If there’s one thing we should have all learned from the 2016 election it’s that nobody knows anything anymore. But pundits gotta eat so everyone is weighing in on Joe Biden’s chances at being elected president. And they’re all pretty much agreed that he has no chance. He’s too old/too white/too handsy/too prone to gaffes/too out of touch with the left wing base of his party.
When I heard that Biden was going to announce his third bid for the presidency with a video message, I thought “Well, THAT’S a mistake.” Everybody knows that you need to make a big, splashy live announcement. Preferably set in front of an inspirational backdrop that will connect voters to the theme of your campaign. Like Amy Klobuchar’s announcement in the middle of a blizzard.
And then I watched the video. Biden has made Donald Trump and his boorish behavior the theme of his campaign. Again, I thought it was a mistake to launch a campaign focusing on your opponents flaws (which are numerous and well documented) instead of on your own attributes.
And yet, he’s dominating in the polls.
Biden was the front runner before he ever entered the race. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Biden far in the lead with 38% of the voters. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are a far distance 2nd and 3rd with 12% and 11% respectively, followed by Pete Buttigieg with 10%. None of the other candidates even hit double digit support.
Biden is not only leading, but he’s leading across all demographics. He gets 39% of women voters and 25% of younger voters. And yet the political chattering class keeps telling us he’s not young enough and hip enough to appeal to the Millennials.
But the most important stat is this: 56% of voters think Biden has the best chance to beat Trump. And that is going to be the most important issue in 2020. I don’t put any faith in the poll showing that 20% of Sanders supporters say that they would vote for Trump over Biden. After all, how many of us “Never Trumpers” actually stayed true to that pledge? I mean, I did, but I watched the majority of them cave around me. The same will most likely hold true for Democrats next year. Or, as a liberal friend of mine put it “The Democratic party can nominate a dead cat and I will still vote for it.”
Personally, I’m betting on Biden to win. Literally. My friend and fellow writer Steve Berman have bet dinner at the Varsity on this. Steve foolishly thinks that Biden is going to be the Jeb! of 2020. I think that Biden will not only become the nominee, but that he will beat Trump like a drum.
That campaign announcement video may be derided by Republicans, but it’s registering with voters. More importantly, it’s got Trump playing defense and how often do you see THAT happen? I woke up the day after Biden’s announcement to hear Trump on Mark Levin’s show saying that he didn’t say what he said after the tragedy in Charlottesville. (And spare me the “hoax” nonsense that Trump didn’t say what he said. He SAID there were “good people on both sides” even though he claims he was referring to the heritage protesters, not the alt-right protesters. And the only people marching that night in Virginia were the losers with the tiki torches chanting “blood and soil.”)
Joe Biden has apparently homed in on what will be the essential issue for the 2020 campaign. It won’t be the economy. It won’t be free education or free healthcare. It won’t even be immigration. No, 2020 will be all about Trump just like everything has been for the last 4 years. If you’re sick of being led by a president with no redeeming moral values whatsoever who knows nothing, cares for nothing, and stays up all night Tweeting insults to his enemies (of which there are many) then you’ll vote for whomever the Democrats nominate. Period.
Four years ago, the election experts all repeatedly said that Donald Trump had zero chance to win the Republican nomination despite the fact that he repeatedly led in the polls. And now they’re all saying that Joe Biden has no chance despite the fact that he too is consistently leading in the polls.
Will Republicans make the same mistake next year that Democrats made in 2016? Will they remain so convinced that Trump can’t lose because of the good economy that they won’t see the blue wave coming? After all, Trump won 3 states by a total of less than 80.000 votes. And one of those states is Pennsylvania – where Joe Biden kicked off his campaigning. Another polling stat that Republicans might want to pay attention to is this: 52% of voters say they definitely won’t vote for Donald Trump no matter what. All the Democrats have to do is persuade them to vote for their nominee. And Hillary Clinton won’t be on the ticket this year.
I’ve kept a newspaper clipping from 1987 that shows Gary Hart announcing his presidential campaign. It was a great picture of Hart standing on a rock surrounded by the Colorado Rockies. I cut it out at the time because Hart was considered the front runner at the time and I wanted it to remember if he did win. But I’ve kept it all these years as a reminder: nobody knows what will happen in a presidential campaign. And sometimes, the front runner actually wins.