Could Joe Biden Replace Hillary Clinton As Presidential Nominee? Her Pneumonia Is Making Some Question Her Campaign
With Hillary Clinton suffering from pneumonia, some have already begun discussing a replacement, even though she has already given an interview to Anderson Cooper saying she's feeling much better. Former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler gave an interview to POLITICO on Sept. 12, where he explained why he thought the DNC should come up with a contingency plan, even if they don't think Clinton will withdraw her nomination. "It's something you would be a fool not to prepare for," Fowler said. But then who would be her replacement? Could Joe Biden replace Clinton as a presidential nominee?
That's up to the Democratic National Committee, but only if Clinton were to withdraw her nomination (something that's never happened). Nonetheless, some on Twitter were trying to turn the possibility into a story. David Shuster, a broadcast journalist who used to work for MSNBC and Al Jazeera, tweeted about the possibility of Clinton being replaced. Then he tweeted about Biden being the possible replacement: "DNC delegate: If @HillaryClinton withdraws, every indication now committee will vote to replace with Biden. @BernieSanders team scrambling."
It's not quite clear which anonymous DNC delegate he's quoting, especially considering the delegates' roles ended at the convention in July. Perhaps he meant to quote a DNC member, since they're the ones who would vote on any possible successor. Fowler also mentioned Biden and Sanders in his POLITICO interview: "I'm sure some of the Sanders people would want to get into play and some of the Biden people. I think you're likely to have at least discussions and perhaps controversy."
But for now there is no controversy, even if Fowler and Shuster predict one. The current head of the DNC, Donna Brazile, does not seem to be worrying about the matter. She released a statement Sunday saying she was encouraged that Clinton was "already feeling better" and wished her a speedy recovery. "I look forward to seeing her back out on the campaign trail and continuing on the path to victory," Brazile said.
In any case, here's how it would work if Clinton withdrew her nomination, according to the Democratic Party bylaws: The DNC chair, now Brazile, would call for a special meeting. Assuming that the committee met a quorum of 50 percent, the members would vote on a replacement. That could be anybody — Biden, Sanders, or Clinton's VP Tim Kaine. Fowler's point was that there should be some sort of process to decide on replacements, whether that's gathering signatures or finding unanimity with the President and Democratic members of the House and Senate.
One other hiccup could be the ballots. In many states it's too late for the names to be changed, so to vote for whomever the new Dem would be, voters would still mark down Clinton. But that wouldn't matter because it's not the popular vote but the Electoral College that chooses the president. According to what Elaine Kamarck, a member of the DNC Rules Committee, told POLITICO, any Dems that were voting in the Electoral College would surely then support whoever the replacement candidate is.
Having a better selection process for a replacement candidate isn't inherently bad, but it doesn't seem to be an issue yet. Clinton says she's feeling much better, and yet there are numerous tweets from Shuster pointing to her health as an issue. This is not the first time he has taken aim at the Clintons: He was suspended from MSNBC during Hillary's 2008 campaign after suggesting that Chelsea was being used unfairly as a campaign surrogate, saying she was being "pimped out." He eventually apologized.
Clinton has promised to release more health records. That, combined with more appearances on the campaign trail, will make replacing her a moot point.