Key Dems, Donors Declaring Independence from Biden?

Joe Biden’s efforts to shore up support for his candidacy hit a fever pitch yesterday. The White House hosted an hour-plus conference with Democrat governors who attended in person and virtually to hear Biden’s pitch. His allies went to Capitol Hill to get congressional Democrats back into line. Biden and his team also did something they have long avoided — getting Biden to talk to reporters, recording two radio interviews and prepping for a televised tete-a-tete with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos tomorrow.

How did all of that go for Biden? According to the Daily Mail, not well at allWhile some of the governors came out of the meeting singing Biden’s praises, and Kathy Hochul claimed the support was unanimous. However, a few of them warned Biden that he couldn’t win, and were none too happy with Hochul either:

New York’s Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul offered unanimous support for the ailing president, 81, after the meeting – but other politicians in attendance say that she had no right to. 

And another female Democrat governor – Janet Mills of Maine – pulled no punches in blasting Biden over last week’s dreadful debate performance after he tried to soothe them by saying he’d been given a thumbs up from a medical checkup earlier this week.

Mills directly told Biden she had no problem with his age but that she felt he wasn’t up to run against Donald Trump, while Ned Lamont of Connecticut asked what his path forward was, citing a need to make the case to his constituents. 

Both governors questioned whether he could even beat Trump in their states, according to sources in attendance. A Democrat hasn’t lost Connecticut or Maine since 1988.  

Some may scoff at the source here, as the Daily Mail is a conservative British tabloid. Would they have good enough sources to report on a call between Biden and the governors? How about the Washington Post? All they report is that the governors were “honest” and “open” and “candid.” In politico-speak, that means disagreement. At the very least, it doesn’t sound like the ringing endorsement that Hochul claims.

Besides, it’s not as if the Rescue Joe project is doing better in its other phases. If you don’t trust the Daily Mail, would the Associated Press be a more reliable source for what’s happening on Capitol Hill, for instance?

But increasingly ominous signs were mounting for the president. Two Democratic lawmakers have called on Biden to exit the race while a leading ally publicly suggested how the party might choose someone else. And senior aides said they believed he might only have a matter of days to show he was up to the challenge before anxiety in the party boils over. …

And even as other Democratic allies have remained quiet since Thursday’s debate, there is a growing private frustration about the Biden campaign’s response to his disastrous debate performance at a crucial moment in the campaign — particularly in Biden waiting several days to do direct damage control with senior members of his own party.

One Democratic aide said the lacking response has been worse than the debate performance itself, saying lawmakers who support Biden want to see him directly combatting the concerns about his stamina in front of reporters and voters. The aide was granted anonymity to candidly discuss interparty dynamics.

Or how about the New York Times when it comes to big-ticket Democrat donors?

Reed Hastings, the Netflix co-founder who in recent years has become one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party, called on Wednesday for President Biden to relinquish his place atop of the Democratic presidential ticket.

Mr. Hastings became one of the first to say publicly what many Democratic megadonors are saying privately. “Biden needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous,” he said in an email with The Times. …

Mr. Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, during the Trump era joined the Democratic Party’s most generous donor couples. Together they have given more than $20 million to support the party over the last few years, including as much as $1.5 million to back Mr. Biden during the 2020 presidential race, and $100,000 last summer to support Mr. Biden in 2024. Most of their donations have gone to super PACs meant to help House and Senate Democrats.

And the donor front may be close to collapsing where Biden can least afford it:

Some leaders in Hollywood, which just toasted Mr. Biden at a splashy fund-raiser last month, are beginning to go public about their misgivings. On Tuesday, the power agent Ari Emanuel expressed his own frustrations.

Perhaps Biden — or whoever’s running things for him — can still hold it together through the weekend. If ABC and Stephanopoulos can edit their interview sympathetically enough, it might lessen the panic among the Democrats’ elite clique and maybe get Hastings and other donors back on board. But just because they will only see what they want to see doesn’t mean that they can successfully gaslight Americans about Biden’s incompetence any longer. If Biden isn’t doing substantial press conferences and live interviews with reporters, the bell that tolled during the presidential debate will never be unrung.

And of course, if ABC and Stephanopoulos decide that they can’t gaslight Americans any longer and want Biden out, they will almost certainly have an opportunity to offer a less-sympathetic edit of the Biden interview for their Sunday broadcast. Stay tuned, but either way, we are likely approaching some sort of preference cascade that will end Biden’s nomination. 

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