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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Why Biden Ran

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.  It is a fight between two very old men.

In light of  Biden's poor debate performance, many political observers are wondering why he ran in the first place.

Peter Baker at NYT:

If any of the president’s advisers has ever addressed Mr. Biden’s age with him in a forthright way, they have not acknowledged it. According to recent interviews with dozens of his closest aides and friends, the president engaged in no organized process outside of his family in deciding to run for a second term.

None of the advisers described a meeting or a memo that outlined pros and cons of a re-election campaign that might have addressed the consequences of age. None said they discouraged him from running or, for that matter, discussed how to address his age if he did. Instead, he simply told them to assume he was running unless he decided otherwise.

Such a conversation would be painfully difficult for presidential aides. There is something fundamentally different about raising such a personal issue with a boss as opposed to impersonal factors like battleground states, polling or policy questions.

Mr. Biden’s closest current and former aides, like Ron Klain, Anita Dunn, Jeffrey D. Zients, Steve Ricchetti, Mike Donilon, Jen O’Malley Dillon and Bruce Reed, deeply admire and respect the president. They would not want to hurt him and they see the best in him, according to fellow Democrats.

“He’s famous for having really, really loyal people,” Ms. [Elaine] Kamarck said. “He’s like a father to Ron Klain. What do you say to your father? This is tough, very tough.”


Indeed, given his age and experience, Mr. Biden has few people he truly sees as peers, as much as anyone could be a peer to a president. His relations with Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama are complicated, and some Biden advisers said he would bristle if either of those former presidents had told him last year not to run or told him now to think about dropping out. Most of the senators Mr. Biden served with for so many years, the ones whose opinions he valued, are largely gone. Ted Kaufman, his close friend and longtime aide who succeeded him in the Senate, has been one of the most supportive of a re-election bid.