Joe Biden’s enigmatic campaign is continuing on a most rocky road. Let’s review. First, he had trouble deciding whether or not to run. Then, his much-balleyhooed roll-out drew a relatively sparse crowd, in Philadelphia, no less. You may recall, on that same night President Trump outdrew him substantially at a routine rally in Montoursville, PA, which is in the middle of nowhere.
Then, he stubbed his toe at the first debate, and Harris made him look old, uncertain, weak, and out of touch. Then, he made an unfortunate slip-up with his comments about working together with segregationist Senators and was immediately taken to task by Cory Booker. Immediately, much of the media, sensing a “hot” story, and most of the other candidates, smelling blood in the water, piled on. Then, he issued an apology for the latter comments, which, I believe, rather than resolving the matter, made it worse.
Along the way he has flip-flopped on so many policies that I have lost track, such as border security and enforcement, the Hyde amendment, late and post-term abortion, healthcare, and many others. His endorsement of free healthcare for all, including illegal aliens, seems to be particularly ill-advised and irresponsible. It seems like every day brings another Biden issue, either a flip-flop, an ill-advised comment, an apology, or a combination of the above.
Biden has appeared to be unprepared for the reality that, as the front runner, everyone will be out to “get” him. He reminds me of a zebra on the Serengeti plain in Africa being besieged by a pack of hyenas, nipping at him here and there with the expectation that, eventually, he will wear down and give up the fight. He is spending all his time on the defensive rather than doing any real campaigning.
What does he stand for at this stage of his career? I don’t know. Do you? Does he?
He is supposed to be the moderate in the race, the voice of experience, the steady hand at the helm of the ship. So, far he has been anything but those things. He has allowed himself to be dragged so far to the left that if he does get to the general election as the nominee he will need a GPS to find the middle where most Americans reside.
All that said, despite his continuous fumbling, bumbling and stumbling, according to the latest polls he is still the front runner for the nomination and the best bet to defeat President Trump in the general election. As of July 7 the ABC/Washington Post poll has him defeating Mr. Trump 53-43. (That same poll showed Harris, Sanders and Warren each either tied with Mr. Trump or ahead of him within the margin of error.)
One might consider that puzzling, but I attribute it to a combination of Biden’s name recognition, the recognition that each of the other candidates is flawed in some way, and the questionable reliability of polls, particularly this early in the process.
The conventional wisdom among Democratic campaign strategists, and even among the candidates, themselves, is that the current field is too crowded and unwieldy, and that it will be winnowed considerably before the Iowa caucuses. Those whose campaigns have failed to catch on by then will see their fundraising dry up, and they will be left with no choice but to withdraw. Already we have seen the first shoe to drop – Eric Swalwell. Others will soon follow.
1. Mike McCauley, a South Carolina-based strategist who worked on Kerry’s and Obama’s campaigns, is even more aggressive. In his opinion, the winnowing will occur by Thanksgiving. He adds that any of the lesser candidates still hanging on after Iowa will be doing so out of “vanity” or for a “cabinet tryout.”
2. “Politico” reports that it has polled several campaign officials, party operatives and officials, as well as Dem activists. Although no one would speak on the record, the consensus was that the winnowing would commence after the next debate scheduled for the end of July. Longshot candidates, such Hickenlooper, Delaney, de Blasio, Gillebrand and Messam, will likely begin to see their financing dry up and be forced to bow to the reality of the situation.
3. According to a recent Hill-HarrisX Poll some 3/4 of Dems and left-leaning independents were of the opinion that there were currently “too many” presidential candidates.
4. Jed Ober, former deputy director of delegate operations for Clinton in 2016, opines that “the reality is there won’t be [even] 12 that [will be] really in the running come Iowa. Max, it [will be] six or seven and it [will] come down to fundraising by that point.”
5. Many observers feel that “Super Tuesday” will be the death knell for any fringe candidates that have managed to hang on through the early primaries. These candidates will simply not be able to mount effective campaigns in so many states simultaneously, and National Committee member Bob Mulholland predicts they “will never get [even a single] delegate.”
Personally, I believe that, shortly, candidates will commence dropping out for the reasons cited above. Many, if not most, of them had no business being in the race anyway. By the end of the primary season, I can see the field being reduced to two or three as we separate the pretenders from the contenders. Who will be the survivors? Your guess is as good as mine. The more intriguing question is will Joe Biden be among them?