Log In

Reset Password

Town halls for Dem ticket: ‘Think the Super Bowl with Taylor Swift in stands’

Mark my words: Joe Biden is going to be out of the 2024 presidential race. Whether he is ready to admit it or not.

His pleas to congressional Democrats for support will not unite the party behind him. Biden says he’s staying in the race, but it’s only a matter of time before Democratic pressure and public and private polling lead him to exit the race. The jig is up, and the sooner Biden and Democratic leaders accept this, the better. We need to move forward.

But it can’t be by anointing Vice President Kamala Harris or anyone else as the presumptive Democratic nominee. We’ve got to do it out in the open –the exact opposite of what Donald Trump wants us to do.

For the first time in his life, Trump is praying. To win the White House and increase his chances of avoiding an orange jumpsuit, he needs Democrats to make the wrong moves in the coming days – namely, to appear to rig the nomination for a fading president or the sitting vice president or some other heir apparent. He needs to be able to type ALL CAPS posts about power brokers and big donors putting the fix in. He needs, in other words, for Democrats to blow it.

We’re not going to do that.

We’re going to nominate a new ticket in a highly democratic and novel way, not in the backrooms of Washington, D.C., or Chicago.

We’re at the stage where we need constructive ideas for how to move forward.

I want to see the Democratic Party hold four historic town halls between now and the Democratic National Convention in August — one each in the South, the Northeast, the Midwest and the West. We can recruit the two most obvious and qualified people in the world to facilitate substantive discussions: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They may not represent every faction under our party’s big tent. But they understand what it takes to be president, and they know how to win.

Town halls – high-stakes job interviews for the toughest job in the world –would surely attract television and cable partners and generate record numbers of viewers. Think the Super Bowl with Taylor Swift in the stands. The young, the old and everyone in between will tune in to see history being made in real time.

I believe the vice president would be a formidable opponent for Trump. She has spent the past four years crisscrossing the country and the globe, serving the American people. She has a hell of a story – one that more people should know. She stood up for ordinary Americans against big banks. She locked up sexual predators. You want the prosecutor, or you want the criminal? Not the worst question to put to the American public this November.

To be clear, we have a lot more than eight Democrats who could beat the pants off Trump. But if we don’t limit the town halls to a manageable number of people, we’ll get sound bites, not substance.

I’m not worried about our delegates. They’re in it to win it.

I’m not worried about our talent. We have a staggeringly talented new generation of leaders.

I’m not worried about the money. Americans will be fired up by this open process, and many are already fired up to beat Trump.

I’m not worried about time. We have excitement and momentum on our side.

And our opponent?

I’m not worried about him, either.

James Carville is a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns, including Bill Clinton’s in 1992, and contributes to The New York Times.