It’s long been said that people who heard the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate on radio thought Nixon won, and those who saw it on TV thought Kennedy won. Well, Joe Biden might have a similar problem. Those who watched Thursday’s debate on TV thought Biden ended the night battered and a bit bumfuzzled, but still standing. But those who read a word-for-word transcript of what he said might think that the fight should’ve been stopped before he suffered permanent brain damage.
For instance, what he had to say about gun control seemed a bit garbled live, but I tend to be forgiving of public figures who make slips of the tongue, since I know it’s a simple human error everyone is subject to and that opponents and the media (same thing if you’re a Republican) love to make a federal case out of it. In Joe’s case, though, when you actually read what he said about guns, it’s not a slip of the tongue. It’s more like a tongue getting caught in a ceiling fan. His comments sound like someone took a gun grabber group’s pamphlet and tossed it into a Cuisinart.
Kyle Smith at National Review uses those comments to set up an intriguing column on how Biden is blowing his big advantage (being seen as the only moderate, electable choice) by chasing after the far-left Democratic primary voters that all the others are courting. Smith has some surprising numbers that illustrate just how small that faction is, even as a percentage of Democrats, despite its overpowering influence on the party, the primaries and the media. They’re like a mouse squeaking through Led Zeppelin’s amplifiers.
I warned all rational voters that they will need to start paying attention and showing up to vote in smaller local elections because radical leftists are targeting those elections to get people into office with a handful of votes, there to undermine the entire system (like the recent elections of leftist district attorneys who immediately announce “reforms” that amount to no longer prosecuting a long list of crimes.)
By the same token, the radical far-leftists can only control the primaries and oust moderate incumbents with socialist firebrands if more reasonable voters fail to show up at the polls. Note that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who thinks she now runs the entire House, is only in office because supporters of incumbent Joe Crowley didn’t think they needed to show up for the primary, which she won with only 15,897 votes to his 11,761. And in that deep blue Bronx district, whoever wins the Dem primary wins the general election. So she would not be in office if it weren't for fewer than 16,000 primary voters in a district with nearly 692,000 residents.
Smith makes another good point: Biden’s strength was actually that he was the most “generic” Democrat possible. But the more he flip-flops to far-left positions like free health care for illegal immigrants and taxpayer-paid abortions to win the primary (which shouldn’t even be necessary, considering most Democrats oppose those positions, if they’ll just show up to vote in the primaries), the less he looks like a safe, generic choice and the more Trump looks like the only normal option. (I’ll bet it pained the editors at National Review to have to okay a sentence calling Trump “normal.”)
This also reflects on something I’ve warned people about for years: pay no attention to any polls that pit Trump or any other candidate against an “unnamed opponent” from the other party. No ballot ever included the option of “Unnamed Democrat” or “Unnamed Republican.” As soon as a name is attached, voters have to assess a human being with a long record of decisions, experiences, opinions and mistakes. At that point, all bets are off. In that sense, as long as Joe Biden is Joe Biden, he never had any hope of slipping under the radar as “Generic Democrat.”