Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
I know we’re all concerned about Bernie running away with this thing but I’ve been saying all along – don’t count Biden out just yet.
The desperation to defeat Trump is palpable. Democrat voters are looking to anyone who can get on the President’s level and roll in the dirt in the general elections. However, because they don’t truly understand how Trump won in the first place and exactly what his appeal is, voters find themselves flailing in an effort to find someone to support. In a way, their flailing reflects the very flailing we see on stage during every debate.
Without Hillary’s ruthless campaign machine in the mix this time, Bernie’s trajectory has continued to soar upward, unimpeded by Clinton shenanigans and insider politics. While we all had a notion that Bernie was energizing a solid base in 2016, we never really got to see it at full strength because Hillary had already been anointed and both the media and the Democrat party colluded to tamp down Bernie’s enthusiastic support. Now we get to see the Bernie base in all its glory and it is concerning to say the least.
At the beginning of the campaign season it seemed like Biden was a sure thing to be next in line. We learned quickly why Biden had been kept on such a short leash throughout the Obama administration. He is a one-man gaffe machine and the longer he was allowed to talk the worse it got. For those of us who don’t relish the thought of a Bernie v. Trump election cycle, Biden’s slow but painful fall from grace has been…well, painful.
But I’ve been saying all along that we would be wise not to count out Biden just yet. Sure he’s weird…and rambling…and incomprehensible at times. But he’s also well loved among many Democrat voters, and certainly among black voters. As cringe-inducing as his bragging about all his black supporters can be the fact is, he’s not lying. Biden has always had a very congenial relationship with black voters and his proximity to the first black president only enhanced affections for him.
We conservatives enjoy making fun of him, but the truth is that there are many voters who really enjoy his affability and congeniality. Search for video of a young Joe Biden and you will find a man who is winning, charming and attractive. He’s a politician in the vein of John Kennedy. It was a shiny exterior but an effective one. Age may have slowed him down and robbed a bit of his faculties but after decades as a Kennedy-politician, Biden’s personality is baked in likability. Conservatives may not find it to be so, but there are still plenty of people out there who do enjoy his brand of politics…and they haven’t voted yet.
Biden wisely took off early from a losing New Hampshire race to focus on South Carolina. There he admonished the audience to remember that the majority of black Democrat voters had not even been to the primary polls yet. Black support for Biden is still pretty strong although it’s taken a dip. When up against any other candidate besides Sanders, Biden outperforms among minority voters by far.
At the Nevada debate Biden held his own by largely holding his peace. While the others on stage ripped each other apart, he let them, interjecting only when necessary. At Tuesday’s debate Biden continued to refrain from matching the aggression of the other candidates and instead took the statesman’s route, even joking about how he’s too good of a “Catholic boy” to interrupt the way others were interrupting. The result was to make Biden seem like the most mature candidate on the stage.
No doubt, the bar is low…but so are the chances of any of these people beating Trump. Biden may be fodder for the conservative pundit set, but it is naive to pretend that he hasn’t gotten this far in his career because of himself, not in spite of himself.
I’m not saying Biden is going to run away with this thing on Super Tuesday, but I am saying that it isn’t the time to be crowning Sanders and dismissing Biden just yet. His base hasn’t even really made it to the polls yet, and the more the general field attacks Sanders on his communist sympathies, the better Biden looks…whether he speaks or not.
Don’t count ol’ Sleepy Joe out just yet. Super Tuesday could change everything.