In 1972, the DNC nominee for President dropped out of the race over health concerns – could Joe Biden suffer the same fate?
To date, Presidential hopeful Joe Biden, has not responded to allegations regarding incriminating evidence of alleged wrongdoing found on his son’s laptop. It is likely that the emails and files found on the laptop have at least some validity and if it were incriminating enough, Joe Biden could conceivably drop out of the race. It is also reasonable that concerns over Biden’s mental acuity could lead to him dropping out of the race.
If Joe Biden drops out of the race having already received his party’s nomination for President, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has procedures in place to address the issue.
The Rules and Bylaws of the Democratic Party gives authority for “filling vacancies in the nominations for the office of the President,” to the DNC itself. If Joe Biden dropped out, Tom Perez as Chairperson of the DNC, would call a meeting of the Committee at which time a vote would be taken of the majority present, on who the replacement would be. (Reference Article 2)
Dropping out of the race at this late date before the election poses a myriad of problems. One significant issue is that most ballots are already printed and a new name could not be added, further complicated by applicable laws that vary by State.
The most recent example of a party’s nominee dropping out before the election was Thomas Eagleton who won the Democrat party nomination in 1972. Questions were raised about whether or not he was fit to run for office because he had battled depression and been subjected to electroshock therapy. The Republicans bashed him in the media, making numerous references to “shock therapy” and suggested that the depression could reappear. Questions surrounding Joe Biden’s mental health in relation to his candidacy have a similar ring.
Eagleton dropped out of the race. The DNC identified and voted on a replacement. They chose Sargent Shriver (Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s husband) as the replacement nominee who lost all but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in the 1972 general election to Richard Nixon.
One significant difference between 1972 and the possible replacement of Joe Biden is that Eagleton dropped out in July with significantly more time to find and sell a replacement. Joe Biden dropping just two weeks or less before the election is not as easy to manage.
One other scenario is that if Joe Biden were elected on November 3rd and dropped out of the race at any point after that date, Kamala Harris would take on the role of President of the United States.