Jon Stewart Calls for a Joe Biden ‘Stress Test’ After Debate: ‘There Are No Participation Trophies in Endgame Democracy’ | Video

Jon Stewart didn’t explicitly call on President Joe Biden to step down as the Democratic Party nominee for president on Monday’s “The Daily Show.” But explaining how gravely disturbed he was by the president’s recent debate performance, he argued that it’s entirely appropriate to “stress test” his candidacy to prove Biden is still capable of running.

“There are no participation trophies in end game democracy,” Stewart declared.

The topic, obviously, was the ongoing discussion of Biden, who has faced calls to step down after his disastrous performance in the June 27 debate against Donald Trump. Biden insists it was a bad night caused by external factors and not related to his age or any decline, and he is so far adamant that he will not drop out of the race.

Stewart wasn’t remotely convinced by that. “Even before the debate, there had been some troubling moments of disconnect from the President,” he said. He then illustrated this with an amusing chart tracking Biden’s “huh?” moments since 2022. (Spoiler, the chart shows those moments have increased.)

Calling Biden’s performance in the debate “a shocking display of cognitive difficulty, recognizable to unfortunately, anybody who’s dealt with aging parents” and “a hard watch,” Stewart then turned attention to defenders of the president who are downplaying it. This culminated with him looking at the accurate, though somewhat irrelevant point some of Biden’s defenders have made about Trump being far worse than Biden.

“The difference is Trump delivered at the debate to expectation. We expect him to be crazy,” Stewart said. “But Biden’s performance and inability to articulate at times was stunning. Like I could not believe what I was watching.”

Eventually, Stewart played a clip from Biden’s ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos on Friday where Biden was asked how he’d feel if he stays in the race, Trump wins and then proceeds to do every horrible thing Trump’s critics — and to be honest, Trump himself insist he will do. Biden’s answer amounted to “I’d know I gave it my all.”

“We’re told that the threat of Trump is so great and the stakes are so high that even bringing up these absolutely legitimate concerns about the President’s ability to do the most vigorous world for the next four years is enabling fascism,” Stewart said later. “Yet even the president doesn’t seem particularly alarmed.”

“There are no participation trophies in endgame democracy… it’s really troubling. As this new information has been introduced. We just learned about this, and now we’re all being told, ‘well, you should have thought of that before you knew it,” Stewart argued, referring again to the statements made by Biden defenders.

Stewart continued that it isn’t just “authoritarianism and Donald Trump” that pose threats to our democracy. It’s also that being “unable or unwilling to respond in any way to the concerns of voters who just received new and urgent information about their candidate also erodes confidence and faith in the system of government.”

As he began to wrap the commentary up Stewart also disagreed with the argument that it’s now too late to choose another Democratic candidate. “Four months is forever,” he said. “Britain just held an election in two months. France had two in one month, defeated fascism and still had time to have an affair with Denmark. Are you telling me, you sons of bitches? Are you coming to my house and saying to my face that the United States of Bruce Springsteen America can’t hold an election better than a French?

There are “contestants on ‘The Bachelor’ who haven’t even met yet that will get married and divorced between now and then,” he continued, adding, “I am in no way saying Biden’s got to drop out. But can’t we stress test this candidacy? Can’t we open up the conversation? Do you understand the opportunity here? Do you have any idea how thirsty Americans are for any hint of inspiration or leadership and a release from this choice of a megalomaniac and a suffocating gerontocracy?”

“All I want is for someone to keep it 100. The percentage, not the age,” Stewart joked. “That’s all we want.”

“The Daily Show” host concluded by pitching the idea that Democrats use the upcoming DNC to actually perform his suggested “stress test,” with Biden and other members of the party making their cases for why they should be the nominee.

“You could televise the entire proceeding for four days. You could call it, I don’t know, ‘The Apprentice.'”

Watch the whole clip above.

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