This impeachment against Donald Trump couldn’t have come at a worse time…for Joe Biden.
Whether former Vice President Joe Biden knows it or not, the Biden campaign is in serious trouble.
Biden is what some in the fly-over states Democrats desperately need to win in 2020 might colloquially call a “day late and a dollar short.”
While refuting nagging reports of low campaign fundraising numbers, and lavish spending on private air travel, Biden confidently touts the great number of campaign headquarters the Biden campaign has just opened.
Sometimes when Joe Biden thinks he is defending himself, he is actually digging himself in deeper.
Joe Biden isn’t saying what he thinks he is saying by bragging about campaign headquarters. He is trying to convey the impression that the Biden campaign is coming along nicely, thank you very much for asking.
What he is actually saying is that the Biden campaign is even more trouble than even he knows. Not only are Biden’s financial resources and donors dwindling, his campaign is spending the resources they do have very badly.
Biden is also saying he doesn’t understand the fight of his life he is in against a true brawler like Donald Trump. Someone should have told him there was a war on back in 2017.
The re-elect President Donald J. Trump campaign is running a digital operation so sophisticated it has replaced bricks and mortar campaign headquarters with an app. Trump’s team is mobilizing campaign volunteers and organizing for 2020.
Joe Biden is trapped in 1996.
No doubt Biden has been lulled into a false sense of security by polls that continue to show him soundly beating the Democratic field, and Trump, by considerable margins.
But Democrats, as they ought to have learned in 2016 the hard way, should be deeply mistrustful of polls.
Polls have a few problems from the outset, no matter how carefully designed or flawlessly implemented. Polls are, always have been and ever will be, a sampling of people willing to be polled; not the general population.
This distinction is very important. Not everyone is likely to respond in a poll or elect to be surveyed. In fact, people who hold strong opinions, on whatever topic is being polled, are far more likely to agree to be polled than an average person without strong views.
Heading into 2020, in addition to the problems that have always dogged polls, there are a number of technical, systemic problems with polling systems that haven’t quite caught up with the fact that landlines have become largely a thing of the past.
In 2016, some polls gave Donald Trump a 10% chance of beating Hillary Clinton, with a concession that they were being generous; some polls actually put Trump’s chances at zero.
We all know how that turned out.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, seems to have forgotten it.
Biden’s tendency to dig himself in deeper seems to run in the family. The Biden campaign’s handling of the Hunter Biden situation, which was lamentably bungled from the start, cumulated in Hunter Biden’s recent television interview where he admitted to “poor judgement”.
The younger Biden’s admission of “poor judgement” is a vulnerability for the Joe Biden for President campaign, and Donald Trump will not hesitate to put that ill-timed admission on repeat for voters from now until election day.
That the Biden campaign didn’t anticipate questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, Romania and China while his father was Vice President and Obama administration point-person in those countries, shows a considerable weakness.
If Joe Biden was blindsided, he has no one to blame but his own staff. Who, according to reports, have always been too cowed by Joe Biden to question him about Hunter. Someone should have told Joe Biden, yesterday, that Donald Trump was going to be coming for any and all low-hanging fruit.
Democrats pulling punches on Joe Biden during the debate on the subject is equally senseless. In that scenario, you have Democrats refusing to justify something with a response on one hand, and Trump cornering the market on the narrative on the other.
A plum like Joe Biden’s son making $50,000- $80,000 a year from a questionable Ukrainian energy consortium previously under investigation for corruption was not something the Trump campaign would consider verboten.
That Hunter Biden and Burisma are so intricately linked with the current impeachment proceedings being held in the House of Representatives, and the corresponding media circus around it, should have tipped off the Biden campaign, if nothing else did, that this story wasn’t going away.
Finally, the Biden campaign has trotted out a website to deal with the “misinformation” circulating about Hunter Biden. But it is too little, too late.
Biden’s weakness after the story about the Trump impeachment over the Ukrainian call linked to Hunter Biden and Burisma broke, began a chain reaction that has utterly unraveled Biden’s chances of becoming President.
The bad optics over Hunter Biden’s Burisma ties, and the Biden campaign’s poor handling of the matter, combined to majorly spook Biden donors at the worst possible time. Democratic donors, it would seem, suddenly began to wonder if Biden could make it through a contentious primary followed by an even more contentious general election.
This loss of confidence in Biden resulted in poor third-quarter fundraising numbers, causing even more Democratic donors to question whether they should hold off on donating to the Biden campaign until the dust settles on Burisma and Hunter Biden.
Once donors and elite Democrats began voicing their concerns about Biden, another domino fell against Biden’s chances in 2020.
Responding to the weak front-runner, and his potentially being overtaken by Democratic socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren, two new major Democratic names have entered the race.
The late entrance of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick can’t be viewed as anything but a moratorium on the current candidates in the race.
And, as both are moderates, their late entrance is especially damning for the Biden campaign.
Deval Patrick, in particular, must rankle Biden. Patrick is a protege and close personal friend of former President Barack Obama who would not have entered the race had Obama not given him the nod.
While Obama has been careful not to endorse any Democratic candidate running for President thus far, a vote of confidence for Biden would have meant encouraging Deval Patrick not to run.
At a time when the Biden campaign is already floundering financially, out-classed digitally, and losing momentum by the day, the entrance into the race of Deval Patrick may be viewed as the beginning of the end of the Biden campaign.
But in reality, the beginning of the end came for Joe Biden when he failed to counter Trump’s Hunter Biden/Burisma haymaker. Dogged by the questions, beleaguered and belabored, Joe Biden never quite recovered.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)