‘Pod Save America’ Host Jon Favreau Says ‘a LOT of Democrats’ Have Concerns About Biden, but Alternative Would Be ‘Risk to Democracy’

He responded to a call for Democrats to choose another candidate from liberal New York Times columnist Ezra Klein

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Over the weekend, “Pod Save America” host and former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau laid out the dangers of President Joe Biden stepping aside, while also recommending a New York Times column making the case in favor of Democrats selecting a different candidate. He wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that “even if you think Biden’s decision to stay in the race is driven by ego or short-sightedness, a last-minute (and highly unlikely) decision to step aside would also represent a huge risk to democracy — which also has to be weighing on his mind.”

The former White House staffer was responding to New York Times journalist and podcaster Ezra Klein, who made a bold suggestion on Friday: that Biden should seriously consider stepping aside and allowing Democrats to select another candidate to run against Donald Trump in the 2024 election.

Favreau began by referencing Klein’s piece and tweeted, “Even if you don’t agree with where he lands, it’s worth reading @ezraklein’s Biden piece, especially since a LOT of Democrats share his exact concern: yes, Biden’s a good man, has been a great president, and isn’t too old for the job. But because he looks and sounds so much older than when he ran in 2020, he hasn’t yet been able to convince most voters that he’s the right choice for 2024.”

Biden stepping down would be an unprecedented move, Favreau was quick to acknowledge. He added, “The challenge is, we just don’t know — and will likely never know — if nominating Biden is riskier than letting Democratic activists and insiders pick a lesser-known and potentially weaker general election candidate at the convention with three months to go.”

He went on to point out that there are plenty of other members of the Democratic Party who could run a serious campaign.

“Democrats have some real stars who’ve won races in the toughest states — Whitmer in MI, Shapiro in PA, Warnock in GA — but it’s not at all clear that they’d a) be the choice of the delegates, or b) end up stronger than Biden against Trump,” Favreau wrote.

He also shared a poll that revealed Biden is considered the best option against Trump right now and wrote, “Even if some of these margins are probably a function of low name-ID, the limited polling we have is instructive, and Trump hits 45/46 in every matchup (basically his # in ’16 and ’20).”

“So even if you think Biden’s decision to stay in the race is driven by ego or short-sightedness, a last-minute (and highly unlikely) decision to step aside would also represent a huge risk to democracy,” he continued, “which also has to be weighing on [Biden’s] mind. Would it be as risky as the campaign we’re most likely about to face? Again, it’s just too hard to know for sure.”

Favreau concluded, “What Biden can do is take concerns about his age seriously, acknowledge that fears about his performance aren’t media creations or Democratic bedwetting, and focus single-mindedly on crisp, strong, energetic appearances, which we’ve seen he’s absolutely capable of (2023 SOTU, Jan 6th speeches, etc.).”

In his original piece, Klein insisted that age isn’t the actual issue, writing, “I am convinced he is able to do the job of the presidency. He is sharp in meetings; he makes sound judgments. I cannot point you to a moment where Biden faltered in his presidency because his age had slowed him.”

But, he argued that the perception that Biden is old is a real problem facing the Democratic National Committee. The larger concern, he added, is that Biden may not be able to handle another campaign cycle — especially when he is behind Trump.

“I still think Biden might win against Trump, even with all I’ve said,” Klein wrote. “It’s just that there’s a very good chance he might lose. Maybe even better than even odds. And Trump is dangerous. I want better odds than that.”

His solution: that Biden steps aside, and Democrats use the convention to hear speeches from other potential nominees. At the end, they decide on one. As he pointed out, this was the way nominees were chosen from 1831 until 1968, and it resulted in the elections of standouts like Abraham Lincoln and FDR.

In terms of possible candidates, Klein suggested several: Vice President Kamala Harris, of course, as well as Gretchen Whitmer, Wes Moore, Jared Polis, Gavin Newsom, Raphael Warnock, Josh Shapiro, Cory Booker, Ro Khanna, Pete Buttigieg, Gina Raimondo, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chris Murphy, Andy Beshear and J.B. Pritzker.

While it’s a risk that could end in disaster, Klein added, that doesn’t mean it has to.

“It could make the Democrats into the most exciting political show on earth,” Klein wrote. “And over there on the other side will be Trump getting nominated and a who’s who of MAGA types slavering over his leadership. The best of the Democratic Party against the worst of the Republican Party. A party that actually listened to the voters against a party that denies the outcome of the elections.”

Favreau followed up his initial tweets with takeaways from the responses he received. He said there were “Some really thoughtful replies from people who agree and disagree, and lots of replies from people who definitely read everything carefully and chose to engage with the actual argument being made.”

Favreau noted that he’d listened to an episode of conservative but anti-Trump pundit Sarah Longwell’s “Focus Group” podcast, describing it as “a hopeful episode with 2x Trump voters who won’t vote for him in ’24.”

“She also played a clip from a group of Black voters who went Hillary ’16/Biden ’20,” Favreau wrote. “What they didn’t say: Biden’s age isn’t an issue, the DC media is making this up, and people who worry about it are just bedwetters What they did say: Hur report is concerning, think he’s too old, wish he wasn’t running… but he surrounds himself with better people than Trump, Trump’s nuts, and they ultimately feel safer with Biden than Trump. All but 1 will vote for him again.”

Favreau added, “Whole pod is worth listening to, but the point is: people are less likely to believe your argument about why they should vote for Joe Biden if you refuse to even acknowledge their genuine concerns about his age or worse, yell at them about it.”

Comments

One response to “‘Pod Save America’ Host Jon Favreau Says ‘a LOT of Democrats’ Have Concerns About Biden, but Alternative Would Be ‘Risk to Democracy’”

  1. Dog Avatar
    Dog

    This is laughable.  I thought that the delusion was about Trump.  It appears that it is also about Biden.  Please have any of the other names mentioned run for President against Trump.  The threat to Democracy lies squarely on the left.  Arbitrary removal of opposing candidates, political prosecutions and lawsuits.  Those are the Democrats.  Another Biden or any Democrat term would be a real threat to Democracy.  

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