2024 DNC

Democrats stick by Biden after debate, but questions remain about how DNC could be impacted

Chicago's mayor said he will welcome Biden in August at the Democratic National Convention.

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The president's shaky performance during Thursday night's presidential debate has both voters and political insiders asking how the rest of the summer will shake out, with political fanfare and nominating conventions still to come.

Political consultant Thom Serafin characterized it as a "good night" for former President Donald Trump and a "bad night" for President Joe Biden.

The main question now is: Can Biden connect with voters in the months to come?

"His press secretary said a few weeks ago that 80 was the new 40. Well, now he's gotta show it after what he did yesterday," Serafin said. "Maybe he had a cold. Maybe he felt bad about things. I thought he stumbled for the first 35 minutes, but then he kind of righted himself for the last hour. But it was tough because Donald Trump had such a head start on him at that point."

The president was noticeably coughing and stumbling over words during the debate, while the former president frequently relied on misinformation and hyperbole as he dodged the moderators' questions multiple times. Polls have shown voters are concerned about the age of both candidates, especially Biden. At 81, he and Trump, who is 78, were pressed about their ages during the debate.

Reaction from Democrats is pouring in following questions about the president's ability to carry on another four years in the White House. Former President Barack Obama tweeted his support for Biden, who served as his vice president, writing, "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know."

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson also reaffirmed his support for Biden ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which is scheduled to be held Aug. 19 to 22 at the United Center.

"I look forward to welcoming Democrats to Chicago for the Democratic National Convention to officially nominate President Biden and Vice President Harris for four more years in the White House," Johnson posted on social media.

Political experts believe the DNC will be more closely watched now and could come with more party in-fighting.

DePaul Professor R. Craig Sautter said delegates are bound to Biden on the first ballot, but political maneuvering could open the floor.

"The chairman of the convention calls on someone. Say he calls on Alabama at the beginning of the nominating process and Alabama says, 'Chairman, I move that we suspend the rules and open up the floor for nominations,' and I think that they would have to vote on that," Sautter said.

While Democratic leaders pledged Friday to stick by the president, Democratic strategist Delmarie Cobb expressed disappointment regarding Biden's debate performance.

"I think all of us are a little disappointed," Cobb said. "We need to stick with him. He is going to have to do more. We are going to have to do more. There is going to be heavy lifting. This is not going to be covert campaign like we had during COVID. He is going to have to be out there."

Biden was back on the campaign trail Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he signaled to a crowd of his supporters that he intends to stay in the race.

At a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, President Joe Biden addressed concerns over his age after his shaky performance at the previous night’s presidential debate. “I don’t know what you did last night, but I spent 90 minutes on stage debating a guy with the morals of an alleycat.”

"I don't walk as easily as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth. … I would not be running again if I did not believe with all my heart and soul: I can do this job. Because, quite frankly, the stakes are too high," Biden said.

If Biden does remain in the race, will his financial backers stay with him? Serafin weighed in on that question:

"I think they're considering those [positions] right now. But it's going to take somebody with a lot of backbone to sit down with him and take it from him. He's not going to volunteer walking away. … People don't walk away from the most powerful position on the planet. It has to be taken from you," Serafin said.

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