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Jul 1, 2024, 8:58am EDT
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Semafor Signals

Biden camp rallies around him despite growing step-down calls

Insights from Politico, Semafor, The New York Times, and CNN

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Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters
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The News

Senior Democrats and family members of US President Joe Biden rallied behind him after his disappointing performance at the first presidential debate against Donald Trump last week.

The debate generated a wave of calls from leading figures to find an alternative Democratic presidential candidate amid intensifying questions about Biden’s fitness to run, as polls indicated that the event also undermined voter confidence in the president’s candidacy. But key Biden allies, including former President Barack Obama, spoke out in support of his bid for a second term.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Democrats lack good alternatives

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Sources:  
The New Yorker, The Guardian, Politico

Even though Biden is a “bad” candidate, he’s a better option than “the chaos of the unknown,” The New Yorker argued, saying the Democrats lacked strong contenders. Citing an amended version of a popular football maxim, the outlet added that “if you have five or six backup quarterbacks, you have none.” In a Morning Consult poll released after the debate, a majority of voters said they’d want Biden replaced, but lacked clarity on a suitable alternative. California Governor Gavin Newsom, tapped by analysts as a potential replacement for Biden, has defended the president since the debate and said he wouldn’t challenge his candidacy.

Family’s role is crucial in determining Biden’s political future

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Source:  
CNN

Biden’s family members will determine his political future, CNN argued, more so than his “famously insular” group of inner advisers. The former have so far offered “unequivocal support” to the president as they gathered at Camp David after the debate, the outlet added, shifting the blame for his poor performance at the debate to some of his advisers. But The New York Times reported sources saying that the president and the first lady were not critical or upset with campaign staffers, especially as Biden is known for being loyal to his close advisers, CNN added.

Attempts to unite in support around Biden are ‘at best incomplete’

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Sources:  
Politico, Semafor

While Biden’s inner circle and close allies came out in his support, the “despair and frustration are real” among Democrats, Politico wrote, and attempts to “circle the wagons around Biden are at best incomplete.” As Semafor’s Benjy Sarlin notes today, there’s a “visible split” between supporters who are still enthusiastic about Biden and those who are “speaking in conditionals.” Some rank-and-file Democrats, in particular, are blaming the Biden family for not acknowledging the reality of his condition. “It’s just his egotism and his family’s enabling,” a House Democrat told Politico.

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