Fellow Democrats, we have a problem.

Most Biden voters aren’t voting for him; they’re voting against Trump. In the 2020 CNN exit poll, 68% of Biden voters were against Trump (n = 15,590), not for Biden. A few days ago, CNN reported that 63% of Biden’s “supporters” are opposing Trump, not supporting Biden. Due to our antiquated electoral system, Biden is just their only viable option to oppose Trump. In the same CNN poll, 75% of voters preferred a different candidate (n = 1,274). For four years, the number of Biden “supporters” who aren’t supporting Biden but are “supporting” him to oppose Trump has consistently been ~65%.

For over a year, polls have shown majorities of Biden “supporters” want a different candidate. In April 2023 (n = 1,230), only 47% of Democrats wanted Biden to run. It’s been downhill for Biden ever since. This sentiment is unlikely to change significantly. In September 2023 (n = 1,503), 67% of Democratic voters said the party should nominate someone else. In April 2024 (n = 8,709), 62% of Biden supporters wanted both candidates swapped, with 73% of those aged 18-49 desiring different candidates. Consistently, over years, about 65% of Biden’s “support” is not support for Biden, it is opposition to Trump.

According to these and many other polls, only around 35% of voters actually support Biden. This is the core Democratic base that can be relied on to vote for virtually any Democratic nominee. The rest oppose Trump, have deep doubts about Biden’s capability, highlighted by his debate performance, which many see as disqualifying, and want a different candidate.

We can turn this around by practicing democracy and adhering to our National Charter: “… a political party which wishes to lead must listen to those it would lead, a party which asks for the people’s trust must prove that it trusts the people a party must be responsive to be worthy of responsibility…”

Our Party leadership did not trust us to select our nominee. They did not listen to party members or voters: the vast majority want a different candidate. They refused to hold debates, funded Biden’s campaign before he was the nominee, and restricted primary ballot access for other legitimate candidates (ex: FL, NC, TN, MA). We must not forget this, we must ensure the grassroots members of the party are never again excluded from our primary process – but let’s agree to address it after we deal with the current crisis.

We can respond to the people’s need for a different candidate and demonstrate that we trust the people to choose their own nominee by holding an open, free, and fair nominating process, beginning the process of restoring the public trust. Until and unless we respond to the people’s needs and demonstrate that we trust the people, according to our own National Charter we are not worthy of public trust or responsibility. As a party, we need to start living up to our own explicitly articulated moral standards.

Dr. James Zogby has proposed a plan for handling the situation to Chair Harrison. He discussed it in his Democracy Now! interview a few days ago, and I summarize it below.

  1. The DNC organizes a 1-month campaign guaranteeing all nominated candidates at least 2 live debates. I would add: and equal time in equivalent time slots at the convention.
  2. Biden steps aside for the good of the country and releases his delegates to vote their conscience (Rule 13.J). Harris can of course run and is probably the favorite. However, if we have a coronation, her candidacy will be cripled by illegitimacy before it starts. Ensuring an open, free, and fair process gives Harris the very best chance to have a strong candidacy.
  3. Interested parties must collect signatures from 40 DNC Delegates within the first week of the campaign to qualify as a candidate. Each DNC Delegate may sign only 1 candidate’s nominating petition. Because there are a relatively small number of DNC Delegates, this ensures a limited number of candidates, probably around 5 or less.
  4. A fair and transparent campaign and convention are held, ensuring equal treatment for all candidates.

This process honors Biden’s service and replaces him openly, fairly, and transparently. Provided he steps aside graciously, he’s a hero for defeating Trump in 2020, and for doing the right thing for the country, the people, and the party in 2024. He gets to retire an honored elder statesman.

This will go a long way to earning back the public’s trust, and demonstrating that we as a party are worthy of the responsibility of government. 

It will also provide weeks of massive media interest, then days of high drama at the convention, culminating in a fair vote, possibly several rounds of fair voting.  Provided leadership runs an open, free, and fair process, the positive stories about democracy in the Democratic Party almost write themselves. We can leave the Convention energized and excited to support a candidate we can all get behind to defeat MAGA, not just Trump.

Democrats must demonstrate trust in the people and responsiveness to our members and voters, who overwhelmingly want a different nominee. Endorsing and implementing this plan will show that the Democratic Party is worthy of public trust and responsibility. Failing to hold an open, free, and fair nominating process only further damages our credibility and reputation with the public.

I urge all Democratic voters, members, officials, and officeholders to support this plan and publicize it as widely as possible.

In Solidarity,

Liano Sharon
DNC Delegate (Elected – MI)
Member, MDP State Central Committee
Member, MDP SCC Executive Committee
Chair, MDP Progressive Caucus Rules Committee
Member, MDP Cannabis Caucus Executive Committee
Member, MDP Progressive Caucus Executive Committee