Can Mr. Biden Become an “Abba” of Hybrid Government and Primary System?

by Bobby Reyes

| Photo by Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash

Part II of the “United States 2024 Election” Series

Yes, President Biden can make history by becoming the father (or “Abba” in the Aramaic language, as explained in Part I) of “hybrid versions” of his Administration (read, “government” in a second term). And the Abba-architect of a Democratic Party “hybrid” primary selection system for the 2024 election and beyond. Both suggestions can be done without violating or needing to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Firstly, Mr. Biden has to become his party’s nominee for the presidency officially. Much is going in his favor, as almost all Democrats (or, for that matter, Republicans as well, and those that belong to wannabee third party) respect the dictum of “Equity of the Incumbent” (EotI).

But with utmost respect for The White House and the First Family, if POTUS Biden falls again (while exercising on a bike, on a stage, or while going down the ramp of Air Force One or Marine One), he may be persuaded by his most-loyal supporters to end his reelection bid. Or worse, if he suffers a “freeze” while answering a question during a press conference, as his long-time friend, Sen. Mitch McConnell, recently experienced, it may be the end of his political career.

Here is a very respectful suggestion for the top national and state leaders of the Democratic Party. Perhaps they may wish to “reinvent” its presidential primary system. This”hybrid” suggestion can even apply to the Republican Party, which is also facing an elderly and fall-prone former POTUS, Donald J. Trump, as its favored nominee; his perceived fall-out (pun intended) in the criminal justice system merely adds to the GOP’s dilemma.

Due to the limited knowledge of this columnist (who reached his senior year at the Ateneo de Manila University’s College of Law), the National Committee of the major political parties decides the primary election rules and regulations. Federal and state election officials do not have a say in a political party’s selection process by caucus or primary election. The state election officials coordinate synchronized primary elections for national, state, congressional, and local aspirants for public office.

The suggestion is when an American president is running for reelection, the “EotI” is approved automatically by the party’s National and State Committees. A party’s primary is then conducted to select the running mate. The primary winner becomes the party’s official candidate for vice president.

If, for medical or physical reasons (or both), the incumbent president decides or is persuaded to abandon a reelection bid, the party does not suffer a disadvantage. Why? Because the winner in the party’s primary for VP steps into the shoes of the previous nominee for president. The runner-up aspirant in the vice-presidential primary may become the nominee for VP.

Regarding Vice President Kamala Harris, the “EotImandateum does not apply to her case. The choice for the vice presidency is the sole prerogative of the party’s nominee for president. This suggested that the new party primary selection process — if adopted — may officially change the method of choosing the VP bet. If and when Vice President Harris endorses this VP primary sweepstakes, it will land her in the presidential and VP history. After all, she will also emerge as the most-favored aspirant in the VP primary. In short, there is not much to lose, but all advantages for her to gain by edging out all her potential rivals in a primary. When this happens, it should boost her poll ratings to a stratospheric level.

Now, surveys say that most Democratic Party voters entertain a fear that the age of President Biden may prevent or imperil good governance — even if he wins a second term. Many are thinking about it and more positively about the other ABBA-suggested acronym — for “Above and Beyond Biden’s Age.”

This column respectfully suggests President Biden adopt a “hybrid” form of governance in his second term. This meant the VP-elect served like France’s prime minister (PM). As a de-facto PM, the VP runs the day-to-day business of national governance. This can be done without turning the U.S. Congress into an American version of the French Parliament. In short, American voters can feel more confident in a virtual “co-presidency” reign — without amending the U.S. Constitution.

“This column respectfully suggests President Biden adopt a “hybrid” form of governance in his second term. This meant the VP-elect served like France’s prime minister (PM). As a de-facto PM, the VP runs the day-to-day business of national governance.

Further safeguard can be ensured by inviting the VP primary runner-up to become the third member of a White House troika. The third person becomes a distinguished “intern” par excellence in experiencing the day-to-day running of the federal government. It makes him (or her) more capable of stepping into the VP’s shoes if the incumbent vice president becomes the Head of State by resignation or incapacity of the president — by the constitutional method of succession. And following the constitutional process of nominating and approving a vice president in case of vacancy in the VP position.

To readers who are not very familiar with the French system, here is a reading assignment.

France, like the United States, is a democratic republic. It has a president who heads the executive branch. It also has a legislature, the French Parliament, which proposes new laws. Following the political disorder after World War III, France rewrote its constitution and created the French Fifth Republic.

The president of France has more power under the present constitution than, for instance, the president of the United States. The French president’s most significant power is the ability to choose the prime minister. However, since the French National Assembly has the sole power to dismiss the prime minister’s government, the president is forced to name a prime minister who can command the support of a majority in the assembly.

Readers, especially distinguished members of the American Bar Association and deans of American colleges of law may send their opinion if the above suggestions are doable. After all, this columnist has often said that the subjects are above his pay grade in many instances regarding Constitutional Law and election processes in the United States.

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