Is the Debate To Be Biden’s Last Stand?

By Steve Huntley

June 21, 2024

It’s so strange, so unprecedented and so bizarre that no one is talking about it being so strange, so unprecedented and so bizarre.

That it is the debate scheduled for next Thursday, June 27, between President Biden and former President Trump.

June 27 — that’s more than two weeks before the Republican National Convention, more than seven weeks before the Democratic National Convention. And almost 10 weeks before Labor Day, the traditional date for the start of a general election presidential campaign.

And summer is a time when America is mostly on vacation. Folks are thinking more about beach time, airline schedules and the next hot travel destination. Politics is mostly shoved into the mental attic until the fall.

A debate between the two parties’ presidential candidates this early has never happened before. Never.

The explanation is that the Biden campaign, worried about his sagging poll ratings, wants to reassure voters about his age and mental acuity, contrast himself with Trump, and remind Americans that the stakes have never been higher. Meaning the evil orange man might get returned to the White House, and America needs to know how awful he is.

Really, the country needs to hear more Democrat reasons to hate Trump?

Already the legacy media daily sound the alarms about Trump’s supposed threat to democracy, mom and apple pie.

But that’s what Democrats are selling — an early debate exposé of the manifest danger of a second Trump term.

Let’s consider another possible motive, one perhaps animating Democrat leaders and party faithful who behind the scenes must be verging on panic over the increasing public perception of Biden as a senile old fool, an 81-year-old man who’s doddering, decrepit, feeble in mind and body.

That’s not a new worry. It had been building for months before the debate, and another one was announced for Sept. 10th. The president’s aging was officially and graphically described with the February release of a special prosecutor’s report about Biden holding on to classified government documents from his Senate and vice president days. In declining to bring criminal charges against Biden, the prosecutor described him as someone who would appear to a jury to be “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

This landed like an atom bomb because it confirmed what Americans had seen with their own eyes. Countless video clips revealed Biden stumbling, falling down, wandering aimlessly, mumbling and uttering incoherent ramblings about public policy and imaginary events from the past.

Since then, the picture has only gotten worse. The Wall Street Journal interviewed 45 people for an article headlined “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping.” The New York Times exposed Biden’s tall stories as phony, or as its headline delicately put it, “Untangling Some of the President’s Favorite Yarns.” After Biden met with world leaders at the G7 summit in Italy, a London newspaper delivered a devastating verdict from the officials there: He was “losing focus” and “it’s the worst he has ever been.”

Still, nothing really new there. So why an early debate?

Influential Democrats might see it as the last chance to save the party in November.

These movers and shakers might figure that if Biden has a crippling debate performance of disconnected ramblings, meaningless utterances, angry outbursts and undeniable mental decline, there’s still time to persuade him to drop out and for the national convention in late July to produce a replacement.

Just over a week ago prominent Democrat strategist James Carville, who knows a thing or two about how to succeed in politics, said he wished that Biden had already dropped out.

After another recent disastrous poll, analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight declared, “Dropping out would be a big risk. But there’s some threshold below which continuing to run is a bigger risk. Are we there yet? I don’t know. But it’s more than fair to ask.”

Suppose the debate turns into a humiliating embarrassment for Biden. Democrats might find themselves at Silver’s “there.”

No doubt a boatload of problems confronts any move to get Biden out.

First up is getting Biden to agree to it. A big lift, no doubt. The key figure is First Lady Jill Biden. The word is she loves the power of the executive mansion and won’t let go. But could Biden do so badly that she’d finally concede it’s in his best interest to quit the race?

Another formidable challenge would be denying Kamala Harris the right of succession as the party’s new presidential nominee. The vice president, thanks to her cackling and incomprehensible word salads, has achieved the unenviable status of being even more unpopular than her boss. Still, the conventional wisdom is that the Democrat base of women and black voters might revolt if she’s dumped.

Then, if those two obstacles are overcome, there’s the question of whom the Democrats nominate in the convention of late July? For the first time in decades, a political convention would be must-see TV.

There’s no need here to go into all the names who might jockey for the top job. But Republicans, for all their glee in watching Democrats squirm over Biden’s mental decline, should be very wary of the consequences of seeing him pushed out.

A younger, fresh face on the national scene most likely would be not just welcomed but cheered by millions of voters desperate for something other than what they see as the dreary Biden-Trump choice.

Independents and moderates might well view a new Democrat nominee as a much-needed break from the hyper-partisan, divisive and depressing politics of the past eight years.

That could apply even to candidates Republicans would damn as too liberal and too woke, such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Voters might be willing to overlook that for a much-desired fresh face offering a new direction for the nation. The charismatic Newsom has popped up on Fox News from time to time, demonstrating he’s willing to campaign for votes on the right.

