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Another Democrat Breaks Ranks, Calls for Biden to Withdraw From Race

The public calls for Biden to step aside are growing.

President Joe Biden speaks at a podium
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The dean of Arizona’s congressional delegation, Representative Raúl Grijalva, is calling on President Joe Biden to step aside in the 2024 presidential election, following Thursday’s poor debate performance.

“If he’s the candidate, I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere,” Grijalva told The New York Times Wednesday, regarding the incumbent president. “What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat—and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”

Grijalva becomes only the second Democrat in the House to openly call for Biden’s withdrawal, following Representative Lloyd Doggett on Tuesday. Only last week, Grijalva was defending Biden.

Twitter Screenshot Rep. Raúl Grijalva @standwithraul: This election is a clear choice: protect our freedoms and democracy with @JoeBiden, or succumb to a convicted felon's unhinged vengeance and reckless desire to destroy everything to save himself. To stop Trump, we must win AZ. I'm ALL IN and will do all I can to make sure we win. June 28, 2024

This shows that Biden isn’t just in danger of losing Democrats on the fence, or those in swing districts, but even progressives in safe seats. The 10-term Arizona representative has served in Congress since 2003 in a district that voted for Biden by a considerable margin, and once chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Grijalva joins a host of Democrats who have privately expressed their concerns with Biden in recent days, with some even circulating a draft letter calling for Biden to withdraw.

Outside of Congress, Grijalva’s stance also carries considerable weight, as Arizona is a key battleground state. The Grand Canyon State has only been won by Democratic presidential candidates twice since 1948: Bill Clinton in 1996 and a narrow win for Biden in 2020, edging out Donald Trump by close to 10,000 votes. A post-debate internal Democratic poll shows Trump leading in the state by nearly 10 points, which could also have a ripple effect on Democrat Ruben Gallego’s attempt to win the Senate seat being vacated by the departing Kyrsten Sinema.

With pressure coming from an established member of Congress in a key battleground state, Biden has a decision to make. Democrats and Trump opponents will hope that he makes it soon, as conservatives are already strategizing on how to handle potential replacements.

Mississippi Republicans’ Maps Struck Down for Being Too Racist

A federal court has just dealt a serious blow to Mississippi Republicans.

Mississippi state Capitol building
MoveOn & Emmett Till Legacy Foundation

A U.S. district court in Mississippi ruled Tuesday that three state congressional maps crafted in 2022 by the state’s Republican-led legislature violated the Voting Rights Act and dilute the Black vote in three majority-Black districts.

The lawsuit, filed in 2022 by the ACLU on behalf of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, argued that lawmakers redrew voting maps that ”dilute black Mississippian votes in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and contain 11 unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

According to the court’s decision, Mississippi lawmakers with the Standing Joint Committee presented and approved finalized maps, with no opportunity for public comment or presenting proposed maps, after holding a brief 15-minute hearing to issue new criteria for drawing legislative maps.

The alterations sparked concern among Mississippi legislators who noted the state’s demographics would require the addition of at least four majority-Black districts. Lawmakers pushing through their diluted maps stated that a voting map that reflects the state’s growing Black population “is not a map this state needs,” and pushed forward a voting map that redrew two majority-Black state Senate districts and one majority-Black state House district in March 2022.

A three-judge panel ruled on Tuesday that the maps did violate the Voting Rights Act but “did not establish the redistricting maps are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”

Alongside ruling that the legislative maps would have to be redrawn to comply with the Voting Rights Act, the district court also ruled that special elections would be required for the newly drawn districts.

“This is a win for voting rights,” the ACLU stated on X (formerly Twitter) on announcing the news. “The Mississippi State Conference NAACP is pleased with the decision of finding some of the districts discriminatory to Black voters, although we wish the court had gone further,” said Charles V. Taylor Jr., executive director of Mississippi’s NAACP.

Michael Flynn Addresses Speculation About Being Trump’s Vice President

Don’t worry, Donald Trump did not pick Michael Flynn as his running mate.

Michael Flynn holds a microphone as he speaks
Dustin Franz/Getty Images

Everybody can breathe a little easier: Mike Flynn is definitely not Donald Trump’s pick for vice president.

