There’s a reason why you should always be skeptical of conventional wisdom when it comes to elections.
Conventional wisdom said Trump should have been finished after almost every 2016 primary debate. It didn’t happen. There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is that what gets the juices flowing for beltway insiders may not appeal to normal people.
Is there another example of that dynamic beginning to play out?
Last night, Kamala Harris savaged Joe Biden on the topic of race in the first Democratic party debate. The consensus opinion wasn’t just that Biden lost the exchange, but that Harris had suddenly catapulted herself into the top tier of candidates. In fact, some of the better markets even have her as the front runner now.
Top Oddsmaker Makes Kamala Harris The New Democratic Favorite https://t.co/b47h1u8Hxg
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 28, 2019
With all due respect to the top oddsmakers, that’s incredibly stupid. Debates rarely have such an dramatic effect so as to boost someone languishing in the mid single digits above a guy who’s pushing 40%. In this case, it was a 2 minute exchange. Harris did not dominate the rest of the debate and actually may have alienated some voters by tacking so far left.
Harris, despite all the media fawning and selfies with Mika, is still a sucker’s bet at this point.
Here’s some evidence of that.
So…. Democracy Corps data shows Biden’s favorability with African American voters went up a net 18% after last nights debate, while Mayor Pete’s went down 10%. Stan Greenberg chalked a lot of it up to defensiveness over the perception that the Obama-Biden legacy was under attack
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 28, 2019
Fascinating focus group takeaways on Biden/Harris debate showdown. pic.twitter.com/cxVlFpbuHT
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 28, 2019
In other words, Harris hitting Biden seems to have had little effect on the key demographic it was designed to shift. In reality, it may have even backfired, as Biden saw a large bump in favor-ability after the debate last night.
The most obvious reason for this? Black Americans aren’t stupid enough to believe Joe Biden is actually a racist and they also don’t like it when the other candidates attack Barack Obama, which Harris did directly on the issue of immigration.
Biden was a loser last night, but it had almost nothing to do with Kamala Harris and everything to do with him embracing far-left ideas that will haunt him in the general.
This entire media reaction we’ve seen in the the aftermath of last night shows precisely why they are often so bad at their jobs. They think people are robotic, monolithic groups that can just be counted on to march to the beat of whatever the media demands. That’s not how it works. Rachel Maddow may be getting a thrill up her leg over Harris yelling at Biden, but normal people see it for what it is. Pointless bluster from an otherwise very unlikable politician.
Some may say it worked for Donald Trump in 2016, but that’d be completely misreading what actually happened (which many Trump critics are prone to do). Trump didn’t win because he called Rubio names, although his fighter mentality did help. He primarily won because he appealed to working class Americans. Harris doesn’t do that and it’s why Biden will likely continue to dominate her everywhere but within the studios of MSNBC.
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