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In this edition, Joe Biden drops out of the 2024 race, Wall Street Democrats back Kamala Harris, and͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 
rotating globe
July 22, 2024


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Today in D.C.
  1. Dems back Harris
  2. Wall Street donors line up
  3. What’s next
  4. Harris on the issues
  5. Global takes on Biden
  6. GOP reaction
  7. Must reads
  8. Secret Service director testifies

PDB: House Majority Forward throws $17M+ behind House candidates in swing district push

Netanyahu heads to Washington … Taiwan begins annual war gamesPolitico: Inside the Dem reboot


Harris is the favorite for the Democratic nomination

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw from the presidential race — under sustained and growing Democratic pressure — has massively shaken up the 2024 election. The president backed Vice President Harris as his replacement on the ticket, and she quickly earned endorsements from powerful Democrats, including the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Jim Clyburn, while some others, including Barack Obama, held back their nod. Harris — who said it’s her “intention is to earn and win this nomination” — could still face other challengers, although Gretchen Whitmer and Wes Moore have reportedly taken themselves out of the running, while Gavin Newsom, Pete Buttigieg, and Josh Shapiro quickly endorsed her. Newsom’s decision will likely disappoint supporters who were circulating a polling memo making the case he’d be a stronger nominee than Harris, Semafor’s Ben Smith reported.

Any Democrats with presidential ambitions will now need to decide whether they are willing to put those aside for four to eight years, or whether they might instead vie for the vice presidential nomination. “They’re going to be weighing timing and opportunity,” Michael Thorning, director of structural democracy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told Semafor. One big name who might take the plunge: independent Sen. Joe Manchin, who sources say is considering re-registering as a Democrat in order to vie for the nomination. As for the general election, Trump is sending mixed messages on whether he’ll debate whoever emerges from the convention.


Wall Street donors back Harris

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Wall Street’s Democrats are lining up behind Vice President Harris “with a mixture of relief and genuine enthusiasm for a politician many of them supported in 2020,” Semafor’s Liz Hoffman writes. Several donors said Sunday they were prepared to break out checkbooks after pausing donations following President Biden’s halting June 27 debate performance. Among some big names expected to write checks for Harris: Centerview’s Blair Effron, Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray, Lazard’s Peter Orszag and Ray McGuire, Paul Weiss’ Brad Karp, and Evercore’s Roger Altman. “100% in,” one donor told Liz. Some, however, are looking for an open convention, Bloomberg reports, though George Soros is backing Harris for the nomination.


What happens now?

Leah Millis/File Photo/Reuters

Democrats are going where no party has gone before, replacing their presumptive nominee just weeks before their convention. Despite some conservative legal threats, there should be little issue getting the eventual choice on state ballots — deadline conflicts with the Aug. 19 convention were resolved weeks ago. The nominee will need 1,968 of 3,933 delegates elected in primaries this year — all but 37 pledged to Biden, and now freed. (Another 739 “superdelegates” can only vote on a second ballot.) On Sunday afternoon, speculation about a potential Harris running mate focused on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly. Cooper is not running for reelection; Beshear and Shapiro would be succeeded by their Democratic lieutenant governors; Kelly’s replacement would be picked by Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and serve until a new election in November 2026.

— David Weigel


Where Harris stands on key issues

REUTERS/Nicole Neri/File Photo

Voters already have a taste of what a Harris administration would look like from her record in the Biden administration, in the Senate, and as California’s attorney general. Harris has been a leading voice for the Biden administration’s advocacy for abortion rights and voting rights, and spearheaded efforts to address the root causes of migration. She ran to Biden’s left on environmental issues as a candidate in 2020, proposing a $10 trillion climate deal and backing the Green New Deal, while initially backing Medicare for All before proposing a slightly less far-reaching plan later on. Harris has also been a major proponent of student debt relief. On trade, she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and voted against the Trump-era US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, she introduced legislation to ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants, reform qualified immunity, and establish a national standard for use of force. At the same time, she has faced criticism from progressives for her prosecutorial record in California, which included defending the state’s death penalty.