X, formerly Twitter, was abuzz Wednesday with rumors that Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser had been officially tapped to join his presidential ticket.

Users were set alight after seeing screenshots of what appeared to be a Federal Election Commission filing registered to Trump and “General Michael Thomas Flynn (Vice President).” The form also referred to a political committee called “Trump-Flynn 2024,” and included the address of a P.O. Box in Arlington, Virginia. The document appeared to be a Form 2, which any candidate must file within 15 days of entering a race.

Many on the internet started to run with the news, fearful that the former president had enlisted the QAnon-pushing conspiracy theorist to help him reclaim the White House. Fortunately for the fate of the free world, the filing was beyond phony.

The original document is not found on the FEC’s website, but on a webpage with a URL ending with, which is a news aggregator website. It’s not clear that the website is actually associated with the document. But what is clear is that the whole thing is a moneymaking hoax.

Shortly after posting the screenshot, one user boasted that by posting, they had helped to artificially inflate the betting odds of Flynn’s becoming Trump’s running mate, making a quick buck.

The online fervor still hit a fever pitch, however, and Flynn had to weigh in to put the rumors to rest. “I just saw 2 unauthorized FEC filings referencing my name. They are fake news! I don’t know anything about them, and my office has alerted the FEC,” he wrote on X, before plugging his movie. So there, that settles it.

Earlier Wednesday, Flynn posted his enthusiastic, unconditional endorsement of Trump’s presidential run, asking voters, “Will your children live the American Dream or be enslaved by a corrupt, wasteful government of woke globalists?”

House Democrats Warn “Dam Is Breaking” on Biden Replacement Talks

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are worried about keeping Biden at the top of the ballot.

President Joe Biden on debate stage
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Joe Biden is quickly losing support from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who are urging him to step aside, according to a report from Axios.

These Democrats in Congress are reportedly building a consensus that Biden should withdraw from the race, with one warning that “the dam is breaking.”

“Over the last few hours, I am starting to hear from delegates that they really love Joe but want him to step aside,” another House Democrat said.

One lawmaker said that pressure was building from constituents, who are trying to drive the point home to their congresspeople.

“So many people are telling us he can’t win, he’s got to withdraw,” the representative said, saying that they were being “inundated” with messages from their district.

And one member of Congress suggested that Biden has lost the majority of the Democratic caucus.

Biden should “step down and help lead a transition of candidacy,” this lawmaker told Axios, claiming that a “very large majority of the caucus shares this sentiment.”

The report is grim. Newer House Democrats, many representing swing districts, reportedly told House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries that supporting Biden would mean risking their reputations. Some are even “resigned to the inevitability” that there needs to be someone new, and have come around to Vice President Kamala Harris to replace Biden.

According to Bloomberg, there’s even a draft letter calling for Biden to withdraw that is circulating around the House, with one congressperson saying it’s “all anyone is talking about.” However, there are Democrats who are publicly attempting to build up support for Biden, including some members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and influential Representative Jim Clyburn, according to the Axios report.

Will Biden be able to shore up enough support from his party to stay on the ticket, or will the pressure prove to be too much? It all depends on whether he in fact has lost the majority of elected Democrats. If he loses the support of party leaders, that could also be enough, especially if polls continue to show alarming trends. Ultimately, Biden will have to decide, and fast, as Republicans are already preparing for potential replacements.

White House Slammed for Lack of “Credibility” on Biden’s Mental State

White House reporters are growing increasingly frustrated with Biden’s spokespeople.

Reporters raise their hands during a briefing with Karine Jean-Pierre
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Journalists covering the White House no longer believe that the Biden administration’s press team has the trust of the American people.

In interviews with The Daily Beast, several White House correspondents indicated that a lack of transparency around President Joe Biden’s failing health has compromised any credibility in new messaging.

During a Wednesday briefing, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attributed Biden’s poor performance during last week’s debate to jet lag and a cold that would take a “toll” on anybody, including an 81-year-old president. She added that the notes on Biden’s health at the time of the debate should be seen as an “explanation” instead of an “excuse,” and further claimed that the administration had been “transparent” about his condition in the months leading up to the disastrous performance. However, she stopped short of promising the release of more of the president’s health details.

