'There Were Actual Tears': Swing District Democrats Fear Losing Their Seats With Biden At Top Of Ticket

On Tuesday, House Democrats held a caucus meeting at the party headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss the party's electoral future and President Joe Biden's candidacy after the 81-year-old incumbent insisted that he would stay in the race following his debate debacle last month. Just before the caucus meeting, however, several swing district Democrats met to discuss the difficult road forward to save their own seats if President Biden remains on the top of the ticket.

The battleground Democrats, many of whom fear Biden will drag down House and Senate races, were "unanimous" that the president should step down and allow Vice President Kamala Harris or another Democratic candidate to lead the party. One source familiar with the meeting told Axios there were "actual tears from people, and not for Biden."

While swing district Democrats realized their perilous situation with President Biden firmly shutting down critics, the mood in the full caucus meeting wasn't much better. 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 they do not want to publicly voice their opposition to the president's candidacy because they fear being ostracized or believing 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.

With Democrats struggling to see President Biden's path forward to re-election, the majority of the caucus seems to be trying to unite behind their party's nominee to prevent further division. "Most of our caucus is still with him ... meaning he'll stay in. Which sucks for our country," one House Democrat explained. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who previously called on Biden to step aside, changed his mind following the meeting, telling reporters, "Whether or not I have concerns is beside the point. He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him."

President Biden appears to have stopped the bleeding with his letter to Democrat lawmakers on Monday morning and his forceful MSNBC interview on "Morning Joe." With the Democratic National Convention just weeks away and Biden's likely nomination in a pre-convention meeting in late July, Biden will have to ensure that there are no more public defections if he wants to hang on to his position as the party's nominee and even have a chance of defeating Donald Trump later this year. 

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