February 18, 2024 - 1:00pm

New York Times columnist Ezra Klein has called on Joe Biden to step down as Democratic candidate for president in 2024. 

In an audio essay entitled “Democrats have a better option than Biden”, Klein provides a tortured account of how he arrived at his decision. “My heart breaks for Joe Biden,” he opens, before declaring that “as painful as this is, [the president] should find his way to stepping down as a hero.”

In the 4,000 word piece, the New York Times columnist argues that there is a “ton of talent” in the party, listing names such as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and even House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Claiming that Biden has been a “good president”, Klein added that he was willing to sacrifice a second term in order to prevent the “nightmare” of Trump winning in November. 

The writer also questioned the blind loyalty exhibited by many Democratic operatives who would come out after the election with “campaign tell-all books” that were “full of emails and WhatsApp messages” between Biden staffers and Democratic leaders, showing that “he’s not going to win this”. But “they didn’t say any of it publicly, they didn’t do anything, because it was too dangerous for their careers, or too uncomfortable given their loyalty to Biden,” writes Klein.

The Vox co-founder is the latest Democrat to call for the resignation of Biden, who in recent weeks has come under heavy fire from his own side over his mental acuity. Triggered by the recent Hur report, which stated that Biden could not remember when his son Beau died or the years he served as vice president, more and more Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to criticise the president.

Most notably, Jon Stewart’s return to the Daily Show discussed and mocked Biden’s age extensively, dubbing the election “Indecision 2024”. He joins the likes of former Bill Clinton strategist James Carville and former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod, who warned last year that Biden’s age was an electoral weakness. “Fair or not, you can’t unring the bell,” said Axelrod earlier this month. The Hur report “goes to the core of what is plaguing Biden politically now, which is a widespread fear that he’s not up to it.”

is UnHerd’s Newsroom editor.