Former CNN Hack Chris Cillizza: Biden Was 'Totally Fine' in ABC Interview

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

I've heard a lot of takes on Joe Biden's Friday night interview with George Stephanopoulos but few are as hilarious as the take of Chris Cillizza, formerly of CNN.


"Joe Biden was totally fine in his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Friday night," he wrote Saturday.

That's news to pretty much everyone who watched it, but okay.

In fairness, some context is needed here. Even though Cillizza says that Biden was "totally fine" during the interview, he also says "totally fine isn’t good enough."

Having watched the full interview, I think Biden did just enough to buy him some more time in the race but not nearly enough to convince people who watched the debate that he isn’t suffering a decline due to his advanced age.

Which is actually the worst-case scenario for Democrats.

Consider this: Had Biden been awful — like last week’s debate awful — it would have been beyond, er, debate that he needed to step down as the nominee.

But, he wasn’t! Which means that his campaign will (and already is) arguing that a) the debate was a one-off (despite ample good reporting that it was not) and b) he’s on the comeback trail. 

All of which, I think, delays what is close to an inevitability now: Biden is not likely to be the Democratic nominee in the fall against Donald Trump.

In other words, Cillizza thinks that Biden successfully kicked the can down the road, postponing the inevitable fact that Biden will ultimately not be the nominee. 


Cillizza emphasized in his analysis that Democrats face a critical reality: the longer Joe Biden remains on the ballot, the worse it could be for the party. Cillizza argues that Biden's debate performance further solidified existing doubts about his age among voters, potentially causing irreparable damage to his standing. 

Related: Biden’s New Excuse for His Debate Performance Is His Most Outrageous Yet!

"In total honesty, I now think that the nightmare scenario for Democrats is that Biden remains on the ballot all the way through the fall. I think his debate performance so damaged him — because it affirmed something lots and lots of voters already believed about him (he’s too old) — that he can’t recover," he wrote.

For sure, the likelihood of Biden dropping out of the presidential race is higher than ever but it's a complicated scenario that will be difficult for the Democrats to pull off without making the situation worse for them. For one thing, it would be easier to replace Biden after the convention because most delegates are pledged to nominate him. If Biden withdraws before the convention without a clear successor, it could trigger a chaotic last-minute intraparty battle. Of course, the caveat for both of these scenarios is that there is no straightforward way to force Biden out.


If Biden drops out after the convention, party leadership, not the delegates or the voters, would ultimately choose a replacement — a scenario that is likely to cause a lot of division in the party and backlash among voters who are already sour over how undemocratic the Democratic Party is. 

Cillizza is certainly right that this is a nightmare scenario for the Democratic Party. One of the key benefits of incumbency is that the party has someone to unify behind from the start of the campaign, and with four months before the election, it's a terrible time for the party to be divided over their presumptive nominee.



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