The presidential race would become a whole new ballgame.

Harris is the focus of yet another option getting a little media talk in Washington. This idea would be, keep Biden on the ticket but have Harris drop out, opening the way for a replacement vice presidential nominee better viewed by the voters as a legitimate potential president.

Obviously, the thinking is that whoever is vice president to Biden will end up in the Oval Office eventually, and maybe soon in a second term.

History demonstrates the wisdom of that approach. In 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt dumped Vice President Henry Wallace, an apologist for Soviet communism, and replaced him on the ticket with Harry Truman. Roosevelt was an old man in failing health. He died just a couple of months into his fourth term, and Truman got the top job and won good marks from historians for his tenure.

Of course, there’s always a stupid way to do this. A Washington Post columnist suggested as a replacement for Harris — get this — Hillary Clinton. That’s just what 2024 presidential politics need — another dreary old face from the past.

There you have it, speculation about what might be behind this early debate. Perhaps you can find holes in these musings. Or offer counter arguments why it won’t happen. Or see it as too late in the game.

Or maybe you think this scenario of pushing Biden aside might be too cynical or Machiavellian. If so, let’s revisit a simple truth: The Democrats’ and the hard left’s lust for power and their obsession with destroying Trump know no bounds.

Think of the big lie of Russian collusion they promoted for years to try to cripple Trump’s presidency.   Remember how they co-opted the Covid 19 pandemic to bend and manipulate election laws in state after state to ensure a huge Democrat turnout in the 2020 election.

Recall how they organized 51 former intelligence officers to suppress news media coverage of the infamous Hunter Biden laptop. That contained a record of drinking, doping and whoring that, if widely reported, it might have tipped to Trump some close state races that went to Biden.

And never forget the sorry story of Democrats tossing aside all political norms to prosecute criminally Trump to try to discredit him with the voters. A judge in New York may yet send Trump to jail after his conviction on cooked-up, specious charges.

For Democrats, the ends justify the means.

Of course there’s one possibility I haven’t mentioned.    Maybe the June 27 debate will surprise us all — Biden does well enough to remain a viable candidate, or even shines and boosts his prospects.

The president has exceeded expectations in the past, such as with this year’s State of the Union Address. Could happen again. Trump told the New York Post he thinks Biden’s handlers will “juice him up” with performance enhancing drugs.

Who knows, with low expectations for Biden, maybe he could do well enough that the media would crown him the winner.   Given these crazy political times and the ruthless ambitions of the Democrats, would any of these scenarios coming true surprise you?


Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas, has contributed other pieces to johnkassnews, from an examination of the secret jail for Christopher Columnbus and other politically problematic public art to an essay on Americans suffering from Joe Biden gas pain.

For almost three decades Huntley spent most of his career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages.

Before that he was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern University Press has issued soft cover and eBook editions of Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.

Comments 40

  1. For the Democrats, the band members may change, but they continue playing the same tune. And the clueless voters keep buying the music. Biden will not leave the 2024 race other than by his death. Dr. Jill (Edith Wilson) will not give up her power any other way.

    1. There are two items that stand out in this article. One is Jill Biden and her lust for power. She should be charged with elder abuse for allowing her husband to be made a fool of. Secondly the Democrats will stop at nothing to remain in power and tank our country. I pray common sense is alive and well in November. This will be the dirtiest, most expensive election in history!

    1. Has anyone considered drug tests before the debate. I’d really like to know what they are going to pump Biden full of to keep him conscious for 90 minutes.

  2. I’ve heard that the Dems’ Harris problem could be solved by Sotomayor or Kagan retiring from SCOTUS for health reasons and appointing Harris to it. The Dems have the Senate votes to do it — barely.

  3. 50 bucks says Biden will indeed reprise his State of the Union drug-induced performance. I’m imagining s cocktail of brain stimulating and performance-enhancement drugs.
    He should be drug-tested.

  4. President Biden is preparing for a week with his handlers (as though he has nothing else to do),for a debate that no one will watch except the base of each party. With the baked in low expectations of his ability to make it through the debate with Trump(even with his home team moderators at CNN), all he has to do is stay upright and sling a few soundbites like “convicted felon”. The MSM then will say how unexpectedly well Biden did, show off his soundbites, and talk about all the “disinformation” Trump “spewed”. If he achieves that goal, there will not be a second debate because he will not lower himself to be on stage with a “felon”, and “liar”. If Biden can’t meet this low bar of expectations, Kamala might have to step in because dropping her would lead to a large exit of black and women voters. Another white male put on the top of the ticket would be seen as disparaging of women and POC. Chicago will be very interesting if Biden can’t be the Dems nominee.

