While Democrats of the progressive camp argue over how far to the ideological left their party should go in 2020, old-style liberals and moderates insist that should not be its principal focus.

The focus, they say, should be excising the poison injected into the American political bloodstream by President Donald Trump, who is running roughshod over the nation’s historic commitments to racial, ethnic, religious equality and freedom of the press.

Hence the primary question has emerged from the start: Which of the 20-odd Democratic presidential aspirants has the best chance to defeat him in the next election? The first obvious yardstick is the numerous public-opinion polls, but they are hardly foolproof, given the variety of measurements with which voters weigh their options.

From the outset of the current political cycle, former Vice President Joe Biden has been the polls’ consensus front-runner, whether from his wide name recognition or long public service. At the start of his 2020 candidacy, he offered himself as the Democrat best qualified for the presidency and best positioned by experience and temperament to oust Trump.

Probably unwittingly, the sitting president cooperated by targeting Biden as “Sleepy Joe” at age 76 who “has lost his fast ball.” Rival Democrats in the progressive camp, meanwhile, occupied themselves striving to be that bloc’s candidate, for a time largely leaving Biden to focus on Trump.

In that process, two of the progressives running closest to Biden in the polls, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have been vying to be their wing’s alternative to the front-runner, with Sanders slipping and Warren inching upward in the various voter surveys.

One lesser-known poll, by Monmouth University last week, showed Biden falling out of the lead, dropping to 19 percent support behind Warren and Sanders at 20 percent each, yet but still comfortably ahead in three other major surveys.

But late last week, The Washington Post reported Biden misremembering the dates and details of several earlier campaign events in which he interreacted with American combat heroes in the Middle East. The report flew in the face of his oft-recited assurance of “my word as a Biden” that it could be taken to the bank. He defended the essence, if not the literal account, of a recipient of the Silver Star declining having Biden pin it on him because the colleague he had sought to save died.

This latest bump in the road came after his campaign had run a television ad in which former second lady Jill Biden sold her husband as the best Democrat to beat Trump, though other party contenders might be better than Joe on certain issues.

Much can happen in the months leading up to the first state primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina starting in February, and then a blockbuster Super Primary in 13 states including California on March 3, which in the past took place in the last weeks of the primary season.

In 2008, Barack Obama seized on the Iowa state caucuses, upsetting Hillary Clinton there. But in 1987 in Iowa, Biden saw his first presidential bid collapse amid allegations of plagiarism and the pressures of chairing the failed Supreme Court nomination of conservative jurist Robert Bork.

In 1991, Biden was criticized for his handling of the high court nomination of Clarence Thomas, who won narrow confirmation. Biden voted against confirming Thomas in the wake of testimony of sexual improprieties from Thomas employee Anita Hill, who later contended she was treated unfairly, though she herself decided against giving further testimony.

Such old episodes and the latest account of his garbling his account of a Silver Star recipient no doubt will be revisited once more in the press in days ahead. In the meantime, the former vice president will be better served touting his own current agenda for saving “Obamacare” and the country by getting rid of President Trump.

(79) comments

awteam2000

It would be more enlightening if someone wrong an editorial explaining why one would vote for Trump. I have my opinion.

stjohn42

This column, and Biden's whole message, seems to be less about why he is good and more about how his opponents might not be good. Logically, we should vote for the person who can do the best job. I think the number of "moderates" who have not already made up their mind about Trump one way or another is pretty small, compared to the number of highly liberal/progressive voters who sat the last election out and might need a candidate who reflects *their* values to come out in 2020.

awteam2000

Funny... no one is pushing the merits of the current president that makes him worthy of re-election. No arguments on his behalf. 🤔 Trump doesn’t help himself by altering a NWS map to coverup his mistake in where the hurricane path of Durian was forecast to go. He only exacerbates his incompetency as president, serving no purpose, only defending his own insecurities. A joke, but scary.

rikkitikkitavvi

Uh oh sharpiegate here we come.

awteam2000

Of course at a press interview on how Americans are in harms-way of a hurricane, we would won’t to hear about why Trump said Alabama was in the way of a hurricane. 🙇‍♂️

How about-

Dumb-gate

Crayon-gate

Magic-marker-gate

I don’t know what the ‘Hell’ I’m-doing-gate,

Or maybe, ‘I have no empathy-gate’

