(Dec. 18) Instead of criticizing Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) for challenging President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primaries, Democrats in Congress should be thanking him for trying to save them from themselves.

Phillips — a wealthy businessman known for working in a bipartisan way, at least on small matters, while maintaining a very, and disturbingly, liberal voting record overall — is warning quite correctly that Biden could easily lose to former President Donald Trump and even more easily lose to almost any other Republican. Phillips is right that Biden is too doddering and unpopular to win or even handle the job’s responsibilities for a second term. Phillips also could say, but hasn’t yet, that the public wisely sees Biden as too prone to massive lies and ineffably corrupt.

Phillips is right that the majority of people want a younger president than Biden, one both with executive skills and a willingness at least to listen to the other party while not reflexively demonizing it. With inflation a major problem, a string of foreign policy failures on Biden’s record, and Biden’s polling numbers at record lows, Phillips quite reasonably says that Democrats who hitch to Biden’s wagon are dooming their party to defeat.

And if you believe, as almost all Democrats and some perspicacious Republicans do, that Trump is a threat to the Constitution, then it makes sense to say that Biden’s likely loss to Trump makes Biden’s renomination itself effectively a threat to democracy. In other words, by making Trump’s re-ascension to power more likely, the result, if not the intention, of Biden’s candidacy would be bad for the republic.

By giving Democrats a way out, Phillips is showing the political realism and the political courage his fellow Democrats lack. And this isn’t some vanity operation on Phillips’s part: Rather than being determined to put his name on the ballot, Phillips spent months begging other Democrats to run instead. He made the reasonable case that Biden could be beaten for renomination if challenged by somebody with deeper party ties than Phillips has, someone not of the radical Left but with at least an image tending toward moderation…. [The full column is at this link.]


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