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“Former Vice President Joe Biden will enter the first Democratic presidential debates with 19 rivals taking aim at him — nine on the night he will be onstage, 10 the night he won’t be there to defend himself. He is the clear-cut frontrunner and his party’s two dozen other White House aspirants have no choice but to try to take him down.
So far, the attacks on Biden’s boast that he was able to work with segregationist Democrats of old — an awkward example of civility to offer an increasingly woke party — seem to have fallen flat. In the latest Morning Consult poll, Biden leads by double digits nationally and wins nearly half the African-American vote. Still, the flap speaks to the needle he will have to thread throughout the primary campaign: maintaining his likeability and positivity in a political climate where nice guys finish last.
A big part of Biden’s appeal is that he is a throwback to a time when politics were less mean and divisive. For many Democrats, that time is 2015, when Barack Obama was still in office (with Biden as his trusty veep) and before Donald Trump took his escalator ride to his own presidential announcement. But Biden obviously goes back a lot further than that, and the pace of social change inside today’s Democratic Party is rapid.
Moreover, rank-and-file Democrats are angry. Where Biden likes to talk about his constructive working relationships with Republicans, many Democrats are outraged by Trump. Where Biden once supported a border fence to combat illegal immigration, many Democrats are incensed about the detention centers housing children near the border and the threatened deportation raids. Where Biden until recently supported a ban on most taxpayer funding of abortion, many progressive activists say “shout your abortion.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."
"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."
"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."
"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."
"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."
"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."
"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."