Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Biden Balance Sheet

Politico: Inside Biden’s Battle Plan

My take: On paper, Biden starts with many traditional advantages (resume, name ID, poll standing, relationships with the senior elected officials, union leaders, and donors in his party).

But those advantages are worth less than they might appear for two reasons. First, we are living in an era in which a significant number of Americans, including Democrats, do not value those traits. In fact, for many, they are negatives.

Second, Biden faces a plethora of serious challenges:

He is an older white male at a time when many in the party want something different in their nominee.

His record as a presidential candidate shows he was as weak at raising money as he was at winning votes.

He will have to spend a lot of time off of the campaign trail at fundraisers in order to demonstrate and win financial support based on events that will shape his schedule as much as any other consideration.

He likely will have trouble drawing crowds, online contributions, and other signs of grassroots support compared with many of the other candidates in the field. The sparseness of this support almost certainly will be glaring.

He has already demonstrated that he is as unskilled as Hillary Clinton at finessing criticism for past statements, votes, and positions.

He will have to deal with even more criticism from the left (along with criticism from the right), about both his own Senate record and the Obama-Biden administration record.

He literally will be unable to explain why President Obama is unwilling to endorse him. Literally.

He largely is surrounded by enablers who believe to the extreme in the virtue of the Biden Brand and are historically reluctant to confront him with bad news or nudge him to adapt.

He is likely to face more questions about, and perhaps more accounts from, women with whom he has interacted inappropriately in the past.

He has lost a notable supply of fire in the belly and overall mojo. Watch any video of Biden from the past year and you will see a changed man. The change is subtle at times, pronounced at others.

He is accustomed to being treated well by the media. He likely is both unaware of — and in some denial about — how much favor he has lost with the press, how much its interest in him has waned, and how he will be treated this run.

He has lost control of his public image. As of now, almost any “good” (i.e. intriguing to the media) Biden story is a negative story for him. It will be one of the major hurdles for his campaign to change that last dynamic. Given the list above, this will be exceedingly difficult to do.

Pelosi: Investigate Don’t Impeach

Speaker has her caucus in line.

My take: Now it is up to House communications aides and investigators to sequence and structure hearings (and coordinate with the Senate) to build a substantive record that either leads to an inescapable impeachment conclusion or a search for the truth that also damages Trump politically in advance of 2020. Henry Waxman and John Dingell had teams that could do this kind of thing really well; do the current Democratic chairs?


Trump approval down nationally to record low, 39%.

Morning Consult.

Buttigieg up to strong 3rd in Iowa in Gravis survey.
Sanders 19
Biden 19
Buttigieg 14
Harris 6
Warren 6
O’Rourke 5
Booker 4
Klobuchar 4

Top of New Hampshire leader board the same.

UNH poll.

Sanders 30
Biden 18
Buttigieg 15
Warren 5
Harris 4
Booker 3
O’Rourke 3
Klobuchar 2

My take: Until someone proves otherwise, Buttigieg is alone in the second tier, and his fundraising roll will only reinforce that trend.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday, April 23, 2019

  1. Mayor Pete’s support is on a rising trajectory with only a bare beginning. He will really stand out in the debates because he can walk and talk with competence, humility, gentleness and vision. He will overtake Joe Biden very early. Probably Bernie too but not early.


  2. Good to see your contributions back. I met you several years ago in the MSP airport on the way to DSM where you participated in a TV program from a coffee shop. You were/are one of my favorite, thoughtful commentators.


  3. This is now my daily must read. Insightful, non-partisan. So pleased you are back.
    I can’t help but agree on your Biden view. Buttigieg seems to make the ‘old’ candidates incl Trump look irrelevant. It’s rare to see a composed politician whose key desire seems to be to do good.


  4. Biden is past his sell-by date. He was the right guy for 2016. He couldn’t get over his emotions and rise to the duty of seeking office, denying the death-bed wish of his beloved son. He likely could have won last time. We need to move on.


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