  5. Don’t walk, Joe, you might pull a hammy.
    Don’t talk – that makes everyone clammy.
    And don’t leave your station
    And scare the whole nation
    By giving it President Kammy.

  6. Me thinks what may ultimately happen depends how much poop these guys step in to screw themselves. The obvious answer is Biden will babble into the bigger pile. However, Trump needs to get his ego in check and let Biden step into the poop. We all know the who format is as slanted as the crooked as the New York trial. Trump needs to be a goalie keeping the puck out of the net instead of Connor Bedard trying for a 5 goal game. Lay low, let Biden step in it and move on. Honestly, there will probably be no winner in this lest the voter.

    I’ve said for 6 weeks now Biden will get sacked at the convention and probably (and hopefully) take Harris with him. However, there really is no answer to who would be a better candidate seeing as how the Dems are as screwed up as ever have been in beliefs and actions. Newsome is scary, but he is exactly what the current group stands for, so if not him, someone obviously like him.

    Finally “Dr” Jill. First she should lose the doctor title. She’s lost her right to the title. She’s into the power thing, yet you never see her until now, when Joe needs a crutch and a guide dog. She should be ashamed of herself every morning when she looks in the mirror for he treatment of a very ill man. But then the left has zero conscience and she shows how and why.

  7. He needs to be calm, focused and presidential
    This is all about getting people who don’t like him
    He must stress the border and 2 billion Joe spent to pay off those not to build war
    He never traded hostages for killers or anyone
    He devastated Al Queda
    He limited the border crossers
    He believes that climate solutions are not working and the rest of the world is the problem not us
    He got us into no new wars
    He sanctioned Russia and told Germans not to rely on their oil and made NATI pay up
    And not relitigate losses and trials
    Good luck

  8. A turd filled Twinkie would be a “welcomed replacement” to the trailer trash Bidens in the White House. Nevertheless, I expect CNN to contort and gambol like Lynn Sweet trying to get an invite to an Obama barbeque and conclude that Joe Biden is Pericles on steroids.

  9. The Democrats will stop at nothing to get this feeble, incoherent old man re-elected.
    Buried in the not so distant past is how effective Trump actually was as president. This in spite of two sham impeachment attempts on bogus charges that had no chance at a conviction. And now, they rolled out the 34 count criminal indictments by a prosecutor who hates Trump and a trial judge who is a Biden supporter. I, as well as many others, were shocked that it didn’t end in acquittal, or at least a mistrial.
    The worst thing being that the so-called offenses were actually misdemeanors upgraded to felonies for the purpose of putting on a show trial. I voted for Trump twice and will do it again without reservation.
    God save us from Biden, let alone kackling Kamala, who could very likely become president. Think of that. Then it would really be save us.

    1. Yes John you are correct. I grew up in a rough neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. If you got into a beef with someone on the streets you had to start throwing. If they had people you had to fight them too. At the same time. More often than not you were going to get stomped. Sometimes a true badass would manage to win by kicking everyones ass in the fight. One guy fighting on ground with three guys on his back. The guy would beat the guy on the ground and then get up and kick the asses of the ones on his back. A furious battle and miraculous outcome. This explains Trump. All that he accomplished despite the rats on his back tearing into him. The media can’t attack him for his accomplishments since it would only emphasize the battles he had to fight to achieve those. Trump is still fighting the same rats….

  10. When your voting choice is “damned if you do” or “damned if you don’t”, what was written is 110% true:

    “A younger, fresh face on the national scene most likely would be not just welcomed but cheered by millions of voters desperate for something other than what they see as the dreary Biden-Trump choice.”

    Sounds like (some of) the Democrats are smart enough to recognize this and (potentially) do something about it. Are the Republicans, even to play defense to the Dems potentially changing it up let alone going on offense with a better “younger, fresh face”?

    America deserves better than either of these two geriatrics.

  11. No matter how badly Biden does the Cheapfake Media will crow it as a victory. If Biden keels over and dies of a heart attack they will demand Trump be arrested for killing the president. Dont blame the doctor ( is there a Dr. Fauci in the house?) who injects him with enough amphetamine to enable him to win the Kentucky Derby. Yes the debate is win-win for the Democrat party. If they can get two decent soundbites out of Biden before he turns back into a pumpkin, our Cheapfake Media will replay this ad infinitum as proof he’s as sharp as a tack. All they need is a good first half hour of Biden before the drugs start to wane. If Biden starts with his mumbling outbursts or drops dead the Democrats get rid of him. Merrick Garlands Stasi will then take Trump into custody and charge him with killing Biden. Now they’ve gotten rid of Trump too. Either way it’s a win-win for them. Yes, I know this sounds farfetched but what is farfetched anymore?

