To spare voters the Faustian choice of an insurrectionist or a genocidaire, it’s time for Joe Biden to do what President Lyndon Johnson did 56 years ago—with caveats.

Early in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson dreamed he was swimming in a river. He swam and swam but could not reach the shore, recounts Doris Kearns Goodwin in her biography, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.

Soon after the dream, on March 31, President Johnson stunned the nation when he announced in a nationally televised address on the U.S. war raging in Vietnam, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

Johnson had sent nearly half a million Americans to fight the North Vietnamese in the five years of his presidency. More than 35.000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese had died at that point, ostensibly to stop communism “over there before it comes over here.”

Johnson withdrew from the presidential campaign five months before the Democratic nominating convention in Chicago amid massive political opposition to the war. Demonstrators chanting “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” haunted the president.

Since the 10/7 Hamas military attack on Israel, the government of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu—with U.S. bombs and blessings— has leveled Gaza—homes, schools and universities, mosques, hospitals, and libraries, burying the history and hopes of a people living under Israeli control for decades.

As the world watches Israelis bomb, starve, and torture tens of thousands of Palestinian children in real-time, U.S. President Joe Biden runs political cover for Netanyahu to carry out the murderous rampage. 

As of May 28, since 10/7, Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, including more than 15,000 children.

Protestors chanting “Joe Biden, you can’t hide! You support genocide!” follow the president from the streets of San Francisco to the front gates of the White House.


#Genocide Joe, Washington, D.C. © Chuck Modi -Used with permission

To spare voters the Faustian choice the U.S. political system has coughed up—insurrectionist Donald Trump or genocidaire Joe Biden—it is (past) time for this incumbent president to do what the incumbent Johnson did 56 years ago — drop out of the presidential race.

The popularity of Biden is 36 percent, the same as the popularity of Johnson when he announced his withdrawal from the 1968 presidential campaign. 

Biden thought few would care about the mass murder of Arabs living in a strip of land controlled by the U.S. ally in the Middle East, but huge protests throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East since 10/7 prove otherwise. 

Massive peaceful demonstrators for a permanent ceasefire and for Palestinian freedom and equality have filled the streets from Barcelona to Belfast to Beirut. More than 100 encampments on college campuses and dozens of college graduation ceremonies have sparked international demonstrations at academic institutions.

Decades of escalating cycles of violence make it clear there is no military solution to Israeli oppression of the Palestinians created in the wake of the founding of Israel in 1948.

Biden is counting on fear of a second Trump term to defeat the former president, but for tens of thousands, Biden has crossed a psycho-spiritual red line. They will stay home or vote third party, precipitating a Trump victory and huge losses for Democrats in local races and House and Senate seats.

Biden, unlikely prone to dreams waking him to political reality as Johnson was, will need a different touchstone to withdraw from the presidential race. Avoiding the personal humiliation Hillary Clinton suffered when she lost to Donald Trump in 2016 might motivate him.

To forestall a Democratic defeat in November, Biden must avoid the mistakes Johnson and the Democrats made in the 1968 presidential campaign.

Johnson repeatedly assured Americans the United States was winning the war in Vietnam. He attributed his decision to withdraw from the presidential campaign to the divisiveness in the country.

In his withdrawal speech, Johnson pledged to “substantially” reduce bombing North Vietnam in exchange for peace negotiations. Orwellian peace-through-war speak, however, littered his remarks, and he refused to call for a ceasefire. Most importantly, Johnson refused to publicly acknowledge the stark message of his dream—the United States could not win the war in Vietnam. Instead, he spoke of troop levels, monetary costs, and victory.

The war in Vietnam dominated the news in the months before the nominating convention. So, too, did the protests, the demonstrations, and the anger.

Democratic mayor Richard Daly militarized the police. The National Guard, other federal troops, and the police battled and bloodied thousands of anti-war protestors outside the convention hall that August in Chicago.

Inside, Senator Abraham Ribicoff told the delegates, “With George McGovern as president of the United States, we wouldn’t have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.”

Instead of a peace candidate, the Democrats nominated Hubert Humphrey, vice president of the Johnson war administration. Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon, the Republican presidential nominee, by less than one percent of the vote but 191-302 in the Electoral College.

Nixon perpetrated the war in Vietnam four more years, expanding into Laos and Cambodia, doubling the death and destruction. The U.S. finally pulled out of the quagmire in Southeast Asia in 1975, ending the 13-year-long war.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden signaled he would be a one-term, caretaker president. When he reneged, no viable Democrat mustered the courage to challenge the cognitively declining, war hawk, incumbent. 

Biden and the Democrats may hope to avoid massive protests like those in 1968 by holding a mostly virtual convention (planned for Chicago) August 19-22 or even nominating their candidate before the convention, but as Israel, with U.S. supplied bullets and diplomatic cover, daily inflicts death on refugees living in tents in Rafah, worldwide outrage only intensifies.

A candidate more favorable to ceasefire and peace and justice in Israel-Palestine and a candidate with a more anti-war focused foreign policy must be nominated to move the U.S. away from the blood-soaked programs and policies Biden helped shape for the past 40 years— and to exact a win in November.

(This is a revised version of the article #DROPOUT, JOE  first published on, March 29, 2024)

JOYCE LYNN is a journalist and author ( Her forthcoming book is TRUTH: Dreams Reveal Rising Tide of Fascism Engulfing America (Plum Dreams Media, 2024. Contact: