It was funny watching talking heads and pundits earlier this month counting Joe Biden out while anointing Elizabeth Warren as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. They saw her numbers going up and Biden’s going down, and as talking heads and pundits are wont to do, they started making bold predictions. But there’s one thing they failed to consider about Biden’s support. He is now heavily entrenched in the minds of non-white voters.
While most were focused on the overall polling numbers released yesterday by CNN that showed Biden at 34% while Warren fell to 19% and Bernie Sanders stayed at 16%, the numbers behind the numbers are the real story. Biden’s rise can be attributed to his jump from 28% in September to 42% in October among non-white voters. This is the group who invariably determine the Democratic nominee, and if Biden’s support with minorities continue, he should finish on top.
But that’s still a big if, not because the voters are necessarily fickle but because Biden is notorious for saying and doing really dumb things. His candidacy has already been filled with gaffes, as expected, but he’s also the regular victim of is own past. Being in politics for four decades means his rivals have plenty of history through which they can comb as they seek reasons for voters to stop liking him.
Unfortunately for them, the media suddenly stopped helping them. After a couple of months of mainstream media support for Warren, Sanders, and to some extent Pete Buttigieg, the groupthink seems to have shifted since the last debate. Anti-Biden propaganda has been relegated to the radical news outlets like Salon and Slate, while traditional progressive outlets like CNN and the NY Times have become much more favorable towards Biden all of a sudden.
His latest major gaffe happened two days ago when he condemned President Trump for saying impeachment was like a “lynching,” then had to backtrack a few hours later when it was discovered he had said the Clinton impeachment was like a “lynching.” Yet this unfortunate turn was sparsely covered by the press. If anything, seeing the hypocrisy prompted news outlets to kill the “lynching” story altogether. After being the talk of the day, it was quickly given the media cold shoulder.
Minority voters pushed Hillary Clinton over Sanders in 2016. Now Sanders faces the same possible fate as he is only getting 16% of non-white Democratic support. But he’s still doing better than Warren who is sitting at 13%.
For the first time since before he announced his candidacy, I believe Joe Biden has a chance at winning the nomination. I still don’t think he’s the favorite, but if the media keeps acting on his behalf, he may squeak through to the general election.
Update: I am a little annoyed CNN’s Chris Cillizza noticed what I noticed. He actually posted a similar story hours before mine. They say great minds think alike. It seems like feeble minds like mine and Cillizza’s do as well.
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