Sherrod Brown thinks Biden can’t win

Posted on Jul 10, 2024

As President Biden continues to insist he is running for re-election, a chorus of Democrats is beginning to build saying that he should not, and that he cannot win.

Prominent among those is Sen. Sherrod Brown, facing a tough re-election battle against Trump-endorsed Bernie Moreno in a state Trump won in 2020 by eight points.

Via Axios:

  • Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told their colleagues during a closed-door caucus meeting that they doubt Biden’s ability to beat former President Trump, a source familiar with the session told Axios.

  • Tester and Brown are waging two of the most competitive re-election campaigns in the country, trying to hold on to Democratic seats in states that Trump easily carried in 2020.

Unlike Tester and Bennet, Brown needs Biden to remove himself from the ticket basically yesterday, because if it is accomplished only at Democrats’ convention, that may be a problem under Ohio law. Per the Conversation:

President Joe Biden might not appear on the November 2024 presidential ballot in Ohio. Ohio law requires that presidential candidates be certified– that is, the state must be notified that presidential candidates have been officially nominated– 90 days before the general election in order to get on the ballot. That is the earliest deadline of any state.

If there is no Democratic presidential nominee on Ohio ballots, it won’t affect the presidential race– but it likely will affect Brown’s down ballot chances.

While the 2024 presidential election could be a historically low turnout election, you can bet that Trump’s fans in Ohio will eagerly turn out for him. Voters who might default Democratic but don’t have the incentive of influencing a presidential race to encourage them to turn out may not show up and help Brown keep his seat.

So, a quick switch from Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris or some other Democrat is important for Brown’s chances of winning re-election in Ohio.

A problem for Brown is that Republicans have become sufficiently dominant in the state that national Democrats may just not be thinking about this the way he is. Currently, just 1/3 of Ohio’s congressmen are Democrats. Between 2009 and 2011, it was more even; Democrats held ten seats out of eighteen.

Will Biden care enough about Sherrod Brown to stand down and allow the party to nominate someone else before the 90 day deadline kicks in? Clearly, the President can no longer do the math needed to see he’s losing to Trump, but if you’re Brown, you’ve got to hope that someone on his team can count backwards on a calendar.