It’s Sinking in — Joe Biden Probably Can’t Win
Author: Greg Valliere
June 20, 2019
WE’VE MET JOE BIDEN several times, always charmed by his smile and upbeat vibe. A gregarious guy, instantly likable. But it’s becoming clear that he doesn’t have what it takes to become president; in private, Democrats are whispering that they eventually may have to move on.
THIS ISN’T ALL ABOUT BIDEN’S tone-deaf comments earlier this week on working with some notoriously racist Senators five decades ago. There are other issues — the enormous generational gap between Biden’s era and today’s young voters, who are light years away from him. And it’s about Biden’s skills — he’s not shrewd or quick, and his grasp of policy issues, while not as abysmal as Donald Trump’s, is nothing to write home about. Biden hasn’t had an original idea in decades.
WE’VE TALKED TO DEMOCRATS IN RECENT DAYS who were bracing for more tone-deaf incidents, like Biden’s comments this week or his dismissal of China as a threat, or his creepy habit of touching women (which he claims is innocent, still another throwback to a different era). These Democrats, most of whom like Biden personally, are asking the obvious question: who do they have on the bench if Biden totally implodes?
AS ONE STRATEGIST TOLD US YESTERDAY, “If Trump suddenly left the scene, the Republicans would have clear alternatives — Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, Tom Cotton, just to name a few.” But, he said, “who do the Democrats have? Could Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders really win a general election?” They’re ahead of Trump in polls, but polls don’t mean much this early in the campaign; Trump would have a field day, demonizing Sanders or Warren.
IT STRIKES US THAT VOTERS STILL WANT a Washington outsider, which is why Trump adroitly positions himself as someone fighting against “the swamp.” Senate veterans like Sanders, Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker are too inside the Beltway. Hillary Clinton, whose name is popping up a bit more frequently, is hopelessly inside the Beltway, one of many reasons she lost the last election.
WE THINK SOMEONE WILL BREAK OUT in the Democrats’ debates next week; the media is always looking for the next Big Thing, and it could be Beto O’Rourke or Pete Buttigieg, who still aren’t well known nationally but could be the future of this aging party. Or a very dark horse — maybe Rep. Tim Ryan, the Ohio populist — could emerge as a contrast to the establishment Biden.
JOE BIDEN, a nice guy prone to self-inflicted wounds, isn’t the answer; he’s good for a major gaffe every few weeks. His two previous runs for the presidency were spectacular failures, not a good track record — and the 22 other Democrats running for president suddenly smell blood in the water.
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