“It doesn’t come across as credible to say that there hasn’t been a change,” Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, told the Beast.

“They have told us repeatedly over the last few years, ‘He’s really sharp, he’s as sharp as he ever was,’” Baker continued, adding that “there are moments where he was not always at his sharpest.”

Other reporters were more blunt, mentioning to the Beast that the press team’s credibility was “in already pretty low regard.”

“This is not the first major thing they have not been forthright about,” another White House reporter told the Beast, referring to a communication blunder on debt ceiling negotiations in 2023.

“That credibility has been eroding, but this has kind of been a bit of an iceberg falloff. It’s been sorta happening for a while,” the unidentified reporter added.

In response, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates issued a statement highlighting Biden’s support for a free press with the ability to question his age.

“Joe Biden has always stood up for the ‘critical’ role of the free press in our society and said that it’s legitimate and reasonable for reporters to cover his age,” Bates said. “And we have highlighted that, as he has proven by earning the strongest record of any modern President, Joe Biden is unflinchingly capable and fighting for American families, with sharpness and resolve, every moment of every day.”

Obama’s Private Conversations About Biden Sure Don’t Sound Great

Barack Obama’s public and private statements about Joe Biden sound quite different, according to a new report.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama clap, standing side by side. Obama looks grim.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Behind closed doors, former President Barack Obama’s tune is more concerning than his public expressions of support would suggest, according to The Washington Post. Obama spoke with Biden on Thursday night after the debate, offering to act as a “sounding board and private counselor.” And privately, he assessed to aides that Biden’s debate performance made his already tough reelection chances harder, according to unnamed sources who spoke with the Post.

Following Biden’s disastrous debate performance last Thursday that continues to shake the Democratic Party, Obama released a statement brushing off the debate performance and pointing to his own abysmal first debate against Mitt Romney in 2012.

Twitter Screenshot Barack Obama @BarackObama: Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself. Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November. June 28, 2024

Obama’s private rhetoric is in stark contrast to his public statement brushing off Biden’s debate performance as an anomaly. Meanwhile, Biden’s debate has so thoroughly disturbed Democrats that a growing number of Democratic lawmakers and donors seem to be looking for ways to pressure him to step down—a move that the White House and his campaign have firmly rejected.

“President Biden is grateful for President Obama’s unwavering support since the very start of this campaign as both a powerful messenger to voters and a trusted adviser directly to the president,” Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for Biden’s campaign told The Washington Post.

As with Obama’s private discussions, concerns about Biden’s ability to remain the Democratic nominee have continued to spew forth like leaks in a sinking ship in the days since Biden’s debate. Meanwhile, public calls for Biden to step aside have increased, as have damning polls about Biden’s reelection chances.

Biden’s campaign and the White House remain insistent that he will “absolutely not” drop out, with supporters attempting to shift the narrative by recasting Biden as an underdog duking it out against fascists and bedwetters. According to The New York Times, Biden privately acknowledged his upcoming events this week pose a make-or-break moment to pull his campaign out of its nosedive and convince voters he can survive another term. Meanwhile, conservatives are cooking up a plan to make it “extraordinarily difficult” for Biden to step down and find a replacement on the Democratic ticket.

A poll released by CNN on Tuesday shows 75 percent of voters support anyone else leading the Democratic ticket over Biden, with another CBS poll released on Monday indicating 72 percent of voters doubt Biden’s mental fitness to lead.

Missouri A.G. Sues New York for Dumbest Reason Ever

Andrew Bailey is accusing New York state of violating Missouri residents’ First Amendment rights.

Andrew Bailey speaks into a microphone
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a lawsuit Wednesday against New York state alleging that the gag orders placed on Donald Trump during his hush-money trial constituted election interference. 

The lawsuit alleged that Trump’s gag orders and impending sentencing, which was recently postponed to September, illegally interfered with elections in other states, violated the Purcell principle, and violated the First Amendment rights of the citizens of Missouri “to listen to the campaign speech of a specific individual on specific topics.”

