July 18, 2019

Is Biden Too Nice for This Election?

“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.””

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."