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The Guardian view on Joe Biden’s re-election bid: democrats can’t go on like this | Editorial

The US president is still in denial about his ability to take on Donald Trump, but his party is not

Joe Biden says only “the Lord almighty” could make him quit his re-election bid. “I am not going anywhere,” he insisted in a surprise call to a morning talkshow on Monday, having warned party colleagues off further discussion in a letter. Anyone wanting him to step aside, he said, should “challenge me at the convention” in August. Perhaps he would better understand the problem if he had watched his disastrous debate appearance. But if the president is still in denial, far fewer lawmakers, donors and supporters believe that his candidacy is sustainable amid mounting concern about his capabilities.

Resilience is a virtue. Mr Biden has shown it in spades, and it has served him and his country well. His grit and application helped to save the United States from a second Trump term, and to recover from the first. But knowing when to quit matters too. In 2020, Mr Biden described himself as the “bridge” to a new generation of leaders. Stepping aside now would be a belated act of dignity and wisdom. Clinging on as the Democrats head towards November in a doom‑spiral of division and recrimination, leading to Donald Trump’s return to the White House, would for ever tarnish his name.

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