Biden can’t beat Trump. Democrats must launch primaries before the DNC

Our plan to rescue Democrats from defeat will only be realized if those closest to President Joe Biden tell him it’s time to step aside.

The Democratic Party now faces an existential crisis, but it can turn it into a historic opportunity. Despite his decades of achievements, presidential candidate Joe Biden is clearly no longer fit to run.

There is no way to make voters not see what they saw with their own eyes. With Biden at the top of the ticket, Donald Trump will likely regain the presidency in the November election, and an autocratic MAGA-type administration is poised to destroy our democratic institutions.

But there is a bold alternative that could electrify the nation, a path that would strengthen our democracy — a path that is Trump’s worst fear.

Picture this: In a selfless act of statesmanship, President Biden tells voters he’s passing the torch to a new generation, moving from scapegoat to George Washington-like respect in a single, iconic speech. The Democratic Party immediately unveils its “blitz primary,” which isn’t a chaotic free-for-all but a meticulously orchestrated, media-focused process that showcases the Democratic Party’s many talented leaders.

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Within days, Biden and the Democratic National Committee consult with national and state elected leaders to identify six dynamic candidates in an open process supported by Vice President Kamala Harris, the clear front-runner who knows the downsides of being simply anointed. To participate, each candidate pledges to run a positive campaign centered on competence and vision.

The Democratic Party is taking a cue from Hollywood and, instead of the same old technocrats and talking heads, bringing in beloved cultural icons (think Tom Hanks, Oprah, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Charlamagne tha God) to moderate weekly candidate forums that draw massive prime-time audiences, amplified by cutting-edge social media.

Each forum engages the audience with the expected, the unexpected, and the delightfully quirky. Voters, feeling truly involved in the selection process, provide real-time feedback. The day after each forum, they weigh in via focus groups and quick polls on questions like, “Which candidates impressed you with their views on foreign policy?” Millions of previously disaffected voters participate. Younger voters sit up and participate. America is fascinated.

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Better yet, no one is interested in Trump. As a half-dozen vibrant and talented Democratic contenders compete to present compelling visions of the future, the suspense mounts, with many Republicans stunned by the contrast between Trump’s angry speeches and the talent, energy and commitment of the Democrats.

Finally, those Republicans who reject Trump but cannot support Biden are drawn to an attractive alternative.

Interest in the Democratic National Convention is set to skyrocket

At the Democratic National Convention, delegates cast secret, ranked-choice ballots, an innovative voting mechanism with countless advantages, producing a broadly appealing candidate and a more unified party.

Ranked-choice voting is also great for building suspense as we head toward the convention, narrowing the race from six to three and eventually to one candidate.

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The process is fair and transparent: there are no backroom deals. Record numbers of viewers are glued to the evening convention broadcasts, energized by the Democratic Party’s newfound competence, leadership and vision.

And when Election Day comes, the Democratic ticket wins comfortably, not only retaining the White House but increasing the chances that lower-ranking pro-democracy candidates will regain the House of Representatives and, against all odds, retain the Senate.

Illusions? No.

This is a viable path to victory. This plan is achievable and inspiring. This plan guarantees Biden’s place in history and allows him to win elections across America in November. This plan is our best – and only – hope to push back against the ruthless MAGA forces seeking to turn America into an autocracy.

But this can only happen if those closest to President Biden tell him the painful truth: it is time to step aside. He is an honorable man who has served his country with distinction for five decades. He deserves our respect, gratitude, and admiration. But no one deserves blind loyalty. The stakes are too high.

The president says he won’t drop out of the race unless he gets an answer from the “Lord Almighty,” but we’ve always heard that the Lord helps those who help themselves. Democrats, what will you do? We can either cling to a failed strategy or seize this moment to revitalize American democracy and make this the finest hour of our democracy.

The choice is clear.

Rosa Brooks, the Scott K. Ginsburg Chair in Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, served in senior positions in the Obama and Clinton administrations and as a volunteer policy adviser to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. Ted Dintersmith, a former venture capitalist, is an author and co-founder of Democracy Defenders.