Liberal Pundits Blame Biden for Falling Behind Trump in Polls

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President Joe Biden is trailing, and liberal pundits are increasingly saying he has mainly himself to blame.

The New York Times’s Ezra Klein unfurled seven theories for why Biden is losing to former President Donald Trump. “The electorate hasn’t turned on Democrats; a crucial group of voters has turned on Biden,” he writes.

Biden is losing to Trump in states where Democratic Senate candidates are still ahead. “The point here is that Democrats have a Joe Biden problem, not a partywide problem,” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait writes. “Regular, mainstream Democratic candidates are holding up just fine in the purple states.”

That’s why the Democrats in those races are in some cases running away from Biden. “If you go out there and do a focus group, the focus groups all say, ‘He’s 200 years old. You got to be kidding me.’ And the worst part about it is for unaffiliated voters or people that haven’t made up their mind, they look at this and say: ‘You have to be kidding us. These are our choices?’ And they indict us for not taking it seriously,” The Hill quoted an unnamed Democratic senator as saying.

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“We’ll see how much gravity we can defy,” the senator said of Democrats running ahead of Biden in the battleground states, implying Biden could have reverse coattails.

Jeremy Mayer pleaded in a USA Today op-ed for Biden to drop out. “He sincerely and accurately believed that he was the Democrat with the best chance to beat Trump [in 2020],” Mayer writes of Biden. “Now, he is one of the few national Democrats who could get Trump reelected.”

“Mr. President, you’re one of the few Americans old enough to remember when conventions were fascinating and powerful,” he continued. “They’ve become predictable and almost pointless. Why not pull a surprise on the Republicans, and let the convention pick the nominee for the first time in decades?”

Think of the ratings, Mr. President!

Political consultant Douglas MacKinnon is a Republican, but he doesn’t think Democrats should give Biden the option. “Again, every single Democrat I speak with wishes they had someone other than Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris as their nominee come November,” he writes. “Be that someone California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.”

“If Democrats were to nominate Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, he’d beat Trump like LeBron James posting up Kevin Hart,” Mayer writes. “There are many others, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.”

“There is still a very viable escape hatch come the convention in August should the Democrats choose to use it. An escape hatch that would allow them to switch out Biden for Newsom or another candidate,” MacKinnon continues. “Until that hatch is welded closed, I believe it will remain a realistic option. An option desired by countless Democratic voters across the nation.”

This is also what many Republicans most fear — having nominated Trump, the Democrats switch out Biden for someone younger and with more plausible deniability about inflation and the border.

Trump’s lead is too small, and Biden and Harris are both too unlikely to cooperate with this scenario, for this to come to pass. Biden has so far swept the Democratic primaries, winning by landslide margins even when “uncommitted,” his only real opponent, gets a nontrivial share of the vote. It wouldn’t look very small-d democratic to replace him with someone who didn’t bother to run in the first place.

But it is a trend in elite Democratic and liberal opinion that should worry the Biden camp. If this is what people are willing to contemplate with Trump ahead by 1.1 points nationally in the RealClearPolitics polling average, what happens if the Democrats lose ground? Or if Trump gets a mistrial, or even an acquittal bounce, should he not be convicted in the New York hush money trial?

The Biden campaign would like Democrats to be patient. Trump’s polling lead isn’t that big. The polls arguably understated Democratic support in the midterm elections and some special elections. Team Biden believes it has the better ground game. The decision to debate suggests Bidenworld has some sense that the incumbent is losing, but outside allies see a five-alarm fire.

“What I fear Biden’s allies will do is deny the polls until Democrats wake up, as they have before, to the shocking news that Trump has won,” Klein writes, adding, “The first step toward winning is changing course when you’re losing.”

We’ll see if Democratic convention delegates arrive at a similar conclusion.

W. James Antle III
W. James Antle III
Executive Editor. He was previously politics editor of the Washington Examiner, managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative.

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