A presidential candidate’s spouse can be one of a campaign’s most important assets. Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, is no exception. However, according to Fox News, Dr. Biden gave her husband a strange endorsement.
“Speaking at a bookstore in Manchester, N.H., Dr. Jill Biden urged voters on Monday to consider the ‘electability’ of her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, ahead of the 2020 Democratic primaries, and how they may have to ‘swallow a little bit’ with the Democratic front-runner in order to defeat President Trump.
“I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that, but I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race,’ Dr. Biden said.”
Dr. Biden went on to note that for any Democrat to win the 2020 general election, he or she is going to have to attract independent and Republican voters. She also suggested that most people, even Republicans, cannot be “proud of” President Trump, largely because of what some see as his off-putting behavior.
She ended her talk by saying, “So yes, you know, your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, healthcare than Joe is, but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘OK, I personally like so and so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”
Usually, when someone is touting someone for political office, especially the presidency of the United States, one aspect of the sale is the candidate’s agenda. The person running for office will create jobs at home, make peace abroad, give more people access to healthcare and education. Jill Biden acknowledged that on policy issues alone, Biden is out of sync with most Democrats. Biden is an old, establishment politician. Democrats like things like Medicare for All or the Green New Deal.
However, Fox News also notes that, at least according to its polling, Biden has the best chance to beat President Trump; in 2020. Biden is ahead 50 percent to 38 percent. The poll numbers have caused Trump to wonder “what is going on” at Fox News? To be fair, most analysts believe that head to head poll numbers over a year before a general election are meaningless. Trump was behind Hillary Clinton in the polls days before he won in 2016.
A more recent CNN poll has some good news for Biden and little but heartburn for his Democratic opponents. Biden is polling at 29 percent, up seven from a late June poll. Kamala Harris, who seemed to threaten the former vice president after giving him a thrashing in the first Democratic debates, has plunged from 17 percentage points to just five. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren round things out at 15 percent and 14 percent respectively, Mind, Iowa and New Hampshire are still months away.
Still, the poll numbers tend to prove Jill Biden’s thesis that Democrats should care who can best beat the president than someone pure on the issues.
“Biden is also bolstered by those voters who say their top priority is choosing a candidate with a strong chance of beating President Donald Trump, a group that makes up 54% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters (35% in that group support Biden). That group has shrunk slightly since June when 61% said defeating Trump outweighed nominating a candidate who shares your positions on major issues.
“While Democrats do not appear sharply divided on this question by ideology (53% of liberals and 57% of moderate or conservative Democratic voters say beating Trump is more important), race (54% among whites and non-whites prioritize beating Trump) or partisanship (52% of self-identified Democrats prioritize beating Trump as do 59% of Democratic-leaning independents), there are notable divisions by age and by education among whites, which highlights the challenge facing candidates when they attempt to appeal to those on both sides of this line.”
The bottom line, according to political analysts, is that Biden’s main strength is that he polls well against President Trump. The question that arises is that what if the vice president’s continued gaffes start to cast some doubt on this idea? If Biden proves to be not up to the rigors of a campaign, how can he be expected to handle himself against Trump, a man with a great deal of vigor, especially for a man of his age? The question, looking at history, will only be answered as the various primaries start and the huge slate of candidates start to be winnowed down.