In the filing, lawyers for Missouri argued that the gag orders placed on Trump should be removed, “so Missourians can participate in the election free from New York’s exercise of coercive power limiting the ability of the Trump campaign.” Bailey has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the dispute, and remove Trump’s gag order once and for all. 

It seems the specific topic the suit refers to is Trump’s opinions about New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, his staff, and his family members, whom Trump was barred from speaking about during his trial. He repeatedly railed against them online, stirring up a frenzy of right-wing hysteria over the supposedly rigged trial. Ultimately, the jury found Trump guilty of 34 felony counts for falsifying business documents.  

Ahead of his debate against President Joe Biden, the gag order on Trump was partially lifted, allowing him to make comments about witnesses and jurors who deliberated over the case. Merchan kept intact the part of the order that prevents him from publicly speaking about the lawyers and staff of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and their families. Trump is allowed to speak about District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Trump supporters remain enraged at the limitations. “New York is waging war on American Democracy—and Missouri will not let it stand,” Bailey wrote on X. “I will not sit idly by while Soros-backed prosecutors in New York hold Missouri voters hostage in this presidential election.” 

The Purcell principle is a uniquely open-ended doctrine that comes from the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Purcell v. Gonzalez, which found that courts could not change election rules in the short period of time just before an election takes place, because it creates confusion among the electorate. Trump’s criminal trial for his hush-money scheme took place in May, six months before the polls open in November—so it’s not exactly clear how the gag order could constitute the kind of last-minute change to election rules prevented by Purcell. 

While the math on this strategy might not quite work out, it’s on par with Bailey’s original plan to oppose Trump’s conviction on the basis that prosecutors had missed the statute of limitations—which of course, wasn’t the case at all. 

Bailey’s suit seeks a stay on Trump’s gag orders so the presumptive Republican nominee can continue to spew whatever attacks he sees fit against anyone he decides is an enemy. “This lawfare is poisonous to American democracy,” Bailey said in a statement. “The American people ought to be able to participate in a presidential election free from New York’s interference. Any gag order and sentence should be stayed until after the election.”

It’s not clear yet whether the highest court in the land will hear Bailey’s case. 

Conservatives Have a Devious Plan to Stop Biden From Being Replaced

The Heritage Foundation, a top conservative think tank, has a game plan to make sure Joe Biden remains on the ballot after that disastrous debate performancee.

Joe Biden, on the debate stage, looks confused
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Conservatives may pull all of the stops to stop Democrats if the party tries to replace Joe Biden on the November election ticket, according to a memo from a top right-wing think tank.

The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project began researching the laws for replacing a president in several battleground states about four months ago, putting together a report in April and releasing it before Thursday’s debate disaster, according to NOTUS.

“If the Biden family decides that President Biden will not run for re-election, the mechanisms for replacing him on ballots vary by state,” the memo states. “There is the potential for pre-election litigation in some states that would make the process difficult and perhaps unsuccessful.”

When NOTUS reached out to the Oversight Project, its executive director, Mike Howell, didn’t mince words, saying that they believe replacing Biden would be “extraordinarily difficult,” and that “we would make it extraordinarily difficult.”

“We’ve zeroed in on a few states that we think are the best case,” Howell said, refusing to elaborate on which ones. “It all depends on when and how they do it. And then what state that we’re looking at now that matches up to be the right one, going in there and working with the right people.”

With calls to replace Biden growing within the Democratic Party, and leading members openly discussing the prospect, the fact that the Heritage Foundation, arguably the GOP’s ideological engine, has already been preparing to thwart any such plans is worrying. According to the memo, the key states of Wisconsin, Nevada, and Georgia are where legal action to keep Biden on the ballot could pay off.

Democrats might be able to derail such efforts if Biden is replaced quickly, as he still doesn’t officially have the party’s nomination for president. While this would normally be determined at August’s Democratic National Convention, the party was planning to select Biden in a virtual roll call before then to avoid the prospect of certain states with timing laws excluding him from their ballots.

The Trump campaign would back the Heritage Foundation’s efforts to fight a Biden replacement, as they see Biden as a weaker opponent now.

