The Emerging Split Between Biden’s Public Supporters and Private Doubters

Will he stay or will he go? Democrats are, so far, not going all hammer and tongs over the question of Biden’s survival. But there is now a definite split between those who publicly back the president and those who harbor serious doubts about his viability going forward.

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Biden got a big boost on Monday when the Congressional Black Caucus indicated they would back him, come what may. A statement to that effect is expected to be released in the next few days.

Another positive for Biden was the surprise backing of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leaders, Reps. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), the chair, and Adriano Espailat (D-N.Y.), the vice chair. Politico reports that a Biden meeting with that group is in the works.

But the party split is real and growing. There are Biden backers who are in the “time to move on” crowd, and Biden doubters who want the president to “show us more.” That divide has mixed up some of the usual tensions in the party and could become sharper as the convention nears.

“The matter is closed,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “Joe Biden is our nominee. He is not leaving this race. He is in this race, and I support him.” Other far-left members also voiced their support despite the fact that, on some issues, Biden was at odds with the radicals.

Meanwhile, a powerful senator joined the “show us more” caucus on Wednesday. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington made it clear that unless Biden demonstrates more energy, he should consider dropping out.

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“We need to see a much more forceful and energetic candidate on the campaign trail in the very near future in order for him to convince voters he is up to the job,” she said in a statement. She called on Biden to “seriously consider the best way to preserve his incredible legacy and secure it for the future.”

To be sure, Murray and other show-us-mores have been vague about what exactly they’d like to see Biden doing more of — often simply calling on the candidate to “reassure” the American people. The better way to view their posture is that it’s less about needing Biden to show more and more about them needing to see more about how the very real voter doubts about his fitness for office evolve.

All the endorsements in the world will not satisfy the American people who desperately need reassurance that Joe Biden is capable of fulfilling the duties of his office. Not part-time. Not some days. They need to see a Joe Biden able to speak to world leaders, to Congress, to the American people. 

Even if he can string together a run of strong public performances, his behavior in public and private will remain under a microscope. Look no further than the WSJ’s latest deep dive — “How Biden’s Inner Circle Worked to Keep Signs of Aging Under Wraps” — which included tough anecdotes about Biden skipping a planned meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Schoilz and fumbling for words at a New York fundraiser last year.

Administration officials pushed back on those stories, of course, but even a typical Biden flub could rekindle all the questions about his abilities to survive the next four months, let alone the next four years.

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Exclusively for our VIPs: Once Again, Black Politicians May Rescue Biden From Disaster

Whatever it takes to get Biden to perform adequately in front of the cameras, his aides and a friendly media will do. It’s enormously depressing that the bid to do anything, tell any lie, cover up any weakness or frailty by Biden could result in the candidate skating to victory in November.

If there was ever any evidence that the Democrats care only about power and nothing else, the next few months will demonstrate that. 

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