“Our Finest Hour”: Democratic Insiders Support “Blitz Primary” After Blocking Primary Competition

by Jonathan Turley | Jul 8, 2024

A proposal is circulating in Washington to dump President Joe Biden and hold a “blitz primary” to choose a replacement. The proposal is the work of Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University law professor who worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations, and Ted Dintersmith, a venture capitalist and education philanthropist. The proposal is gaining support with party insiders and repeats the hyperbolic claim that this is essential to avoid a “democracy-ending defeat.” It is disappointing to see a law professor repeating this unfounded alarmist claim. Yet, the most glaring contradiction is found in the stated desire to give delegates a choice after the party worked to prevent any choice for voters in state primaries.

The authors promise an “uplifting” path in which candidates would pledge not to attack each other. They would then have a few weeks as named celebrities like Oprah and Taylor Swift would moderate discussions. Delegates would then use ranked voting before the August 19th convention.

The authors proclaim that “we can limp to shameful, avoidable democracy-ending defeat. Or Democrats can make this Our Finest Hour. While we hope for help from Lord Almighty, the Lord helps those who help themselves.”

One wrinkle is that Biden himself spent Sunday pledging again that he is not stepping aside. He also continued his penchant for bizarre statements like stating that “even when I was running for Senate, each time I ran – quite frankly, not a joke – Philadelphia, in particularly, got me across the line. No, I’m not joking. No, I mean it, seriously. Organizationally and in terms of fundraising, the whole deal.”

Either Biden was confessing to using Pennsylvania votes to win elections in Delaware or he was hopelessly confused. Seriously.

The “finest hour” for the party is coming a bit late given the concerted effort of the Democratic establishment to strip away opposing candidates from ballots and crush anyone offering an alternative to Biden. At the same time, both the press and pundits attacked those who raised the President’s infirmity, including calling unedited videos “cheap fakes.”

For the last year, Democratic secretaries of state were trying to remove Trump from 2024 ballots and Democratic leaders in Florida, North Carolina and other states were refusing to allow other candidates to run against Biden in their primaries. For those voters, the primary might have seemed like a “democracy ending” election.

At the same time, the Democratic establishment opposed any debate where Biden’s infirmities might have been observed when there was still time for voters to make another choice. They did so even though every poll showed the majority of Democratic voters thought Biden was too old and wanted an alternative choice. (Notably, I also favored a debate in the GOP primary. While Trump did not participate in any debate, he was widely available for media questions and pressers).

Now, after quashing opposing candidates when the public would have had a chance to make a state-by-state choice, insiders are calling for an “uplifting” blitz election by the party establishment and activists.

I am still curious how this will work. Donors gave money to the Biden-Harris ticket. That money would now have to be used for different candidates. Absent a formal acceptance to the alternative slate, it could raise tough questions under federal election laws. Likewise, the DNC is coming up on a number of states with drop-dead dates for ballot changes. Finally, there is the rather awkward problem of a President who is still very much alive and running.

As Biden objects over and over again that he will not step aside, Brooks and Dintersmith are already planning his political eulogy where Biden would be celebrated as a “modern-day George Washington.”

Once again, the Democratic Party seems to be channeling Monty Python in planning for a departure of a president who does not want to go.

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