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How the world is reacting to Biden’s move

Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters

President Biden’s decision to not seek reelection was met with an outpouring of support from leaders in Europe and Israel. Israeli President Isaac Herzog praised Biden for his “friendship and steadfast support for the Israeli people,” while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on X that Biden “supported our country during the most dramatic moment in history.” British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said he respects Biden’s decision, and that the American president has had a “remarkable career.” Nigel Farage, meanwhile, wrote on X that “whoever they pick, [Donald] Trump will win in November.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz commended Biden for strengthening transatlantic cooperation and NATO. Europeans increasingly worried about a Trump victory — and a White House more hostile to NATO and to funding Ukraine’s fight against Russia — may be relieved at the decision. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called for “an investigation into collusion between the American media and political circles to cover up the truth about his mental condition” in a Telegram post.


How the Dem shakeup is playing in GOP circles

Tom Brenner/Reuters

Top Republicans reacted to Biden’s move by calling on him to resign from office now, Semafor’s Shelby Talcott reports. “If Joe Biden is not fit to run for President, he is not fit to serve as President. He must resign the office immediately,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement. Trump campaign managers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles echoed the call in a statement calling Biden “a national security threat in great cognitive decline.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., dismissed those calls as “shameful baloney,” per Politico. Biden’s withdrawal from the race presents challenges for the Trump campaign, which was completely built around the expectation of a rematch with Biden, The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta wrote earlier this month. Trump’s running mate, JD Vance, quickly pivoted to attacking Harris by accusing her of cosigning “Biden’s open border and green scam policies” and “[lying] for nearly four years about Biden’s mental capacity.”


Must reads on Biden bowing out

Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

The 24 days it took for President Biden to drop out of the race will be shown by history to be a dramatic correction to the Democratic Party’s course in rapid time, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait writes. The Washington Post describes how Biden’s self-confidence grew from beating the odds, which helps explain why he resisted leaving the race as long as he did. His political career spanned Richard Nixon’s resignation, the rise of international terrorism, wars in Afghanistan, and the election of the first Black president, Barack Obama. That long political career has been marked by “a style of retail politics and behind-the-scenes dealmaking that in his presidency was often at odds with the frenzy and shrillness of today’s social media,” The Wall Street Journal notes. And Axios summed up his term as “more ambitious and progressive” than expected, pointing to infrastructure, climate, and tech spending, as well as the appointment of more than 200 judges.


Secret Service director faces lawmakers

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle will face a grilling from lawmakers about the agency’s massive failure to protect Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania rally. In his opening statement, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer will describe the Secret Service as the “face of incompetence.” “It is my firm belief, Director Cheatle, that you should resign,” he will say. “However — in complete defiance — Director Cheatle has maintained she will not tender her resignation. Therefore, she will answer questions today from Members of this Committee seeking to provide clarity to the American people about how these events were allowed to transpire.” Rep. Brendan Boyle became the first congressional Democrat to demand Cheatle’s resignation over the weekend. Lawmakers will likely focus on reporting from The Washington Post that the agency repeatedly denied requests made by Trump’s security detail for more resources over the past two years.


Beltway Newsletters

Punchbowl News: Democratic leaders in Congress are “sensitive to the criticism that this could turn out to be a coronation of [Kamala] Harris by party bosses without any input from voters or other key stakeholders.”

Playbook: In his conversation with President Biden on July 13, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “delivered a personal appeal that focused on three points: the Biden legacy, the future of the country, and the impact on Congress. He urged him to think about the Supreme Court,” a person familiar with the meeting said.

Axios: Biden held off on dropping out partly because he wasn’t sure Harris could beat Donald Trump, but grim polling data ultimately changed his mind. “No one was able to produce data points that showed him winning,” said a Democratic insider. “They tried everything. There was no path.”

White House

  • President Biden placed phone calls to “a number of Members of Congress, governors, and supporters” on Sunday after he announced plans to withdraw from the race, the White House said. He and Vice President Harris spoke multiple times before he announced the decision, a person familiar with the conversations said.
  • Harris spent Sunday placing calls to over 100 party leaders, lawmakers, governors, labor leaders, and advocacy and civil rights group leaders, according to a person familiar with her activities.
  • Biden’s COVID-19 symptoms have “improved significantly” and is continuing on Paxlovid, his doctor Kevin O’Connor wrote in an update Sunday.
  • Harris will deliver remarks today at an event on the South Lawn celebrating the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams.


