Biden’s Hill Blues

Nancy Pelosi Lloyd Doggett
Biden has always stayed in close touch with the Hill: Why would he neuter his expansive and deep relationships now? Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Abby Livingston
July 3, 2024

On Tuesday, the 77-year-old, 15-term congressman Lloyd Doggett became the first member to articulate publicly what so many of his Democratic colleagues have been saying privately: It’s time for Joe Biden to “make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw” from the presidential race. That same afternoon, Speaker emerita Nancy Pelosi opened the door to the possibility, acknowledging that “it’s a legitimate question to say: Is this an episode, or a condition?” Rep. Jim Clyburn, another steadfast ally, said he would support Vice President Kamala Harris at the top of the ticket, were Biden to step aside—a provocative hypothetical that would have once bordered on heresy. 

Then Rep. Jamie Raskin pushed the talking points further on Tuesday night, telling Chris Hayes on MSNBC that any change “has got to happen quickly, … and it’s happening very quickly.” This morning, Rep. Don Davis of North Carolina said, “If he’s going to stay in, he needs to step up.” Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan echoed that sentiment this afternoon. “He’s got to show the American people that he can do this job,” she said. “He can’t be wrapped in bubble right now.” Just a few hours later, 76-year-old Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona joined the chorus: “What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat—and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”