Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

The speech Joe Biden won’t give, Part II

Joe Biden on stage
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Opdycke is the founder and president of Open Primaries, a national advocacy organization working to enact and protect open and nonpartisan primaries and enhance the visibility and power of independent voters. His monthly column, Brash Tacks,offers insights into how a people-powered, non-ideological democracy movement can be most effective in revamping our political process and culture to meet the needs of a complex and ever-changing 21st century landscape.

After the debate on June 27, it seems like the Democratic Party consultant class is starting to catch up with the American people on the question of whether President Joe Biden should run for reelection.

The concern has focused on his debate performance and his physical and mental capacities. But the American people — particularly independent voters who swung to Biden in 2020 — have been expressing a deeper concern for some time: “Hey, Joe, we voted for you to get Trump out of office and take a break from the drama. Your job was to stabilize things and then turn it over to the next generation. We don’t need you to be a transformational president. Are you listening to us?”


Independent voters, now 45 percent of the national electorate, broke for Biden by 14 points in 2020 after having backed Donald Trump by 4 points in 2016 — an 18 point swing. But independents didn't hand Biden the presidency to coronate him four years later. That’s not how independents think and it isn’t how they vote.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Here’s the irony. The Democrats who are panicking are the same folks who made sure that Biden didn’t face a primary challenge. They drove Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a lifelong Democrat, out of the party and ridiculedDean Phillips, who had the guts to give up a promising political career to enter the presidential primary because he believed a Biden coronation would help Trump. For his troubles, Phillips was lambasted, kept off the ballot and driven out of Congress. The Democratic Party swaddled Biden in bubble wrap, demonized anyone suggesting that a competitive primary was a good thing and now are stuck with a presumptive nominee whose capacity to perform the basic duties of a presidential candidate is in question.

The 2024 Democratic presidential primary is Exhibit 1 in the case to change how we conduct primary elections. We the people pay for them. Our state election administrators conduct them. But small bands of partisans determine who is allowed to vote and who is allowed to run. This construct doesn’t work. It concentrates power in the hands of people who want less competition, not more. We need public primaries, not partisan primaries, to make sure the voice of the people is heard.

The Democratic Party believes Biden can win simply by pointing out that Donald Trump lies. But many Americans believe it’s all lies. Biden lies. Trump lies. Washington lies.Some lies are more polite than others, as Yasha Mounk points out. But it's all lies. Arizona State University’s Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy justcompleted a survey of 1,315 Gen Z voters in Arizona, half of whom are independents. Eighty percent of respondents said that both major parties are out of touch with people their age and that all politicians are corrupt. Democrats yelling “Trump doesn’t tell the truth” is not a strategy, it's a hail mary.

So once again(click here for part I), here is the post debate speech Biden could (but can’t and won’t) give:

Boy, I really screwed that up. I’ve forgotten how much energy it takes to run for president and debate at a high level. First, I need to acknowledge that most Americans voted for me in 2020 to vanquish Trump. I did that and I'm proud of that. I am also proud of the policies we pursued during and after the Covid crisis. But I forgot why you elected me — to be a bridge. Last year, I should have demanded that we have a vigorous primary. It was a mistake to protect me from the voters. We should have had a 10-candidate Democratic primary for president. But we didn’t. That’s my fault.

But we still have time. I’ve asked six polling firms to do a poll unlike any poll ever done. They are going to talk to 50,000 independent voters and 50,000 Democrats and ask them if they think I should bow out and use the convention to decide who our standard bearer should be. If the people prefer I step aside, I will release every delegate and every superdelegate pledged to me.

At the convention, let’s debate and audition candidates. Let’s make up for the fact that we didn’t have a primary. Let’s apologize to Congressman Phillips and then get down to work. Let’s improvise, debate and create a ticket that will inspire. It’s a short time frame but let’s have the discussion.

Biden could say that. But partisan politics is all he knows. And partisan politics is always about what’s good for the party, not good for the country.

Here’s the good news: Independent/reform politics is booming — it’s where the action is! Nonpartisan primaries and nonpartisan redistricting will be on the ballot in eight states this November. Voters in red states and blue are fed up with the parties running the process. The Democratic convention should vote to stop opposing and endorse each and every one of these reform campaigns. If democracy is on the ballot in 2024, as the Democrats say it is, then let's use the ballot to expand our democracy.

Expanding democracy is how we get out of this pickle.

Read More

Trump and Biden at the debate

Donald Trump and Joe Biden engage in the first debate of the 2024 election.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

American presidents only debate during presidential debates

Anderson edited "Leveraging: A Political, Economic and Societal Framework," has taught at five universities and ran for the Democratic nomination for a Maryland congressional seat in 2016.

About 25 years ago, the noted political scientist and sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset invited me to lunch at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. I was a young academic teaching various courses in ethics and political philosophy at George Washington University. He asked me: "What do you think is the most important quality a person needs to be president?"

I thought for about 30 seconds and replied, "Give a great speech."

He said, "No, schmooze."

Keep ReadingShow less
Brain examination
Science Photo Library/Getty Images

A simple solution for Biden, for Trump, for America

Butler is a husband, father, grandfather, business executive, entrepreneur and political observer.

I have said it before, and I will say it again:We deserve better.

It is bad enough that our only real choices for president come November will be old, white, polarizing men tainted by scandal. After nearly four years in what is arguably the most demanding and stressful job in the universe, Joe Biden, whose cognitive capabilities were subject to question even in the last campaign, now appears even to ardent supporters to be too old for the job. Whether they question his ability to do the job or his ability to win the election is unclear.

And while it may be less obvious, Trump provides his own evidence that he is not the man he used to be, neurologically.

Keep ReadingShow less
Meat case at the grocery store
Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images

Soaring grocery prices are not acts of God

Hill was policy director for the Center for Humane Technology, co-founder of FairVote and political reform director at New America. You can reach him on X @StevenHill1776.

Since the pandemic, going to the grocery store has become a jarring experience. On a recent visit, I packed my purchased items into my tote bag and then gawked at the receipt in disbelief.

I’m not alone. Griping about the high cost of groceries has become a national pastime. It’s not just a figment of our imaginations: Grocery prices have soared nearly 27 percent since 2020, higher than overall inflation.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden debating

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden at the debate on June 27.

Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images

Dems, Republicans and the death of common sense: We are stuck with Biden and Trump

Cupp is the host of "S.E. Cupp Unfiltered" on CNN.

Common sense. We all know what it means, but common as it is, definitions and ideas of it have changed over centuries.

Aristotle connected common sense directly to the senses, and the ways in which we use different tastes, colors, feelings, smells and sounds to collectively perceive and categorize things.

Descartes agreed with Aristotle that it linked the mind to the senses, but argued it was a less effective tool of judgment than mathematical and methodical reasoning.

I’m partial to Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico’s definition of common sense: “Judgment without reflection, shared by an entire class, an entire people, an entire nation, or the entire human race.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Shoe lying on the stage

A shoe is left on stage after a former President Donald Trump was ushered off by the Secret Service following an assassination attempt on July 13.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The assassination attempt: Reflections from The Fulcrum contributors

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

I woke up Sunday morning, like I am sure you all did, attempting to process Saturday's assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump.

In my role as co-publisher of The Fulcrum I immediately started thinking about how we should respond and started to write a column with my thoughts. But first I needed to figure out my approach.

Keep ReadingShow less