  • House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green is leading a bipartisan visit to Donald Trump’s July 13 campaign rally site in Butler, Pa. this morning as part of an investigation into security lapses surrounding the event.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson said on CNN that he would lay out details of the task force he is convening to investigate the Secret Service’s mishandling of security at the rally at some point today.
  • Sen. JD Vance, the GOP nominee for vice president, was seen by the State Department as its biggest barrier to getting dozens of career ambassadors confirmed by the Senate with his questionnaire on such issues as gay rights, gender transition care, and diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring practices. — WaPo
  • Longtime Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, died Friday from pancreatic cancer at 74.


Airlines were still struggling to restore their operations after a faulty software update wreaked havoc worldwide on Friday and continued to result in flight cancellations through the weekend.


In recent polls, Vice President Harris trails Donald Trump 46% to 48%, but that’s better than President Biden, who trailed the former president by three percentage points, 44% to 47%. In swing state polling, which was conducted before Biden announced his withdrawal and the July 13 attempted assassination of Trump, Harris was down just one percentage point in Pennsylvania. However, she was winning in Virginia by five points. In those states, Harris was slightly stronger than Biden among Black voters, women, and younger voters.

On the Trail

  • Vice President Harris raised $49.6 million in grassroots donations since her campaign launch.
  • House Majority Forward, the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Democratic super PAC House Majority, is dedicating more than $12 million in television ads across 20 media markets along with $4.5 million in digital and direct mail advertising focused on swing districts in New York, California, Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Colorado, Semafor’s Kadia Goba reports.
  • Members of the Democratic National Committee are circulating a letter urging delegates to support Harris as the party’s nominee for president at the convention next month, Semafor’s Kadia Goba reported. Meanwhile, the “overwhelming majority” of 50 Democratic state chairs have backed Harris to be the party’s nominee, the Association of State Democratic Committees said in a statement.
  • At the 19th, Errin Haines is salivating over the possibility of a two-woman ticket that will make Democrats “fall in love and fall in line.”
  • Donald Trump told a rally Saturday he received a “beautiful note” from Chinese President Xi Jinping after the recent attempt on his life.

National Security

  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has named a bipartisan independent panel to review the attempt on Donald Trump’s life earlier this month.
  • The FBI recently recovered a drone apparently used by the 20-year-old gunman to scope out Trump’s Pennsylvania rally site ahead of the July 13 shooting. — AP

Foreign Policy

  • Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said his country needs long-range weapons to defend its cities and forces on the frontline from Russian bomb and drone attacks.
  • Zelenskyy and Donald Trump spoke Friday, with both sides saying they were satisfied with the conversation.


The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Southwest Airlines jetliner that flew very low over Tampa Bay last week, the latest in a series of incidents with the carrier that are raising safety concerns.


Hunter Biden dropped his lawsuit against Fox News over its fictionalized miniseries that he alleged used explicit images of him without his approval.

Big Read

When pro-Palestinian demonstrations spread across campuses in the spring, college administrators varied widely in their responses; some negotiated and others sent in the police. A New York Times analysis shows protesters at more than 70 schools across at least 30 states were detained. Since then, charges against many have been dropped, even as others have had their diplomas withheld or been barred from campus. Some schools were disappointed with decisions not to pursue charges. “Actions that violate laws and institutional rules should be met with consequences,” University of Texas at Austin spokesperson Mike Rosen said.


Stories that are being largely ignored by either left-leaning or right-leaning outlets, curated with help from our partners at Ground News.

What the Left isn’t reading: Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to ease concerns about Donald Trump’s injuries and health after the July 13 assassination attempt. He told CNN on Friday that he thought the former president “is in the clear, as far as I can see,” adding that the wound to Trump’s ear appears to be “superficial.”

What the Right isn’t reading: Trump’s favorability rose to 40% in a week that included an attempt on his life and the Republican National Committee, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll. However, some 51% view him unfavorably.

Principals Team

Editors: Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann, Morgan Chalfant

Reporters: Kadia Goba, Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Shelby Talcott, David Weigel

One Good Text

Cody Sargent is communications director for Heritage Action.