Trump didn’t want to go to Poland. So, he sent Pence-instead-gate.

phydeaux994

The look on Trumps face while he was denying knowing anything about the “addendum” on the weather map was great. “I don’t know” “I don’t know”....hurry hurry, change the subject. And his “acting” Homeland Security Director, he chooses to be there I guess. Why, you ask? Once you’ve sold your Soul, you’re in for the duration.

threecents

Just a little fake news to chuckle over.

des21

Trump's best chance of reelection is his likely opponent (and i don't think it'll be Biden.) Most Americans don't want to live like Scandinavians. Sorry commentariat but that is true. Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders dream of such a nation-state. Thankfully, most Americans- for the time being at least- do not and would rather have even one as objectionable as Trump rather than be Sweden. You all can explain why they (and I) am wrong but that doesn't make you right.

seanjames

sweden, denmark, norway, and finland are #s 2, 3, 4, and 6 in highest quality of life in the world. the right in the US spends all their time screaming about how terrible those countries are, but the people that live there disagree

gabrielshorn2013

Why Nordic countries might not be as happy as you think

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45308016



-"More and more young people are getting lonely and stressed and having mental disorders," one of the report's authors, Michael Birkjaer, told the Guardian newspaper.

-In Denmark, 18.3% of people aged 16 to 24 said they suffered from poor mental health - with the number rising to 23.8% for women in that age bracket.

-The report notes that in Finland, which ranked as the happiest world country in 2018, suicide was responsible for a third of all deaths among the age bracket.

shiftless88

If you add up suicide and homicide in the US (there are basically no homicides of young people in Finland) it is about the same here. When violence takes fewer and good health care keeps people from dying by neglect, suicide will clearly rise in percentage even if the absolute rate is about the same.

seanjames

Finland's suicide rate is by far the highest of those countries, yes. but that implies there's likely a unique reason for that (btw Finland is almost identical to the US). as far as young people being more and more disaffected with this world, that's hardly unique to that region. and if i had to guess it would be more due to the looming threat of climate change and rising global fascism than universal healthcare (which, btw, probably inflates those numbers in and of itself, since many depressed americans can't afford to go to a doctor so it goes un-diagnosed)

thump1202

By what criteria? And when taken as aggregate all those massive cities with massive problems will certainly drag the whole rating down. I'd argue life in Frederick would rate higher than life in East side Baltimore.

shiftless88

des; I think that if people actually knew what those countries were like instead of the conservative propaganda they believe, they would be more convinced. But perception is everything and the conservative propaganda machine (powered by the insurance industry) is pretty strong.

DickD

Right or wrong, Dave, over 50% will never vote for Trump. I don't understand why you are enamored with Trump.

rikkitikkitavvi

So you say dick. Nobody thought a lot of people would vote for him in '16 but here we are. Never underestimate the silent majority.

seanjames

lol "silent majority." conservatives are a overwhelming minority in this country yet are the loudest most obnoxious bloc by a mile. their political voice is hugely inflated due to the way the senate is constructed, the electoral college, gerrymandering, etc, yet all they do is whine about how they don't get their way enough. the "silent majority" narrative is the biggest crock of tish in a sea of it

seanjames

btw trump got 27% of eligible voters in 2016. so saying over 50% wouldn't vote for him is actually a huge understatement

threecents

Ironic that you call the deplorable voters a majority, when Hillary received a lot more votes.

awteam2000

Interesting... Trump would like Scandinavians to live here. Trump wants to favor immigrants from the Scandinavian Peninsula rather than immigrants from other nations, which he referred to the latter in a very derogatory sense. But Scandinavians doesn’t want to be associated with Trump, showing no interested. Even The Prime Minister of Denmark said Trump is absurd in thinking he could purchase Greenland.

Btw, why did Trump claim his father was born in the Netherlands rather than the Bronx’s? Just another lie?

Dwasserba

76 is the new 73. Go Biden!

rikkitikkitavvi

As I said here's blood in your eye.

threecents

Last time I voted for Hillary in the primary only because I was convinced that she was more electable than Bernie or MO'M. We will never know if that was correct or not. My point is that it is hard to know who is most electable - at least for me. I think a better criteria is who you think would do the best job as president - which is different from who has the best plans and policies. Right now it looks like Biden has a huge advantage because there are only three top candidates, and two of them are so much alike that they are splitting the progressive vote.

rikkitikkitavvi

"who you think would do the best job as president"? TRUMP of course.

threecents

Absolutely - If you think Trump would do the best job, then you should vote for him. But first consider conferring with a mental health specialist or an exorcist.

