US election: should Biden bow out?

After Joe Biden's weak performance in the televised debate with Donald Trump and gaffes at the Nato summit, calls for him to withdraw from the US presidential race are growing louder. Current polls put the incumbent behind Trump. Despite Biden's repeated avowals that he won't step aside, the debate in Europe's press continues.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Grab the media spotlight with a fresh candidate

There are also advantages to switching, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The Democrats still have time to turn things around and prepare for a heated election campaign against Trump in the autumn. A fresh candidate represents a real opportunity for the Democrats in this dark hour of the party's history. From now until and including the Democratic National Convention in Chicago they could dominate the American public space. On television and online, committed and younger Democrats would debate which of them can defeat Trump. A so-called 'wild party convention' would become the most exciting show of the season. On the other hand the Republicans, with their well-known candidate, would suddenly struggle to make the headlines - the currency that Donald Trump is so fond of dealing in.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

Stop ageism

The Irish Independent is incensed that Joe Biden is only judged by his verbal skills:

“Why must we demand that older leaders be 'razor-sharp', particularly in relation to their presentation skills? An accommodating society recognises that people speak and behave in different ways. Sure, Biden sometimes trips over his thoughts or sounds less than slick in his speech, but these are peripheral concerns. It's OK for older people to speak less fluently than younger people or to take time with their thoughts. Just because an older person speaks slightly falteringly or more slowly doesn't mean that person isn't able to make important decisions.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Complete failure of political leadership culture

The lack of alternatives reveals a larger dimension of failure, La Repubblica explains:

“For now, the problem concerns the sadly pathetic and exhausted figure of Joe Biden. More generally, however, it defines the essential character of a political leadership that is up to its task. True leaders should work from day one of their term of office to prepare for their succession, make their group independent of their own individual actions and pass on the most fruitful sense of legacy. In this sense, the obvious failure of a leadership such as Biden's is an indictment not only of the individual and his closest entourage, but of an entire party and an entire political culture.”

Echo (RU) /

Trump already attacking Harris

In a Telegram post picked up by Echo, US-based journalist Karina Orlova predicts that Biden will withdraw:

“An avalanche has begun that will sweep away Biden's candidacy and/or even his presidency. ... The dissenters in his own camp are likely to grow in number in the coming days, with lawmakers and private donors signalling that they may publicly call on Biden to withdraw by the end of the week. They say they want to avoid disrupting the Nato summit currently taking place in Washington and are giving Biden time to make the move himself. The Republicans and Trump are already in a tizzy. Biden is still president, but Trump is already attacking Kamala Harris.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Stronger than expected

Backing for Biden is picking up again, De Volkskrant observes:

“Biden's steadfastness is showing many Democrats that the president cannot simply be knocked out of the field. Democrats who want to get rid of him acknowledge that there is no elegant way of doing this. According to insiders, the debate about Biden's candidacy has taken a different direction mainly because the otherwise rather critical wing of the Democratic Party is now supporting him again. ... It's possible that this group sees Joe Biden as more progressive than those who are being discussed as alternative candidates, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Governors Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Better late than never

Biden has no choice but to step down, La Stampa argues:

“America is celebrating its Independence Day today. For its president, this Fourth of July is a confrontation with reality. Not with the challenge posed by Donald Trump ... But with his supporters, who no longer believe he can win. His friends are calling on him to withdraw, his enemies hope he'll stay in the race. Even more than the unfavourable poll figures, which could change in the next five months, this shift in sentiment forces him to ask himself whether as a statesman he should take the painful step of withdrawing, as Lyndon B. Johnson did in 1968, or come to terms with the sad epilogue of one of the best US presidencies of recent decades in November.”

Expresso (PT) /

Trump would become the guarantor of stability

Replacing Biden now would be very risky for the Democrats, Expresso explains:

“His replacement is technically possible, but in addition to being contingent on Biden agreeing to step aside it would be so disruptive that it would hardly be possible without provoking major rifts within the Democratic Party that could jeopardise the political legitimacy of the election. And that is no small matter when you're fighting a candidate who's prepared to question the legitimacy of the election itself. Moreover, it would turn Trump into a symbol of stability. The question is why the Democrats didn't realise sooner that re-electing a very frail 81-year-old man was a colossal risk.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Michelle Obama could save the day

It's time to think about a new US political dynasty, Lidové noviny writes:

“Roosevelt, Bush, Clinton - these are the names that have stood for dynasties so far. Now that their candidate Joe Biden has suffered a disastrous defeat in a presidential debate, the desperate Democrats are looking for an ideal replacement. Will the Obamas come to the rescue? Will Michelle Obama be persuaded to run for office despite her lifelong hatred of politics? She certainly has a chance of success.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Over to you, Vice President!

Harris would have good chances of beating Trump, Iltalehti believes:

“In addition to the campaign funds there are several arguments in Harris's favour. She could campaign on Biden's achievements and, as a good speaker, she would be able to articulate Biden's successes and highlight how they're reflected in the everyday lives of Americans. As a former prosecutor, Harris could directly attack Trump's weak point, namely his criminal conviction. She could also attack Trump on the abortion issue and women's rights, which Biden failed to do in the debate even though everyone knows this is Trump's and the Republicans' Achilles heel. Polls show that Americans would be willing to vote for anyone other than Biden or Trump.”