How Political gods Lined up in Joe Biden’s Favour

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He went from a strong front-runner to almost an also-ran, but as it would later turn out, the political gods had other ideas. Former Vice president Joe Biden spent years as the solid runaway front-runner in the Democratic presidential primaries.

The primaries were his to lose.

Until the actual voting began.

Hitherto, little known Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg won an anticlimactic and bungled  Iowa caucuses, which in effect, denied him the prime time rave reviews and front page news coverage that is normally accorded the winner of the first in the country presidential nomination contest. This act of political malpractice denied Mayor Pete the requisite bounce that normally comes with winning Iowa.

It essentially levelled the playing field heading into New Hampshire. But as the results started to trickle in, it was clear that the race was a two-way contest between Mayor Pete and Senator Sanders. Biden never rated a mention much less place at the top-tier level.

Biden’s breathtaking political descent hit a crescendo when  the Vermont Senator won the New Hampshire primary with Mayor Pete coming in second place. Still, Biden was nowhere near the political radar. The murmurs about a sinking Biden started to become loud noises and the media was ready to pen his political obituary. Eager to put the two contests behind, Biden raced to the only place that he believed was going to be his game-changer – South Carolina – on New Hampshire primary night no less.

Senator Sanders would later win the Nevada contest with Biden finishing a close second. But there was another political rabble-rouser carpet bombing the airwaves with hundreds of millions of dollars. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg was busy inundating Americans with ads touting his experience and readiness to lead. Bloomberg’s main target was the black voters in South Carolina, a state that was Biden country and expected to be his “firewall” should everything hit a cul de sac. Polls started to show Bloomberg eating into Biden’s support among African Americans.  It was the last thing that the Biden campaign wanted hear. A loss in South Carolina was going to deal his campaign a fatal blow.

By hibernating in his basement, Biden is denying the Trump campaign a much needed ingredient of their 2020 electoral recipe.  And while at it, his numbers and support continue to grow as his opponent self-destructs on a daily basis with outlandish prescriptions for tackling the coronavirus. 

” We know Biden and Biden knows us,” an emotional Jim Clyburn declared in his emphatic endorsement of the former vice president. Jim Clyburn is the nation’s highest ranking elected African American the House of Representatives. He serves as the Majority Whip and represents South Caroline’s 6th Congressional district. He went on to escoriate the Biden campaign as a poorly organized outfit that needed a reboot. He was right.

Since Biden  officially entered the presidential campaign much later than his opponents, top-shelf talent in the consulting world were already taken.  He had no field offices, no national presence and was largely relying on political goodwill which, going by the numbers at the time, was not helping him.

Field organization be damned! As it turned out, the nervous black voters in South Carolina just needed  some reassurance after watching former Obama’s number two struggle in the first three contests.  Clyburn’s words were all the doctor ordered. Biden won the South Carolina contest in a crushing landslide. His victory was so decisive, that it made most of the other moderates in the race to rally behind him.

In an instant, a candidate with nonexistent field network and a shoestring budget was now winning in States that he never campaigned in!  It was clear that moderate Democrats were thoroughly worried about a Sanders nomination for they knew that a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist had no chance against President Trump. It was like a switch was turned on Senator Sanders saw his hopes of being the Democratic nominee sublime in plain sight.

Right now, Vice President Biden is the presumptive nominee because Senator Sanders’ campaign closed shop and he along with the Party Poobahs  have  since endorsed Biden for President.

It is now a contest between President Trump and Mr Biden. To many a Democratic supporter, Biden was essentially the only choice for they are only interested in who can defeat President Trump and since virtually all polls since the 2016 election have all indicated that Biden stands a better chance of beating the incumbent, the Democratic voters seem ready to pull the lever for their guy.  All exit polling from all the primary contests have indicated that Democratic voters consider defeating the incumbent as the number one issue.

But with the COVID 19 pandemic halting all physical campaigns and consigning Biden to his basement in Delaware while Trump is busy dominating the TV screens with his daily briefings, some Democrats wonder whether Biden’s lack of “airtime” is a negative. I hold the view that Biden being confined to his basement in Delaware is a blessing in disguise because this prevents him from political freestyle on the hustings where, in a blink of an eye, he can blow verbal gasket and send tongues wagging for days! He is a walking gaffe-machine that uncork very spectacular fodder for cable TVs and send his political team on a frenzy trying to clean up.

In his basement, he is relegated to relying on carefully crafted messaging within the watchful eyes of media and political strategists. This is why we have not been treated to jaw-dropping verbal faux pas save for the unnecessary “Trump may postpone the election.”

Granted, his opponent is not Shakespeare either. But he is the beneficiary of a well coordinated conservative media blitz and propaganda network that is working in concert with his campaign. There message? The former VP has lost a step and is not mentally fit for the highest office in the land. While this may sound like political hokum, if recited over and over with the aid of some of Biden’s spectacular gaffes, it may just be enough to change a few minds. Remember Trump won the election by just over 77,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 77,000 out of tens of millions of voters!

By hibernating in his basement, Biden is denying the Trump campaign a much needed ingredient of their 2020 electoral recipe.  And while at it, his numbers and support continue to grow as his opponent self-destructs on a daily basis with outlandish prescriptions for tackling the coronavirus.  He is now reportedly threatening to sue his campaign manager because of his dwindling poll numbers.

The political gods maybe on to something.

Mike Dande is a political analyst based in Washington DC.

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