DickD

It bothers me that Bernie and Elizabeth are too far to the left - for me anyway. And that could cause more voters to vote for Trump. Give us a moderate Biden or someone like him, perhaps Steyer.

seanjames

sanders beats trump in many of the states that lost clinton the election, though. the rust belt in particular. biden doesn't excite literally anyone and running entirely on supposed electibility and simply not being trump is all but guaranteed to be a repeat of 2016. it is appallingly clear at this point that most people (especially young people, whose turnout is imperative to a dem victory) are not ok with the status-quo. and biden is the absolute embodiment of status quo

Dwasserba

This is true, and it is concerning. As a parent of a 23 year old, I live with how THE CLIMATE is their issue and Joe could register more urgency, that he clearly may not feel.

thump1202

I agree that Sanders would have likely beaten Trump but he's all washed up now after getting a beach house for supporting Hillary and Warren is a corporate Democrat in disguise who advanced with cultural appropriation, she doesn't pass the purity test for the left. Progressive Democrats are also only about 8% of Americans, they're just the loudest and rowdiest.

rikkitikkitavvi

"...all washed up now..." Hahahaha. He's been washed up since he was born, a socialist.

rikkitikkitavvi

Not hardly Never happen. Young people? You mean the indoctrinated into socialism right?

shiftless88

I cannot seriously imagine switching a vote to Trump because you liked Biden but think that anyone else is too far left. Recall we have Congress to check any drastic changes. So Dick, would you vote for Trump if Bernie is the nominee?

DickD

Absolutely not!

shiftless88

That's my point; as long as Dems put a viable candidate up front then I think most Dems and independents will vote for them.

thump1202

If the current field stands this will be the lowest turnout election in recent history. Parachute in Michelle Obama or someone like the Rock assuming he's somewhat reasonable or just forget it. Look at the ratings of the recent Dave Chapelle Netflix special if you want to see how much the average American wants what the far left is floating instead of the tiny audience twitter, CNN, and MSNPC bubbles.

richardlyons

Delusional.

thump1202

What a great argument, my mind has changed now [rolleyes]

seanjames

netflix doesn't even release ratings what are you talking about

richardlyons

[lol]

threecents

[thumbup]Seanjames. Absolutely correct.

thump1202

Way to move the goalposts, I was talking about rotten tomatoes ratings that were 99% support on audience release despite professional critics in the 30s.

shiftless88

sean; how dare you confuse them with facts!

threecents

Sorry, Thump, rotten tomatoes "doesn't pass the purity test for the left."

seanjames

lol rotten tomatoes is a hugely flawed system that is easily susceptible to manipulation, especially for political purposes. movies have been flooded with negative reviews before they're even released because their very existence annoyed the goobers

rikkitikkitavvi

Tubi TV is better.

thump1202

Anything that does pass that smell test will fail it soon enough until you're all alt right, that's what has been going on with moderates the past few years.


threecents

Thump, I Loved the Chapelle special and it's message against "Cancel Culture." But I am still a Warren supporter. If you really listened to Chapelle, you would have seen that his real message was not to think like him but to think for yourself.

thump1202

I've only seen clips, i dropped Netflix years ago when their content started drying up. The clips were good though, I'll have to bum a watch off a friend who has it. Sounds better the more I hear about it.