“We definitely want the dementia patient,” a source close to Trump told NOTUS. “They made their bed; they get to sleep in it. But we also love the chaos of their public decision-making process.”

Recent polls show Biden was hurt by the debate, and he is running behind Trump across the country in several key states, and even in states previously thought safe. If Democrats think that Biden needs to be replaced, they need to decide quickly, and at the very least, they need to call upon their legal soldiers to make sure their decision holds up.

Even Trump Was Shocked by Biden’s Debate Performance

It’s part of the reason why Trump only wants to face off against Biden in November.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on the debate stage
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

While Democratic donors and lawmakers peel away from President Joe Biden, at least one person desperately wants the incumbent to stay in the race: Donald Trump.

“We need to make sure Biden stays on the ballot and there’s no bait and switch,” a 2020 Trump staffer told Vanity Fair.

Trump was, himself, taken aback by Biden’s frailty during last week’s debate. One source that was briefed on Trump’s conversations after the event told the publication that the former president was “sad for America” and then “upset” by Biden’s mindless performance.

After spending months attempting to chop Biden down for his fragile health, a new, younger candidate opposing him at the top of the ticket would be the worst-case scenario for Trump. And some close to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee now believe that Trump walked straight into a trap by agreeing to partake in the earliest presidential debate in televised history, offering ample time for Democrats to find another option in case voters turned on Biden.

Several centrist governors are circulating in the conservative ecosphere as alternatives to Biden, including Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Vice President Kamala Harris is also being viewed as a credible option, with the 2020 staffer telling Vanity Fair that the Democratic Party wouldn’t be able to “sidestep her.”

But other Trump aides weren’t so sure that the Democratic effort to replace Biden on the ticket would prevail.

“They’re stuck with Biden,” a senior Trump campaign staffer told Vanity Fair.

Biden’s Campaign Is in Chaos—Can They Calm the Panic?

Joe Biden’s campaign is scrambling to reassure staffers after that disastrous debate.

Joe Biden stands at a podium
Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Image

President Joe Biden’s campaign is desperately trying to assure the American people that he won’t be dropping out of the race, and that includes staffers at the White House.

Biden’s campaign circulated an all-staff memo Wednesday morning that included internal polling that shows the president neck and neck with former President Donald Trump, ahead of a forthcoming poll from The New York Times/Siena College. According to the memo, the Times poll is expected to “show a slightly larger swing in the race” following Biden’s disastrous performance at the first presidential debate last week.

The campaign’s internal polling of battleground states found that Biden has only dropped half a percentage point since his lackluster debate performance, going from 43 percent to 42 percent, according to Politico, which received a copy of the memo. Meanwhile, the polling found that Trump only improved his advantage by 0.2 percent.

These results are markedly more optimistic for Biden than others. CBS released a poll Wednesday that found Trump had a three-point advantage in battleground states, and a two-point advantage nationally. A CNN poll released Tuesday found that most voters believe Democrats could improve their bid for the White House by backing a different candidate.

It’s worth noting, though, that the debate was expected to provide Biden a massive boost in popularity. So the fact that his performance has dropped, even by a tiny amount, is still a bad sign.

While the results of these polls have sent many Democrats running around like chickens with their heads cut off, the Biden campaign has insisted that they should keep calm and carry on.

“We are going to see a few polls come out today and we want you all to hear from us on what we know internally and what we expect to come externally,” said the memo. “Polls are a snapshot in time and we should all expect them to continue to fluctuate—it will take a few weeks, not a few days, to get a full picture of the race.”

As shortsighted as it is to change one’s tune over the results of a couple of polls, the criticisms of Biden postdebate don’t seem to be going anywhere just yet, If anything, the search for a new candidate only appears to be growing in strength, with Democratic leaders offering to back Vice President Kamala Harris should Biden choose to withdraw.

Maintaining business as usual is a particularly difficult message to sell given that Biden has reportedly said he is weighing whether to drop out, reports which the White House has been quick to deny. As tensions rise within the Democratic Party, calming nerves and quelling dissent may go hand in hand for Biden’s inner circle, who have been accused of shielding him from calls to withdraw.