Democratic Donors’ Big Question: What’s Plan B?

After a bruising 90-minute debate that underscored President Biden’s single-biggest weakness — concern about his age — Democratic donors exchanged panicked texts and emails with one question: What’s Plan B?

The 81-year-old Biden’s halting, shaky performance against a confident (if sometimes misleading) showing by Donald Trump has set off alarm among Democrats with just seven weeks before the Democratic National Convention and four months before the November election.

Some party faithful who were suppressing their doubts about Biden are now privately lobbying Democratic leaders and scouring rule books to figure out how to change the presidential ticket.

“Disaster,” one unnamed Democratic donor told CNBC after the debate, reflecting the mood among the party’s moneyed class. Other reactions included “absolute train wreck” and “game over.” “Do we have time to put somebody else in there?” Mark Buell, a well-known Democratic donor, told The Times.

Biden himself brushed off the concerns. But even Vice President Kamala Harris conceded that he’d had a “slow start” to the debate.

Biden skeptics said the performance justified their concerns. Many business leaders, including Elon Musk and the financier Bill Ackman, have bemoaned having to choose between Biden and Trump. After the debate, Ackman, who backed Dean Phillips in his Democratic presidential bid, posted to X that Trump was “going to win in a landslide. The country should rally around Trump and help him succeed.”


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