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PA Dem Leaders Are Divided on Biden. The Voters Are, Too.

Pennsylvania politicians are divided on President Joe Biden’s political future.

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman is an unapologetic ally, telling his fellow Democrats, “There is only one guy that has ever beaten Trump, and he’s going to do it twice and put him down for good.” His colleague, Sen. Bob Casey, says he has no concerns about Biden’s ability to serve four more years as president.

But U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Lehigh Valley Democrat, has publicly expressed her “concerns about President Biden’s electability at the top of the ticket.”

With Biden, who insists he will not drop out, facing another major test Thursday when he participates in what the White House is calling a “big boy” press conference, DVJournal asked Keystone State voters to weigh in on whether Biden should end his campaign for a second term or stay the course.

“It’s not good to have a divided party,” said Cassandra Willard of Warrington. “A lot of people think he’s too old to run for reelection.”

“I feel bad for him,” said Jeff Wimer of Penn Township. “I don’t think he’s capable.”

Willard and Wimer live in opposite corners of the state, but they seem to speak for millions of voters. And the chair of the Washington County Democratic Party declined to comment when reached by phone.

Berwood A. Yost, director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, said that Democrats hoped voters would be reminded of why they gave former President Donald Trump the boot four years ago. Biden’s debate performance “likely buried that hope,” he wrote in a recent newsletter.

“In reality, the Democrats’ theory was more magical thinking than critical thinking considering what the polls have shown over time, starting with the way voters have judged President Biden’s performance and the stability of those judgments,” Yost said. “As we wrote in a review of state polling last July, President Biden’s average approval rating in the state aligns him more closely with first-term incumbents who have lost than those who have won.”

On June 27, the day of the debate, national polling averages between the two men showed a tie. Nearly two weeks later, those numbers are shifting. Trump has a 2.3-point lead, according to FiveThirtyEight.

There are similar trajectories in the battleground states where Trump is leading in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, where the Biden campaign has been relentlessly pounding voters with TV ads since March, Trump is leading.

Still, some Keystone State voters said they’re prepared to stick with Biden — if they have to.

“He’s the lesser of two evils,” said Sean Clark of Penn Hills, PA. “It’s one person’s policies versus another person’s popularity.”

Marie S., who lives in Montgomery Township, PA, did say that Biden should consider dropping out of the race, but that she would still vote for him if he remains on the ballot.

“He’s better than the other one,” she said.

Requests for comment by Inside Sources from the Allegheny County Democratic Party, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and Allegheny County Executive Sarah Innamorato were not returned.

Radnor resident Prachi Soni said that while Biden has done a lot for the country, he should spend his remaining time with his family.

“I would not want him to run again, definitely,” Soni said. “He’s getting to a point where his age is affecting him.”

But others say it’s past time for Biden to give up the presidency.

Eldores, a northeast Philadelphia man who declined to give his last name, was making deliveries in Huntingdon Valley.

“I think he should quit right now because he’s not healthy,” he said. “Even my 5-year-old daughter knows this. He was a good politician, more than Clinton or Obama, but now it’s time to quit.”

Debbie McGinley of Skippack said, “He needs to drop out. I  look at Biden as a grandfather or my father. He would be in a home for dementia. He cannot serve our country. Jill Biden should be held responsible. She is his wife and caregiver. If this was Trump, he would’ve been out of office by now. Doesn’t matter if it’s Democrat or Republican, this is an issue about mental health.

“What they are doing to Joe Biden is elder abuse. His (late) son, Beau Biden, fought against this very thing.”

Since the debate, the national media has been publishing stories about deep, lingering concerns from Democratic lawmakers, operatives, and donors about Biden’s condition. The articles reflect a sense of shock that he had deteriorated from even just two years ago, but the stories also lay out in detail the lengths senior White House, campaign officials, and even Biden’s family have gone to isolate him.

Some Democratic lawmakers have gone on the record calling for Biden to step aside and allow the party to move Vice President Kamala Harris into the top spot on the ticket or initiate a process by which convention delegates could choose another nominee. Wimer of West Moreland County said that a candidate other than Harris would be preferable to Biden.

But Chalfont resident Jamie Walker warned against such a move, giving voice to what countless other voters are thinking.

“The leaders of the party clearly knew Biden’s flaws and they did not want their voters to have the opportunity to pick a new candidate in the primary,” Walker said. “The Democratic Party taking out their candidate elected by the voters is the total opposite of democracy, which is their entire platform.”

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