Democratic donor says Biden shouldn’t run for re-election to ‘put country first’

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A longtime donor to Democratic candidates warned in a new op-ed that President Biden’s team needs to convince the president that the only way to preserve his White House legacy is to step down from the party’s ticket to let another candidate take his place.

Ari Emanuel, CEO of the Endeavor entertainment and talent agency, wrote in The Economist that the White House’s efforts at damage control following the first presidential debate aren’t enough to restore confidence in his candidacy. The White House has pushed back on calls for Biden to step down as the party’s candidate and Biden himself has repeatedly emphasized, “I’m all in.”

“Claiming Mr. Biden just needs to get more sleep won’t cut it. Nor will blaming the press,” Emanuel wrote. “‘The media has spent a ton of time blowing this out of proportion,’ a campaign aide said to donors a couple of days after the debate. It’s the Biden campaign that has lost any sense of proportion if they think they can make the country forget what it saw at the debate.”

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Emanuel said he thinks Biden has been “an excellent president” and has a “record to celebrate” between his handling of the pandemic and legislative achievements. However, if the president truly believes this election is “about a battle for the soul of America and the future of its democracy, then he has no choice but to withdraw and let a stronger candidate lead this crucial fight.”

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He explained that leaders in the Democratic ranks are trying to “bury their heads in the sand” because they don’t want to “push a beloved figure off the stage,” but they’re facing an “astronomical” risk of defeat if Biden remains the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

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Emanuel also expressed reservations about the electoral prospects for Vice President Kamala Harris if she were to replace Biden as the presidential nominee because her own campaign in the 2020 election cycle met an early end in December 2019 before the primary began in earnest.

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Emanuel believes that there are “several less risky options” that could lead Democrats to victory in November. 

As an example, he wrote that a duo of Democratic governors from swing states “like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro would electrify the country” and help ensure Democrats win the Electoral College. He also suggested that Maryland Gov. Wes Moore could be a viable option for Democrats in replacing Biden.

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Emanuel called on Biden’s longtime advisers and family members, particularly first lady Jill Biden, to help the president “navigate a dignified exit that preserves his legacy” rather than allowing it to be destroyed in a “crushing defeat” in a rematch with former President Trump. He concluded with, “The Democratic Party is not a mindless cult of personality. We are patriots who put the country first. Let’s show it.”

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