Lorcan Nyhan: More mistakes from Joe Biden are inevitable, and so is Kamala Harris’s ascent

7th Jul 2024
Share this blog post:

Originally published in the Sunday Independent.

Last Thursday, a week on from his calamitous CNN debate performance, Joe Biden gave an interview to WURD radio in Philadelphia. The interview was part of an on-going clean up job: attempts by his campaign to calm Democratic fears that the US president is no longer up to the task of taking on Donald Trump.

But during it, he garbled a few points together and ultimately said he was proud to have been “the first black woman to serve with a black president”.

This kind of word salad happens in media interviews all the time; two distinct thoughts accidentally merge and incoherence is the result. It wouldn’t even be noted for another candidate. They’d be given the benefit of the doubt.

But for Biden, it received a full story in The New York Times. That’s just one example of what should now be the accepted reality, which is Joe Biden’s debate performance has made it nearly impossible for him to win November’s US presidential election.

Voters have decided that he’s slipped, and that his age-related performance issues are disqualifying for the role of president.

As of this week, 79pc of independent voters view him as simply too old to do the job.

The debate performance can’t be walked back.

So now every single speech, every single verbal error, every single trailing thought will be examined under a microscope and will bring back up the question of his fitness for office.

This will keep happening. Interview after interview, rally after rally. Biden will make a mistake, coverage will be dominated by the error and voters will be unable to focus on the issues.

Given these slips are inevitable, it’ll make it impossible for Biden to regain any sort of momentum. Momentum he desperately needs given he’s now six points behind Trump with likely voters, according to New York Times post-debate polling.

He’s also losing in every swing state and even now is in trouble in New Mexico, a state Democrats haven’t lost since 2008.

Click here for the fill article.