If Biden Steps Aside, Lobbyists Poised to Select Democratic Presidential Nomination
If President Biden steps aside after the convention, the Democratic nomination is entirely in the hands of a small set of DNC insiders and corporate lobbyists.
The recent Department of Justice report on President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents instantly fueled new scrutiny over the president’s cognitive abilities and age, raising concerns over his competence to stand for reelection.
Released Thursday, the document portrayed the president as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” struggling to recall significant details about his own life, such as "when his son Beau died" and his tenure as vice president.
Biden vehemently denied these claims regarding his mental ability. His allies dismiss the document as a partisan attack, noting its oversight by special counsel Robert Hur, a former Trump administration attorney. Nonetheless, the allegations emerge amid mounting concerns about Biden's health, even among Democratic insiders, given the president’s repeated instances of slurred speech and forgotten lines in his speeches.
The president’s determination to persist on the ballot until the early stages of the primary process has effectively preempted the possibility of a credible Democratic challenger mounting a traditional bid for the nomination.
Should Biden withdraw from the nomination or abruptly exit the race for any reason within the next eight months, there is virtually no chance that voters would have a direct say in his replacement. In such scenarios, DNC officials, including lobbyists for companies like Google and UnitedHealth, may ultimately determine the party's nominee.
The presidential primary filing deadline has already passed for 41 states and territories. The two other declared candidates, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and Marianne Williamson, are unlikely to garner enough delegates to secure enough delegates to secure the nomination.
Under such circumstances, the Democratic Party could select its presidential nominee through one of two insider-dominated avenues. If Biden exits the race before mid-August, the decision would fall to the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for August 19th to 22nd in Chicago, where 739 superdelegates and 3,933 pledged delegates would hold sway.
This convention-based nomination path would involve a frenzied scramble to secure the majority of delegates. Superdelegates, comprising party insiders such as lobbyists, fundraisers, strategists, and elected officials, enjoy the liberty to support any candidate of their choosing. Pledged delegates, allocated through primary elections, are selected through a process overseen by the state parties. In the event of Biden's departure before the convention, his pledged delegates would become unbound, free to back alternative candidates.
The last time convention delegates selected a Democratic presidential nominee, not voters, was in 1968 when the party selected then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The convention, also set in Chicago that year, faced riots and protests over Humphrey’s support for the Vietnam War. He won the nomination without running as a candidate in a single primary.
However, if Biden were to exit the race post-convention, the decision would rest solely with a select group of DNC insiders. According to the DNC charter, this process would be governed by rules established by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, followed by a selection and approval process involving DNC members, a group of party loyalists that serve as superdelegates.
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee notably comprises establishment figures, including lobbyists representing corporate interests. These individuals wield significant influence over the party's decision-making processes, potentially shaping the outcome of a nomination vacancy.
Minyon Moore, co-chair of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, is an influential lobbyist who previously served as an aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton and now works at Dewey Square Group. DSG has worked for a variety of corporate interests. Lyft tapped DSG to fight proposals in California and Massachusetts that would force the company to provide benefits and minimum wages to its drivers.
Moore, who is simultaneously serving as the convention chair of the Democratic convention in Chicago this year, served as a board member with the Black Lives Matter Foundation, the group that spent $6 million in donations raised after the death of George Floyd to purchase a mansion in Los Angeles. Moore’s firm, Dewey Square Group, was also retained by the BLM Foundation in 2020 and 2021 and received over $1.2 million from the group.