  12. As long as Biden stays on the script, doesn’t fall down or wander off, and can put two or three sentences together that make some sort of sense in English, he’ll be proclaimed the winner of the debates by a large margin by all the MSM. They will also point to his brilliant debate performance as total refutation of any idea he is too old, too feeble and too senile to continue as POTUS. I don’t care for his politics, but Stephen King is correct, these debates are the “Antiques Roadshow, Presidential Version.” I believe that the Dems want Trump to run as desperately as the GOP wants Biden to be the candidate. Either way, our country is in deep, deep trouble.

  13. Thanks for a great, succinct article Steve

    I am of the opinion that Grampa’s handlers have been gradually “easing off the accelerator” of his drug regimen. It is obvious (at least to me) as his questionable behavior has been shown by his fawning media more often than usual.

    PS – Steve, my conscience would not gorgive me if I didn’t tell you that Many Dominican nuns from my past and I cringed at, “…tossing aside all political norms to prosecute criminally Trump to try to discredit him…”. And it appeared in the same paragraph with the glorious word “specious” aptly applied!

    Criminally yours,
    Jim S.

  14. The early debate date is a win-win for the Democrats. If Biden wins the debate or even ties, they’ve got their nominee. They will milk that til the teat runs dry. If he falls on his face, he’s done. He gets replaced –don’t worry how. Their worries about Biden are over. Anybody will be better than Biden. In the end Biden or not will not matter. Trump will win in a landslide Trump cannot be beaten this time around by TrumpHate–the polls clearly show that all the indictments, convictions, or even jail time really do not matter to voters.

  15. Look at the opposite side. Why would Trump agree to a debate on Democratic Hard Left wing friendly CNN? CNNs questioners will loudly stamp the “convicted felon” line of questioning and do all they can to damage Trump.

    If Trump outwits his appointed executioners, does he think November is a fait accompli?

    The debate isn’t between Trump and Biden, it’s between Trump and the media.

  16. Steve,
    Interesting synopsis of the current playing field of politics. Just what we needed, a roid-juiced up head of state struggling to remain coherent and relavant for an hour or two in front of the media – as the world watches….and laughs at us. I’ve lived a long time, and have never seen such evil people in the dem (aka socialist) party, starting with Obama, who brought with him “the Chicago Way” of underhanded dealing to D.C. Not that Washington needed any tutors to stoop even lower, but Obama showed them all just how the game is played, how to crush your adversaries, and engage every branch of government, including the DOJ, to do your bidding. We need a deep cleaning of the deep state, and Trump’s probably the only candidate for the job, cause he knows where all the bodies are buried, and has learned the hard way. Can’t play nice anymore. Time to take the gloves off and clean house….let us pray….

  17. Biden is in seclusion at Camp David for the next week, where he will be programmed over and over talking points to parrot, likely ignoring any attacks from Trump, and even any retorts from the likely friendly CNN moderators. This is doable, even for someone with moderate dementia. When you strip out commercial breaks, and Trump’s time, Biden only needs to speak for about 35 minutes. My guess is the strategy will work, and Biden will be deemed fit for a second term.

  18. If Biden can stick to the script his handlers give him with memorized answers about the border, inflation, Israel, and Ukraine, etc., then yes, he will win the debate. If however, he falters and can’t remember what he is supposed to say, then the country will get a real look at him and Trump wins the debate

  19. Good column covering all sides of the issue which is rare these days.
    My prediction is the “legacy media” will declare Biden the winner no matter how he performs.
    Another prediction, CNN and the democrats will do anything they can to choreograph the debate to help Biden and make Trump look bad.
    Sorry to be so negative but Biden’s handlers are desperate.

  20. A factor not yet discussed is the following:
    Questions CNN will ask Pres. Trump: Who won in 2020? Abortion? January 6? Abortion? 34 Felony Convictions? Abortion?
    Questions CNN will NOT ask Pres. Biden: Afghanistan? Lying about family money from China? Lying about Hunter’s laptop? Unconstitutional Loan forgiveness? An open border? Unconstitutional Illegal immigration Amnesty? Lying about inflation?
    Will the responses [whatever they will be] affect the polls? CNN will seek to aid/protect President Biden, but will that help or hurt?

