We are told these days that Joe Biden is ahead of President Trump in virtually every measurement of voter preferences, and is leading in most all of those treasured swing states. The polls capturing this snapshot in time indeed paint a rosy picture for the former vice president. While even many Democrats discount polls six months out – especially after their apocalypse four years ago – the raw numbers would seem to provide ample reason for optimism. And yet, do people who follow politics with any degree of seriousness truly accept that Joe Biden is cruising to the decisive victory the polls seem to indicate? You know the answer to that: of course not.
We can enumerate the many ways Joe Biden is deficient as a candidate, but history has proven that arguably the most reliable indicator of a candidate’s chances is the degree of enthusiasm for him and the election itself among the party faithful, or more broadly, among those who self-define as party members.
Unbeknownst to most and buried in the crosstabs of broader polling is evidence of a yawning chasm between the incumbent and challenger in voter enthusiasm. Sarah Cowgill uncovered it recently on Liberty Nation: “… what really points to dismay and apathy within the party itself are these dismal numbers forecast April 29: ‘Republicans (75%) are a lot more enthusiastic about a Trump-Biden matchup than Democrats (57%).’”
Think about that. For more than four years, Democrats have gone scorched earth on Donald Trump, doing everything within their power and often outside the law to expedite his forcible removal from office. And yet, when it comes down to putting their money where their mouths have been since Trump rode down that escalator, now that they are forced to take him down the old-fashioned way – through the ballot box – they don’t just settle on a candidate who was a laughingstock not long ago and still is in many quarters. No, they coerce every other legitimate contender into departing the race so they can clear-cut a path to the nomination for this two-time early-dropout presidential loser.
How exactly can Democrats expect their voters to get fired up when the best they can say about their presidential candidate is that at least he’s not Trump?
If you dive one layer deeper, you see that the enthusiasm number for Biden among Democrats at 57% is almost identical to the disapproval number for Trump throughout his presidency. Putting those two results together, one gets the overriding impression that the only Democrats excited about the race are those who want Trump gone at any cost. More significantly, it reveals zero excitement about their candidate or the election itself, beyond the prospect of vanquishing Trump. There is simply nothing approaching the level of enthusiasm for Joe Biden engendered by virtually every winning candidate in modern political history.
Of course, it does not help that the former vice president has publicly demonstrated a neurological descent, which is unmistakable and presumably irreversible. Or that Biden himself was unmasked for his request to unmask the now exonerated Michael Flynn and is almost certain to be named again in the final report on Obama Justice Department, um, irregularities from Attorney General William Barr. Or that his campaign has repeatedly demonstrated alarming incompetence, unable to pull off relatively simple online events during the shutdown.
Of course, you can hardly pin all the blame on the campaign when the candidate is unable to even properly understand a crucial question about Tara Reade from the friendly George Stephanopoulos, or just look at the camera on his computer during another lengthy interview.
And then there is China. When Trump shut down travel from the source of the virus, Biden called Trump xenophobic and racist. So presumably a President Biden would have allowed such travel to continue, leading to who knows how many thousands more deaths than we have already suffered. And then there is Hunter Biden profiting off his father’s high position in China just as he did in Ukraine, a fact you will soon be hearing much about from the Trump campaign and likely the president himself.
Biden’s problems are exacerbated by the increasing intransigence of blue-state governors on reopening the economy. It is undoubtedly hurtful to the party’s credibility. So is its decision to send forth a succession of prominent leftist women to go full-on hypocrite, jumping to Biden’s defense over the Tara Reade affair. In fact, at this point, the #metoo hypocrisy is screaming so loudly we can hardly remember the Reade accusation itself. Stacey Abrams, that sparkling twinkle in progressive eyes who is openly campaigning for vice president and who was totally down with #BelieveAllWomen, has done a full 180-degree pivot to #BelieveBiden. This, after the accusations out of left field by Christine Blasey Ford, transparently designed to take down a Supreme Court Justice at the 11th hour, were swallowed whole cloth by Democrats with no attempt to corroborate what turned out to be a 100% uncorroborated tale.
Other vice presidential wannabes Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris want nothing to do with Ms. Reade’s allegations. Sen. Warren (D-MA) calls Biden’s denial “credible and convincing,” while Sen. Harris (D-CA) has refused to comment. And then there’s the latest Democrat heartthrob and VP hopeful who has garnered considerable publicity during the pandemic, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Don’t worry; she didn’t leave the reservation either, saying, “The Joe Biden I know, these stories are inconsistent with what I know and what I’ve seen, in terms of work that he’s done to support women.”
If, as some on the left have understandably claimed, Reade’s coming-out at just the right time was privately bankrolled by conservatives, it was undoubtedly as much an investment in exposing naked hypocrisy on the left as it was a serious accusation likely to be pursued by the Biden-friendly elite media.
It is no small matter that the left is now vacating its insistence that all women alleging sexual misconduct are to be instantly and automatically believed. It hardly stokes enthusiasm among the party’s hard-left base, already demoralized by the withdrawal of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and highly dissatisfied with the party standard bearer. But torpedoes be damned, the left will still advance what should be called the GOP exception: If the accuser is a conservative instead of a leftist, then there simply are no standards for the accused to uphold. So that will apparently settle the issue.
But surely there must be some reasons for enthusiasm over the Biden candidacy. Well, based on a generous cross-section of pro-Biden talking heads dotting the airwaves these days, it appears Democrats will try to make their stand on repeating over and over that Joe Biden is a swell guy, a family man, oozing with compassion through his own suffering, and a terrific husband and father.
All admirable qualities if true. But there’s one major problem with putting forward the former vice president’s supposed character traits in lieu of his record, ideology, or vision. Being a compassionate guy who loves his family and has been through trials in his life does not distinguish him from millions of other Americans. And it certainly does not qualify a man to become leader of the free world.
Enthusiasm is the mother’s milk of politics. It leads people to become informed, advocate for their candidate, and wait in long lines and bad weather to vote. Perhaps that is why Democrats are putting up a brave front in trying to claim that Joe Biden’s current standing in the polls points to his inevitable ascension to the Oval Office. Of course, that is precisely what they said about Hillary Clinton.
Read more from Tim Donner.