What do we do about Joe? It’s time for him to go.

Photo by Cole Murphy Student Publications

Two years ago, President Joe Biden was asked to give a message to the two-thirds of Americans who believed he shouldn’t run for re-election. 

He responded with just two words: “Watch me.” 

And watched, we have. 

That concerning two-thirds has now ballooned into a catastrophic 86% of Americans saying they think Biden is too old to serve another term as president, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll earlier this month. Biden often talks about “bringing the country together.” Well, he has. The country thinks that Biden isn’t fit to serve. 

That includes Special Counsel Robert Hur, whose report on Biden’s mishandling of classified documents was released on Feb 8. Regarding his decision not to charge Biden, Hur wrote, “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” He continued that Biden could not remember the years he was Vice President or the year his son died. 

When Biden held an emergency press conference later that evening to address Hur’s comments, he was angry and confused.

He accused Hur of interrogating him about the death of his son, which NBC subsequently reported to be false. 

As what felt like an encore, he referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the Mexican President. If Democratic leadership was praying for signs to move on from Biden, then that press conference was the voice of God. 

The American people think Biden needs to go, and his own Justice Department thinks he is mentally incompetent. 

It is not time for Democrats to be ignoring the reality of the situation — it’s time for them to be looking for alternatives to Biden. 

So, what do we do about Joe?  The answer is not damage control. Biden’s issues do not need to be ignored, minimized or compared to Donald Trump’s. 

They need to be brought out into the open. The New York Times issued a stern editorial, pointing out the seriousness of Biden’s age-related issues and admonishing Biden to “do better.” It is a good first step, but it doesn’t go far enough. The editors say that “the stakes in this presidential election are too high for Mr. Biden to hope that he can skate through a campaign with the help of teleprompters and aides and somehow defeat as manifestly unfit an opponent as Donald Trump, who has a very real chance of retaking the White House.” 

If the stakes of the election are really that high, and Trump is really that much of a threat to democracy, then the Democrats should nominate someone who actually can beat him. 

Putting aside Trump, another Biden term is risky on its face. Biden is old, and old people have health problems. Is betting that he will be happy and healthy until he is 86 a risk that America is willing to take? Even looking at videos from the midterms shows how much Biden has declined mentally and physically in two years. 

The odds are not great that his health would be exactly the same in four. Certainly, Trump is old, too, and that is a legitimate concern.

 But if Trump has lost a step these last few years, then Biden has fallen flat on his face. 

Trump has his own issues that make him unfit for office, but he can remember the years he was president. We need to be realistic about the real danger of having a president that is not of sound mind. Tensions are escalating with China over Taiwan, and Russia is still invading Ukraine. This is not the time to have a leader who can’t remember who is president of what country. 

A wrong move from Biden could have serious geo-political ramifications that could be just as bad as anything Trump would do if he were elected. There are three options Democrats have to select another candidate, none of them ideal. 

The first and most straightforward approach would be to convince Biden to drop out of the race now. 

It would be the best choice for both the party and the country, but it has the glaring problem of needing Biden’s cooperation, which will probably not happen before the convention, if at all. 

The second option would be the 25th Amendment. Cabinet members, along with the vice president, would state that they believe the president could not fulfill the duties of the office, and Kamala Harris would assume the powers of the presidency. 

This would be an extreme measure, and it could plunge the Executive Branch into chaos. 

The tumult could throw the election to Trump, a possibility that makes the 25th Amendment an unworkable solution for Democrats currently. The last way to replace Biden would be through the Democratic National Convention. 

It is true that delegates, unlike at the Republican convention, are not all legally bound to a specific candidate, but it would still be extremely difficult to replace Biden against his will.

However, if he coasted through until the end of the primary, announced he was not running for a second term and released his delegates at the convention, Democrats could then decide amongst themselves who the nominee would be. 

It would certainly be the most exciting of the three options, even if its reliance on Biden’s assistance makes the
plan difficult to pull off. 

In all likelihood, Biden will be the nominee, and we will have eight more months of tensely watching him shuffle and stumble all across America. 

To be clear, I am not a Democrat, and I desperately hope the Republicans find a way to replace Trump with a true conservative. 

But, honestly, they probably won’t, and America deserves at least one serious candidate who can be reasonably expected to lead the country. The Democrats have a chance — however small — to put up that kind of nominee. 

Let’s hope they do.