  21. I see this debate from a different angle:

    1. I am hoping that Trump DOES NOT DESTROY Biden in this debate. I think a tactic of winning the debate on the issues, without personal attacks, and actually pulling Dementia Joe across the finish line next week, where he gives Dems a feeling of some satisfaction, could be the Republicans best tactic. This debate was scheduled now simply to see if Joe can go the distance in November – make them believe he can.

    2. After the Democratic Convention, assuming Biden gets the DNC nomination, you start to really play hard ball the next day. I cannot picture Dementia Joe not falling all over himself on a daily basis and Trump can continue to sell to voters on the fence (specifically your Hispanic and Black voters) that this party is doing nothing to improve their future. The Dems have moved on from the minority vote as they are importing the illegals in order to bring in these new voters to replace everyone they lost over the last 4 years.

    3. Do not be naive to think that work is being done to get proper documentation in these illegal hands to vote, standing over them as they check the box on their mail in ballots. I believe they are buying all their new visitors votes with aa free living – otherwise it goes away if you don’t vote democratic.

    4. Trump is better off running against this poor excuse of a current President. My concern is that Biden “craps the bed” on stage next week, the Dems get what they want in moving him out, and Michelle O’Bama is convinced to take the nomination and let the “Democratic Savior” Barack O’Bama run this country from behind the curtain for his wife. The young voters love this guy and they love her – she can sell the young and female voters.

    This country needs Biden to get to the finish line – then vote him out in November. Help him next week if you want an easier time this fall.

  22. You got the scenario right Steve, but not the whole story. Biden will indeed be on stage that night, in a fight to prove his competency and “clear” superiority as Commander in Chief. But if he performs as most of America expects him to, and completely fails or blanks out, then the Democrats will need to do something, and do it quickly. That night, as Biden is led down a backstage hallway, away from cameras and crowds, a slight bump, a quick twist, or a misplaced foot, and Biden will fall down. Bonus points for hitting his head and drawing blood. A hip fracture, possibly surgery in the days ahead, tests may even indicate a previously undetected heart ailment. He needs to concentrate on his health, he will need to recover. The nation needs someone full-time to lead our great nation, and he will reluctantly, but in the name of good government, hand the presidency over to Vice President Kamala Harris. Jill will agree, this is the right thing to do, and will save face from having to declare her husband incompetent. Kamala Harris will step in to become what she desperately wants, the first woman President, the first Woman of Color President Without Having To Go Through A Campaign And Justify Herself. Biden’s embarrassing and poor debate performance will not be an issue, but indeed a possible hint that he was “unwell” that night. There will be a little time to see how President Harris plays out in the public’s eyes while back room maneuvering for replacements continue.
    Then again, Biden may do really well at the debate. Ha!

  23. Doesn’t matter who wins either “grab em by pussy’ porno screwing Orange Man or the patient with dementia. The deep state runs the country. Forever wars waged by Dems and GOP.

  24. Great article Mr. Huntley. As a person who could never vote for Trump, I wish Biden would drop out. But if not, I think it’s in the best interest of the country to have as many debates as possible, and the earlier the better!

    1. It’s simple. The only way to deprive Kamala is at the convention. SCENARIO: POTUS has a disaster debate and then behind the scenes Dems pick a new candidate and VP. They hold a pretend open convention. There are any number of Dem governors available including Newsome or Jelly Belly Prickster.
      The Dems would not want Kamala leading ticket!
      She’d be washed away in history with Dan Quale and that ignoramus Alaska governor.

  25. Pure speculation here, but here goes…
    The Dems force Biden to step down, but make it look like he’s simply doing so because he wants to spend his remaining years as a “family man”. The message has to come from Biden though and who could argue a man making that decision
    They then tell Kamala, you will never get our support but if you walk away gracefully, we’ll give you the ambassadorship/Ivy league position of your choice.
    The question then becomes, who do they roll out there.
    Newsom’s image has been tarnished as of late, but he has Silicon Valley in his back pocket and that’s pretty much all you need these days. If he picks Michele Obama as his running mate, there is no way Trump wins.

  26. Couple of quick comments. First, I think Biden may do well in the debate. Second, too many seem to think Trump will win. “Look at the polls”. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American electorate. Biden could have a second term. Just look at Chicago. And remember 2022. The Red wave🙄

  27. Interesting take.

    Assuming this is correct – it would be in Trumps best interest to delay the debate, perhaps at the last minute. Imagine Trump suggesting the following 2 days before the debate: “RFK Jr. should be in the debate as well, or the debate should be postponed until a month after every state begins its ballot-selection process so that Americans supporting RFK Jr. can be represented in the debate. Our political system shouldn’t shut-out RFK Jr. supporters the way it shut-out Bernie Sanders supporters in 2016”.

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