'It Felt Like A Funeral': Democrat Morale At 'Historic Lows' After Caucus Meeting To Discuss Biden's Candidacy

On Tuesday, Democrat lawmakers assembled at the party's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss the party's future and President Joe Biden's candidacy following a disastrous debate performance and multiple public calls from lawmakers demanding he withdraw from the race. The meeting, which included only elected officials, has been described by some as a "funeral" as many Democrats assess the devastating impact of Biden remaining the party's nominee not only on the presidential race but also on down-ballot races.

Lawmakers who attended the meeting told reporters that after some Democrats had demanded that Biden step aside, more and more Democrats were coming out to support Biden as the nominee. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who had previously called on Biden to withdraw, changed his tune, telling reporters, "I'm fully supportive of him. I plan to campaign for him. And it's essential that he wins."

According to Punchbowl News reporter Heather Caygle, every Democrat she and other Punchbowl reporters have spoken to in recent days has said that Biden has virtually no chance of beating Trump at the ballot box in November. Many of them have said that they do not want to publicly voice their opposition to the president's candidacy because they fear being ostracized or they believe that Biden has the nomination locked up.

One member present at the meeting told Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman that "it was like a funeral." Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) explained that he had recently seen a poll showing Biden losing his district, which went for the Democratic nominee by 12 points in 2020. "The morale of the caucus is at historic lows," another member told Semafor reporter Kadia Goba.

The Democrat caucus meeting comes after President Biden doubled down on staying in the race in a letter to lawmakers on Monday. As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, the president demanded that his Democrat colleagues remain loyal to him and that those demanding he step aside should either challenge him at the convention or stop dividing the party and weakening his candidacy.

"I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump," Biden wrote.

"We had a Democratic nomination process, and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively," Biden explained. "This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me. One fared so badly that he left the primaries to run as an independent. Another attacked me for being too old and was soundly defeated. The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party."

"The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it's time for it to end," Biden wrote. "And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump."

The path forward for Democrats is still unclear, and the caucus meeting seemed to solve little. Instead, it highlighted the problems present for Biden's candidacy and for Democrats' chances to retake the House and hold the Senate. With Biden at the top of the ticket in November, Democrats could face a federal government completely controlled by Republicans come January 2025.

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