Wednesday, 04 September 2019

Biden Remains Strong, But Democrats Should Be Worried

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Try as they might, Joe Biden’s contenders for the presidency can’t seem to dent his firm lead in the polls, which means that rank-and-file voters aren’t, apparently, as worried about his becoming the nominee as political pundits are.

Biden’s lead in the Real Clear Politics average is a solid 13.3 points. Message: Voters like the old geezer.

But Biden’s geezing aside, he has some top people worried. In a lament about Biden’s declining mental acuity, for instance, left-wing columnist Richard Cohen wrote that the time has come for Sleepy Joe to step aside.

The Numbers
Today’s RCP average, as they all have, shows Biden in firm control of the race for the Democratic nomination.

Biden’s overall number is 30.4 percent, with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders polling at 17.1 and 16.3 percent, respectively. Kamala Harris is fading fast and well below 10 percent at 6.6. Forget the rest of the field. They aren’t, the numbers show, even close to being competitive with the 76-year-old former vice president, who was born when the Marines were still slugging it out with Tojo’s troops on Guadalcanal.

Just three of the last polls put Biden’s competitors closer than two digits. An Economist/YouGov poll, September 1-3, has Biden at 26, Warren at 22, and Sanders at 14. No one else topped five.

An IBD/TIPP poll of August 22-30 also has Biden ahead by four points, 28-24 over Warren, 28-12 over Sanders. And again, of the rest, not one tops five.

Emerson’s poll of August 24-26 puts Biden ahead by seven points: 31-24 over Sanders. Warren polled at 15.

From there, Biden only gets better. Biden’s biggest lead, 18 points, showed up in the USA Today/Suffolk poll of August 18-25. Biden pulled 32 percent of voters against Warren’s 14 and Sanders’ 12.

The Harvard/Harris survey of August 26-28 also had Biden at 32 percent, 16 points ahead of Sanders and 19 points ahead of Warren.

Two polls, Quinnipaic of August 21-26 and The Hill/Harris X of August 23-24, ended with Biden 13 points ahead.

And the latest Politico/Morning Consult survey, August 26-September 1, gave Biden a 12-point margin.

Six of the eight polls give Biden numbers of 30 or above. The remaining two have Biden at 28 and 26. Thus, Biden’s average of 30.4.

Of note are Warren’s numbers versus Sanders’. Though Sanders bested Warren in five of the last eight polls, Warren polled so much more strongly in three of them that she now stands in second place in the RCP average.

Democrats Concerned
Whatever the strength of Biden’s numbers, top Democratic Party people are likely worried.

Karl Rove, a former top aide to President George W. Bush, said Democrats are in a quandary.

“There’s a tension inside the Democratic Party,” he told Fox talker Sean Hannity. “Nobody went into this race thinking Joe Biden was the perfect candidate — he already ran for president a couple of times and fell flat on his face.”

The thinking inside the party, Rove said, is this: “We think he’s the most electable — he’s not as liberal and as far out as some of these other candidates, but he is a little goofy.”

Goofy Biden has always been. The real problem Democrats face is nominating a candidate, possibly, on the long slide to dementia.

“Bid farewell to Joe Biden,” wrote left-wing columnist Richard Cohen, whose own salad days wilted long ago.

Biden’s gaffes, the Washington Post columnist wrote, “continue feeding the impression that he is a touch gaga.”

That’s not the case with Elizabeth Warren, who is an ideologue (that’s not an insult) — or with Bernie Sanders, another ideologue (that is an insult) or with some of the other Democratic presidential candidates, who at the very least benefit from not being white males.

After the obligatory shot at President Trump, Cohen averred that Biden, “on his own,” is a “geyser of flubs.”

Biden’s problem is not only today, but also tomorrow. He is 76 and, if elected president, would be in his 80s before the end of his first term. Not even Winston Churchill had all his faculties at that age. And while Biden, who unlike Sir Winston does not have whiskey for breakfast, seems in excellent physical shape, his campaign thus far gives no reassurance that he is of keen mind. On the contrary, his confused statements betray a certain confusion....

Biden’s unheard campaign tune is “September Song,” an old man’s lament for young love. It plays silently in the background, as sad as aging itself. “And I’m not equipped for the waiting game,” the man sings. Neither is Joe Biden.

Politically speaking, the Democrats are in an unenviable position. If the party nominates Biden, the most electable candidate, it might well have given the reins to a man who is or will soon become non compos mentis. If the party permits the hard left to nominate one of the others, it might well have another George McGovern on its hands and a repeat 1972’s 49-state shellacking.

Photo: AP Images

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