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sounding the alarm, everyone is pondering the same questions: Should Biden step aside, or will the Democrats continue to pin their hopes on a faltering candidate?

The Biden administration spent the post-debate weekend in a flurry of denials, as aides, family members, and well-wishers argued he could still lead. This weekend’s escapade to Camp David for family photos with Annie Leibovitz had the media inadvertently showcasing a beleaguered clan trying to put on a brave face. Bloomberg described it as a mix of determination and sheer arrogance.

Enter Steven Lichtman, the American University political historian with a penchant for predicting elections. Lichtman’s model, famously accurate in nine out of the last ten elections, declares it would be a colossal blunder to replace Biden now. His 13-point criteria list includes everything from incumbent charisma to party mandate—elements that apparently still suggest a Democratic win with Biden at the helm. Here’s the reality check: watching Biden bumble through the debate makes all those “keys” seem like they’re on shaky ground.

According to Lichtman, debate performances don’t matter—a bold claim considering Thursday’s display. He points to historical precedents where strong debate victories didn’t translate into election wins, like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry. Still, suggesting Biden’s performance was inconsequential? That’s audacious, to say the least. And ignoring the fact that Reagan was more mentally cohesive than Biden ever has been at this age is equally ridiculous. 


Replacement talks hinge on Biden’s cognitive state, and to dismiss concerns about his mental faculties is to ignore the elephant in the room. Lichtman argues debate impact is zero, comparable to sports radio punditry. But what everyone saw was a presidential debacle so stark it can’t be brushed under the rug. Trying to spin Thursday night as anything other than a disaster is pure delusion.

The Democrats are caught in a Catch-22. Dump Biden and risk a chaotic convention plus internal uproar over foreign policy extremism. Keep him, and they might just carry a semi-conscious candidate past the finish line. It’s a coin flip, but either way, it’s a mess created by clinging to a model that simply ignores glaringly obvious red flags.

Thursday’s debate was a turning point that only the most insulated academics can claim had zero impact. Think Dan Quayle’s famous “You’re no Jack Kennedy” moment on repeat for 90 minutes every time Biden opened his mouth. Combine that with an increasingly vocal party ready to jump ship, and you have a recipe for disaster that no 13-point model can fix. Reality isn’t just a set of keys and criteria; it comes with its set of rude awakenings.

Written by Staff Reports

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