Does this help or hurt Joe Biden?
That COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down goes without saying.
March came in like lamb and went out like a Tyrannosaur. Or rather, March came in on a bull market, and went out as something significantly less optimistic.
Lives have been lost; as have jobs, 401Ks, businesses, and all the social pursuits with which so many of us used to fill our time. We can’t shake each other’s hands, we can’t even come within 6-feet of each other. Or is it 27-feet?
Soon we will all be wearing masks in public and won’t even be able to share a commiserating smile with a friendly face at the grocery store, that last blessed bastion of social interaction.
Yet there are still things that draw us together as a nation; they are the same things which have always drawn us together: Faith, innovation, resilience, community spirit. There are also things that still drive us apart; they are also the same.
Come what may, the U.S. election that will determine if Donald Trump will stay in office four more years will take place; and probably in November.
The Democratic Party is without a nominee; at a time when it would be very good to have a Demcoratic nominee, someone who could take the lead on keeping America’s citizens informed and uplifted- the ones who vote Democrat, anyway.
A strong Democratic nominee could really be showing themselves to be the kind of leader the U.S. needs in these times. What better opportunity to demonstrate that than in a crisis?
The Democratic Party likely felt it had no choice but to postpone the upcoming convention until August. However, depriving Democratic voters of a standard-bearer during COVID-19 is leaving an information power vacuum.
Voters need information about COVID-19, and about the economic shut downs and shelter-in-place orders that have accompanied it. If they can’t get it from a Democrat they trust, they must turn to the only other source available:
There are those within the Democratic Party who advocate for making Joe Biden the nominee sooner rather than later. Biden, they say, was on-track to become the nominee, and has a healthy delegate lead over his rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
But Joe Biden doesn’t have an insurmountable delegate lead over Sanders.
Joe Biden might have been on-track to leave Sanders with no viable path forward to the nomination, but COVID-19 interrupted the very Super Tuesday contest that would’ve done it.
What a difference month makes. A mere month ago Joe Biden was considered the presumptive Democratic nominee. A mere month before that, Joe Biden was considered by many insiders a long-shot, at best.
In the wake of coronavirus, Biden’s campaign looks perhaps even weaker than it ever did. Weaker even than it looked after Biden’s drubbing in the early voting states and before Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) gift-wrapped the South Carolina primary for Joe Biden.
Biden has not distinguished himself well during the outbreak. After first disappearing, then reappearing in some poorly-done home videos of Biden reading from a teleprompter, Biden did in a few interviews.
His answers were not always coherent.
Biden fans- or rather, fans of the presumptive Demcoratic nominee, whoever they may be- are willing to go to great lengths to interpret Biden-speak. Not everyone will be so accommodating.
Joe Biden, the Biden campaign and Biden supporters are also not eager to engage in conversations about a couple of off-limits topics:
- Hunter Biden. Any questions about Hunter Biden’s lucrative work in Ukraine while his father was Vice President are forbidden.
- Joe Biden’s age. Mentioning Biden’s deteriorating performance on the campaign trail- wandering, forgetting things, losing his temper, not making sense- is verboten.
Biden’s fellow Democrats may have been willing to avoid these hot-buttons; a Biden-friendly press may be willing to cooperate.
Bernie Sanders, in his characteristic unwillingness to go for the jugular, might even be willing to give Biden a pass.
But a new item must be added to this list.
Joe Biden has been accused by a former staffer who claims Biden sexually assaulted her while he was a U.S. Senator in 1993. Biden’s campaign, after issuing a terse denial, has been asked no questions about this accusation.
Mainstream media outlets- the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN- haven’t touched the story. The reasons are as typical as they are nonsensical. Meanwhile, it is clear to almost everyone- who isn’t a Joe Biden supporter- that the mainstream press is not at all objective, and that they aren’t even really all that liberal.
In the six days after Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford made her accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, mainstream media outlets mentioned her name hundreds of times. In the six days since Tara Reade came forward with her accusations against Joe Biden, she hasn’t been mentioned even once.
Media standards have gone to great lengths to justify this sudden-onset deafness with regards to unsubstantiated sexual assault accusations. But empirically, the blatant double standard does not help media credibility with anyone who doesn’t already think Joe Biden should be the Democratic nominee.
Joe Biden has an extensive and well-documented history of making women feel uncomfortable in public. Many women have come forward to share their stories of how Joe Biden crossed personal space boundaries.
It is possible that Sanders supporters who are angry with the mainstream press’s reluctance to cover this story- or at least seriously investigate it- are seeing something moderate Democrats just won’t admit about Joe Biden.
If he behaves this way with women in public, the idea that he might do so in private is entirely too plausible to be dismissed out-of-hand.
As usual, much is being made about the accuser- her history, her credibility. She has been maligned as everything from a Russian agent to a mentally-ill woman who once called Dr. Phil to say she’s in love with Vladimir Putin.
It is no favor to Joe Biden to treat him with kid gloves now; all three of Biden’s hot-buttons will be at Donald Trump’s fingertips from now until Election Day.
Trump might have his hands full with COVID-19 at the moment, but the Trump reelection campaign is still going strong. They aren’t laying anyone off; they aren’t closing up shop: They don’t have to.
The Trump Campaign is sitting on a mountain of campaign cash, powered by the most highly advanced and effective digital marketing campaign strategy in history. A political strategist couldn’t design a campaign better prepared to conduct a presidential campaign online than the Trump campaign.
Trump is also already the nominee of his party. Republicans are united behind Trump in a way few thought in 2016 would ever be possible.
Does the Democratic Party still think Biden can prevail?
With Joe Biden looking less and less like a safe bet, there may still be a chance for Bernie Sanders.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)