If Biden leaves before the deadline, who will replace him?

Confidence in the US president is plummeting

If Biden leaves before the deadline, who will replace him?

According to the latest figures, only 37% of American voters approve of the White House president’s policies.

Analysts are increasingly writing that the president has found himself in a systemic “trap” from which there is no way out. His voluntary resignation due to lack of strength and health has not been ruled out. Many feel that the president himself is already burdened by the crippling burden he has shouldered.

Biden’s decline in popularity was badly affected by the U.S. flight from Afghanistan. However, it is not even that which worries Americans so much as the appearance on their soil of tens of thousands of Afghan refugees whom they universally consider to be the hidden al-Qaedan*. After all, NATO allies are refusing to accept Afghans in significant numbers. As for the “Trump Wall” at the border with Mexico, where immigration flows have increased to 200,000 per month, it is bursting at the seams. The authorities are also dissatisfied because of the lame economy, because of their inability to cope with the “pandemic”. The corruption scandals surrounding the president’s son, Hunter, cannot be silenced…

Much of the US media, previously supportive of Biden in his confrontation with Trump, is disappointed. The New York Post, for example, is pushing for a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Hunter Biden. The American Spectator calls Biden “a feeble-minded, grey-haired, loser president, worse than a coronavirus”. The American Thinker lists Biden’s “Alzheimer’s symptoms”.

Ahead of him looms an American withdrawal from Iraq and Syria. An agreement to this was reached with Baghdad at the beginning of the year. Washington would not mind delaying the withdrawal or keeping some forces there, but the nationalist religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who won the Iraqi parliamentary elections on 10 October, as well as his possible partners in the government coalition, demand strict adherence to the existing agreement by the White House. After all, Baghdad is not facing the same fate as Kabul; it is capable of smashing the disparate forces of the IS group, which is banned in Russia, on its own. But the pro-government Kurdish entities created with American support in Iraq and Syria could fall apart. That is, in all likelihood, the next victim of the Americans will be the Kurds. Appearance of tens of thousands of these new refugees in the US will be an additional blow to Biden’s reputation.

The Democrats’ position is aggravated by the fact that mid-term congressional elections will be held on November 8, 2022. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for grabs. At present the Democrats hold control of Congress, but they are only slightly ahead in the House of Representatives (8 members) and in the Senate the seats are equally divided between the two parties. It is believed that the Democrats still hold the upper house of congress, as the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who heads the senate, is added to this party.

If these trends continue, the likelihood that the midterm elections will result in Republicans gaining majorities in both houses and their own Speaker of the House is quite high. D. Trump, who continues to travel around the country and gather large rallies, is sparing no effort for this, thus taking revenge for the injustices he perceives as having been done to him.

If Biden leaves after November 2022, when Kamala Harris takes over, a situation could arise in which a Republican speaker of the House of Representatives takes her former seat. He, according to the constitutional succession of the presidency, is the third in that line (the fourth is the secretary of state).

Something similar has already happened in American history. In 1973, Gerald Ford, a Republican, was co-opted from the House of Representatives to become Vice-President by President Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew, who had embezzled and resigned. And in 1974, Ford took over from Nixon after he resigned in the wake of the Watergate affair. True, everything happened in the Republican circle, and the elephants lost the majority in the House of Representatives after a couple of months, but Ford had already become the president.

In America, he is often called the “worst” head of the White House in history. But this is more a case of the appointment mechanism being blamed on the American constitution. In fact Ford sanitised the monstrous domestic crisis after Watergate, ended the Vietnam War and was on a fairly confident path towards détente with the USSR. The Democrat who succeeded him, Jimmy Carter, was much weaker.

The temptation to repeat Ford’s stratagem this time with the Democrats is great, and until November 2022, when a Republican could become Speaker of the House of Representatives. By becoming vice-president in the event of Biden leaving and with Congress behind him, this Republican politician would be in a position to paralyse a Democratic president, not to mention one such as Harris. Nominated mostly not on merit, but for the success of the electoral cycle (a woman, moreover of African-Asian descent), she has not shown any ability to govern. It would be a stretch to say that K. Harris has a “shoulder to lean on” for Biden. In all difficult and dubious situations, the Vice President prefers to disappear somewhere and take no responsibility. She needs a strong “second face” to her.

So far, only the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, can claim this role. The woman is peculiar and ambitious, but hardly able to help K. Harris in government, including because of her advanced age (81, she is older than Biden). A pairing of two women could lead America into even more chaos and deprive the Democrats of any chance in the 2024 presidential election.

It would be preferable for Democrats to find someone else to replace Pelosi as soon as possible. But replacing her with someone more suitable before the mid-term congressional elections is not easy. Leaving office to be taken over by someone else is not at all in Nancy’s character. The Democrats are in a classic zugzwang.

Republicans, on the other hand, are happy with the situation. They do not want to nominate Donald Trump for a second term in 2024, who could then repeat Biden’s likely fate. They are using his potential with a view to the 2022 congressional elections. And if they can get their speaker of the house, who will then be vice-president, to run a republican presidential campaign in 2024. This would be an elegant way to get rid of Trump as well.

The highest chances of the Republican nomination after a possible electoral victory for Speaker of the House of Representatives and then vice-president are Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in that chamber. He has been a consistent supporter of Trump and challenged the election of Joe Biden. McCarthy, like Biden, has Irish roots. Originally from California, McCarthy has the potential to undermine years of Democratic dominance in that key state. He might not be opposed by Trump either. The Californian is well placed to push C. Harris out of power.

However, the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives may also be coveted if the Republican Party wins the by-election, i.e. the formal current leader Ronna Romney McDaniel of another crucial state – Texas.

She is the niece of Mitt Romney (McDaniel is her husband), a well-known politician who ran for president more than once. She’s sure to “bite the bones” of Kamala Harris.

Dmitry Minin, FSK


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