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FEC COMMISSIONER TREY TRAINOR: Replacing Joe Biden Wouldn’t Be So Easy

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Trey Trainor Contributor
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Following President Joe Biden’s lackluster performance in the first presidential debate of the 2024 election, speculation about the possibility of replacing him as the Democratic Party’s nominee has gained momentum.

While this idea may resonate with some Democrats concerned about Biden’s electability or health, the logistical and legal challenges involved in such a move make it highly impractical. (RELATED: BRYAN LEIB: Trump’s Decisive Debate Victory Makes One Thing Crystal Clear)

One of the primary hurdles is the complex mechanics of replacing a nominee across the 50 states, each governed by its own set of election laws and regulations. States have specific deadlines for candidate substitutions, often months before Election Day.

These deadlines are crucial for ensuring the integrity and fairness of the electoral process, and attempting to replace Biden would require navigating these legal frameworks, potentially leading to legal battles and uncertainties that could undermine the Democratic Party’s chances in the general election.

For example, federal law mandates that military and overseas voter ballots must be shipped by Sept. 21st. Any attempt to replace Biden after the Democratic National Convention in late August would have to adhere to these stringent timelines, further complicating the process and potentially disenfranchising voters if not executed meticulously.

Moreover, the financial implications of replacing Biden are significant. President Biden’s campaign has raised substantial sums, and while the Democratic National Committee can redirect some resources, funds directly tied to Biden’s campaign might face certain restrictions.

Federal Election Commission requirements for new candidates would need to be met, posing additional challenges and potential delays. Beyond logistics and finances, replacing a nominee also raises ethical and democratic concerns.

Presidential nominees are selected through a rigorous primary process where millions of voters participate. To disregard this process in favor of last-minute substitutions risks alienating voters and undermining trust in democratic institutions. It would signal to voters that their voices and choices in the primary were inconsequential.

Legally, the challenges are formidable. State election laws are designed to ensure orderly elections, and any attempt to replace Biden would likely face legal challenges akin to past electoral disputes, such as the 2006 case involving former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in Texas. There, courts upheld stringent state laws regarding candidate withdrawal and replacement, highlighting the legal complexity and potential for prolonged litigation across multiple states.

Ultimately, while replacing Joe Biden may seem like a quick fix for Democrats seeking to bolster their electoral chances, the practical realities dictate otherwise. The focus of the Democratic Party should be on uniting behind their chosen candidate, presenting a coherent vision to voters, and addressing critical issues facing the nation.

When the Democratic National Convention begins in Chicago, any move to replace Biden must be approached with caution, transparency and a deep respect for democratic principles. It is imperative that Democrats prioritize democratic norms, rather than risking division and legal battles that could destabilize the electoral process.

While speculation may continue to swirl, the practical and ethical challenges of replacing Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee render it highly impractical. Democrats are wedded to President Biden and any attempt to sever the relationship at this juncture jeopardizes the integrity of our democratic process and the credibility of our political institutions.

Trey Trainor is a current Commissioner on, and former Chairman of, the Federal Election Commission. He formerly served as the General Counsel to the Texas Secretary of State.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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