Search Results

I’M SURE THEY WANT TO PULL A TORRICELLI, BUT IT’S TOUGH: Could Democrats replace Biden as their nominee?

Both parties have moved away from the era when insiders in proverbial smoke-filled rooms could be kingmakers at the national conventions, and Biden has dominated every primary he’s competed in thus far. . . .

Still, the DNC Charter does make provisions in case the party’s nominee is incapacitated or opts to step aside, and an anti-Biden coup at the convention is theoretically possible, if highly unlikely. So how would it work?

Biden has said he will remain in the race and there is no indication otherwise, but the only plausible scenario for Democrats to get a new nominee would be for Biden to decide to withdraw.

He could do so while serving out the remainder of his term in the White House, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1968.

If Biden were to drop out between now and August, it would most likely create a free-for-all at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

If Biden calls it quits before he wins the majority of the Democratic delegates, it likely wouldn’t make a difference. Any new candidate who tried to enter the race would be unlikely to get on enough of the remaining ballots and therefore couldn’t win enough delegates.

Ultimately the decision would likely come down to the convention delegates who were initially pledged to Biden.

It takes a majority of the roughly 4,000 pledged delegates to win the party’s nomination. Under recent reforms, the party’s more than 700 superdelegates — Democratic lawmakers and dignitaries — are allowed to vote only if no one wins a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot, so their votes could be crucial in a contested convention.

Related: “Jill Biden and his other advisers come up with ways to obscure signs of senescence — from shorter news conferences to almost zero print interviews to TV interviews mainly with fawning MSNBC anchors…. [T]he Biden crew clearly has no plan for how to deal with the president’s age except to shield him and hide him and browbeat reporters who point out that his mental state… is a genuine issue.”

But it is, and they can’t hide it anymore.

It was an issue in 2020 too, but they could hide it. Flashback: The ‘cabal’ that bragged of foisting Joe Biden on us must answer for his failed presidency.

IT’S CALLED “PULLING A TORRICELLI.” Democrats have no Biden backup plan for 2024, despite age concerns. My prediction is that he’ll drop out late, and the nominee will be picked in a (formerly) smoke-filled room. This time the scent will be oat milk lattes, but otherwise it’s the same story. This is why they’re building up Newsom.

BOB TORRICELLI IS PREPARED TO PARACHUTE IN AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE: SC Democrats call on their party’s US Senate nominee to quit.

The South Carolina Democrat vying to oust Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is facing calls from within her own party to fold her campaign, following the publication of additional leaked audio in which she appears to make disparaging remarks about her constituents.

The calls for state Rep. Krystle Matthews to withdraw just two months ahead of the general election came Thursday in reaction to leaked audio published by conservative activist group Project Veritas of Matthews speaking to one of its members, without her knowledge.

Sitting in a restaurant, Matthews, who is Black, is heard saying that she represents a “mostly white” district, adding, of white voters: “I keep them right here — like under my thumbs. … Otherwise, they get out of control — like kids.”

In a statement, Matthews acknowledged her voice on the recording, calling Project Veritas a “satirical MAGA Powered news outlet.”

The compilation also features more of Matthews’ conversation, parts of which were previously published by Project Veritas, in which she spoke to an inmate about funding her campaign with “dope boy money” and having Democrats run as Republicans, saying “secret sleepers” represent “the only way you’re gonna change the dynamics in South Carolina.”

As Michael Graham wrote in 2004 after Frank Lautenberg was swapped in to replace Bob Torricelli on the Democrats’ Senate ticket in NJ, “Don’t assume you know who’s on the Democratic ticket until Election Day.”

“WE LIVE SUBMERGED AT THE BOTTOM OF AN OCEAN OF AIR”:  On this day in 1608, Evangelista Torricelli, physicist, mathematician, and inventor of the barometer was born.

NOT-SO-READY FOR HILLARY AFTER ALL? Democrats’ Dumping of Torricelli Could Be Blueprint for What Happens to Hillary.

Hillary Clinton’s mounting political — and possibly legal — problems over her e-mail server led me to write a column speculating that Democrats might move to install Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee if her poll numbers tank between now and the Democratic convention in late July. Biden might be joined on the ticket by fiery progressive senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in an effort to placate furious backers of Senator Bernie Sanders.

If I were a Bernie backer, that wouldn’t placate me.

MICKEY KAUS wonders if it’s too late for the Torricelli option. I don’t think things are that bad for Kerry — his campaign has no problems that he couldn’t fix with some straight talk.

THE OTHER SHOE: I suppose this explains why Torricelli finally decided to resign.

HERE’S THE TEXT of the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that allows Torricelli to be replaced on the ballot. Here’s a link to the New York Times story, here’s one to the Washington Post’s report, and here’s one to the Philadelphia Inquirer story. Based on a quick read, I don’t have much to say about the opinion except that I don’t see why the “two party system” deserves such legal stature.

Eugene Volokh also has little to say in response to such a sketchy opinion. Solly Ezekiel rules out partisan bias.

