What now for the Democrats?: Joe Biden’s performance at the first debate has deepened concerns about whether he can beat Donald Trump (LESLEY RUSSELL, 28 JUNE 2024, Inside Story)

Previous debates have shown that perceptions of performance — ahead of policy discussions and factual presentations — crown the winner, though voters generally find the debates useful rather than determinative. With his age always a strike against him, Biden’s debate performance was humiliating for him, concerning for his staff and not at all reassuring potential voters. When the fact checking is over (too little, too late) Trump should also be humiliated, but the chances are that he and the MAGA Republicans will be more than happy with the night’s performance regardless.

What now for the Democrats? Since Biden first declared he would run again, there have been those, in the party and outside, who have talked about an alternative. Biden’s claim that he is the only candidate who can beat Trump rings increasingly hollow for many, and calls to replace him are now being openly voiced.

At least three significant steps are required for this to happen, all of which should preferably happen ahead of the Democratic Convention, which begins on 19 August.

First, Biden must be persuaded to step aside.

If the election is existential then running Joe is the least responsible act since a dying FDR ran for a 4th term and left the choice of VP to chance.