Dwasserba

Bill Maher said Oprah.

rikkitikkitavvi

I hate ocra. It's too slimy when cooked.

threecents

Parachute The Rock to run in the Republican primaries! He can fight Trump for the highest Nielson ratings.

rikkitikkitavvi

Super Tuesday is in February right? Better get it in gear then.

thump1202

The Rock is a pretty solid Democrat from his long form interviews

threecents

Trump and his favorite daughter and son-in-law were pretty solid Democrats too. What do you think changed all three of them?

rikkitikkitavvi

Might as well nominate hilarious again for all the good it will do.

david_gaithersburg

The Democratic party is dead and remains in name only, the Stalinists have full control. America needs for Democrats in the US to form a new party, or somehow oust the Stalinists.

phydeaux994

The only “Stalinist” in America is Donald J. Trump who loves Putin’s strong leadership style......“In reality, the misdeeds of Putin’s regime pale in comparison to the scale of Stalin’s crimes. But increasingly, the Russian president is actively rehabilitating the Soviet dictator’s record, working to paint him as a strong leader who saved the world from fascism. The goal is to bolster Putin’s own “strongman” leadership style in the eyes of ordinary Russians”...and Donald Trump.

rikkitikkitavvi

Russia, Russia, Russia. That's as catchy as Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

Comment deleted.
thump1202

Why do Americans need to pick between Hitler and Stalin just because you want a Marxist utopia? I prefer MLK, JFK, and Eisenhower sort of leadership.

Comment deleted.
seanjames

MLK was a socialist, so i guess your vote goes with Bernie ;)

Comment deleted.
thump1202

He was apparently also a woman abuser, history isn't very nice to people anymore is it? His comments were moderate at best, he wasn't calling for the end of capitalism, simply more social programs. Remember the era he lived in, I'd be curious to hear his opinion on our current structure where the suffering is much less.

rikkitikkitavvi

None of them are even remotely electable with their far left "We know better than you and will shove our socialist views down your peon throats whether you like it or not."

richardlyons

[lol]

phydeaux994

Check out the Dem Prez Polls rikkitikkitavvi, the voters are liken’ Biden. And agreeing with Palosi and Schumer, “Middle-Roaders” all. When AOC and the “squad” take over the Party, call me, we’ll talk.

rikkitikkitavvi

The bartender and her "squad" are out next election phydo.

shiftless88

Yet amazingly they are all polling well ahead of Trump.

rikkitikkitavvi

POLLS? [lol][lol][lol][lol][lol][lol][lol][lol][lol][lol]

DickD

Yes, ric, but you think Trump is unbeatable, which is why we enjoy having your comments here to lighten our day. Now, let me join the others with a good laugh. [lol]

seanjames

trump is not unbeatable, but if the dems nominate biden it will be 2016 all over again mark my words

threecents

SJ, I don't necessarily doubt you, but hy can't Biden win? Republicans somehow worked themselves in a tizzy of hatred toward Hillary, genuinely believing she was corrupt and should be in jail. Looking back, I should have seen that more clearly, as it went back to when Bill was president. I remember being shocked when the WFMD "morning mayor" called her a _itch back then. I don't see that hatred toward Biden. I get the impression his foibles are not hurting him at all with the bible belters. I think they find those endearing more than anything. They voted for Trump for goodness sake.

seanjames

the people who loathed hillary are not voting for biden anyway. if you're looking to convert trump voters, you're looking at it the wrong way imo. you don't need trump voters, you need the people who didn't vote at all. and those people will not be compelled to get out and vote for joe biden

threecents

Good point Seanjames, but here is why I think your argument fails: Turnout is everything in a close election. Republicans had a good turnout because they hated Hillary. On the other hand, you could argue that progressive Democrats won't turn out if Biden is their candidate, but I think there is enough anti-Trump sentiment that they will. But it is all guesses at this point.

seanjames

if biden ends up being the nominee, i hope you're right. he's obviously preferable to trump. but the narrative being floated is that we have to vote for him in the primaries because he's the only hope in the general. and it's simply false. even if all you care about is who will beat trump, biden is *still* the wrong choice

DickD

They are marked. [beam]

Dwasserba

But if you are laughing, you haven't met his fan base. Dairy farmers going broke, tearfully selling off the cows which are their livelihood, but hey, "Trump said."

DickD

It's really hard to vote for someone who is causing you to go bankrupt. Especially as he violates the emolouments clause to enrich himself.

threecents

I hope someone has a plan to help the dairy farmers. Canada even wants a big tariff on American milk because it is too cheap and could wipe out their dairy farmers. that should be brought up at the next Democrat debate (next week).

rikkitikkitavvi

But hey "Obama said..."

rikkitikkitavvi

I do because he is if the dems don't cheat. So sorry I'm late. Started a part-time job and need my nap. Gonna wish me a happy 58th b-day there Dick old buddy? It was yesterday.

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