UPDATE: Volokh has more now. Read it!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Orrin Judd says the New Jersey Democrats should have suffered for not picking Cory Booker.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Mickey Kaus sums up the opinion this way:

I would add that the court doesn’t appear to have made any effort to discern a statutory scheme here. The operative rule seems to be: “We’re going to do what we think is right unless there’s an incredibly clear black-letter statute saying we can’t. And then we can always declare it unconstitutional.” Does the elected legislature have any role to play here at all? (It’s ironic that the court pays such attention to finding what it thinks is the most democratic way to pick a lawmaker, even as it brushes aside the actual work-product of those democratically-elected lawmakers, namely statutes.)

Well said. Tony Adragna adds this observation:

I don’t see how those interests couldn’t have been served by simply leaving Torricelli on the ballot notwithstanding that he’s a loser — that he’s a loser threatens not the two party system. limits not participation, the party had a candidate on the ballot — chosen through the primary process — and “most importantly” voters still had a choice on Election Day… hmmm… I think this ruling is bad law….

There’s more.

Tom Maguire is unhappy, and so is IMAO. On the other hand, Jonathan Adler, whose post on this yesterday at The Corner seems to have hit pretty close to the mark, emails that the decision isn’t out of character for New Jersey courts in election disputes: “There’s a bunch of New Jersey case law on stretching election law to ensure voter ‘choice’ on the ballot.” Yeah, but if they really cared about voter choice, they’d have a line for “none of the above.”

Here are the choices the voters would have had. And here’s what one of the “choices” had to say.

“I WILL MISS BOB TORRICELLI:” Michael Barone bids him a sort-of-fond farewell.

BTW, I’m continuing to update the New Jersey election issue here, and will continue to do so for as long as I can stand it. My sense is that a lot of people are arguing past each other, but I don’t have the time — or frankly, the energy — to do a lot of thinking about this myself and try to unravel all the tangled strands of debate so far, so I’m just linking to other people’s stuff. Maybe tonight.

I found it harder than most people to get heated up about the 2000 election, and this seems to me like a single-A-ball version of that dispute. Okay, maybe double-A. But at least it’s a change from the war, I guess.

HOWARD KURTZ has the Torricelli-aftermath roundup and also manages to use the words “cheap trollop,” which is no small accomplishment, though — well, just read it.

JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN’T HEAR: Democrats want to replace Torricelli with Frank Lautenberg.

Why do I think I’ll soon be tired of hearing about this?

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt, who had Dave Kopel on his show tonight, adds another twist: the military absentee ballots have already gone out.

I repeat what I said yesterday: How does history repeat itself when it was farce the first time?

DAVE KOPEL HAS AN ANALYSIS of New Jersey election law as it applies to the Torricelli succession.

Hmm. That sounds like a Robert Ludlum title, doesn’t it? The Torricelli Succession.


As I ran around Lakeshore park this morning (lovely with the sun rising across the river and the mist rising from the water) I listened to NPR on the issue. The story by Mara Liasson was quite fair, which made me realize that NPR seems to be much more balanced lately. Maybe the criticism has had some effect.

QUITE A FEW OF MY READERS believe that Torricelli’s withdrawal — delightful as they find it in itself — represents an underhanded Democratic strategy to win a seat they’ve done everything, up to now, to lose. Some of these theories are a bit elaborate, but now Orrin Judd says he smells a rat:

New Jersey’s Democrats knew full well what they had in Mr. Torricelli when they just recently nominated him to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate that he’d disgraced. The Senator’s unethical behavior was well known when he won the nomination and there’s been no material change in his circumstances. The only thing that we know now that we didn’t know then is that the voters of NJ seem to care more about the Senator’s character than did the Democrat voters who nominated him. But, if those Democrats didn’t care about the brazen choice they were making then, why is it our duty to get them off the hook now? Just because they made a mistake?

I don’t think this argument will fly at the New York Times.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan seems to agree:

Above all, Torricelli’s exit unfairly denies the voters a chance to punish him. Such votes are a critical part of the political system. They help cleanse the electoral palette, they allow the body politic to make a formal statement about what matters, and they drive the point home by humiliating the ethically challenged. Torricelli’s final, cynical move is of a piece with his entire career. It’s a scam and a duck. This time, surely New Jersey’s courts shouldn’t let him get away with it.

And Mickey Kaus observes:

Where does it say New Jersey voters have a right, not just to a choice of candidates, but to “a competitive race” — a right so important it must override trivial concerns like state laws about when names can be removed from a ballot? Is an election like a basketball game that has to be kept close in order to keep it exciting? The NYT editorial board seems to think so. … (It’s way too cheap and obvious to note that if it were the Republicans who had nominated a sleazeball headed for defeat, then ensuring a “competititve” race might not be the highest Times priority. So I won’t make that point. But others will!)

Sounds like another brisk day of Times-bashing in the Blogosphere. They do kind of bring it on themselves, though.

TNR’S BLOG BIDS a not-so-fond adieu to Robert Torricelli: “Rarely is there ever more cause for public glee than when a scoundrel gets his due. In Trenton this afternoon, the Senate’s most loathsome character got his.”

UPDATE: Rich Galen won’t miss him either: “Bob Torricelli’s career is over. It came to an abrupt and undignified end, which is fitting. Bob Torricelli is an abrupt and undignified person.”

Excerpts from The Torch’s undignified, but sadly not abrupt, farewell speech are here.