It’s all Biden’s fault (sort of)

I’ve long been lamenting that Biden’s run really messed up the possibilities for actually superior candidates.  Nice to see a Michele Goldberg column make that case:

How did it come to this? Mostly, I blame Joe Biden and those in the Democratic establishment who pushed his campaign. It’s been obvious for some time now that Biden is not nearly as vigorous as he once was. While he’s always been gaffe-prone, his speech has grown tentative and meandering in a way that engenders sympathy but also profound anxiety. In Iowa, where voters had a chance to see him up close, the most recent results show him with a distant fourth-place finish. Even if he somehow limps to the nomination, the general election will be a grim slog, like racing on a wounded horse.

Yet with his unmatched biography and name recognition, he deprived younger center-left candidates like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Michael Bennet of oxygen even as he failed to consolidate centrists himself. That’s left the erstwhile novelty candidate Pete Buttigieg as Biden’s strongest competitor for moderate votes, but while he’s shooting up the polls in New Hampshire, he has virtually no support among voters of color.

Like many, including me, Goldberg is worried about Sander’s electability.  But, damn, if every single Sanders supporter I know is not guilty of the Pundit’s Fallacy. (“The pundit’s fallacy is that belief that what a politician needs to do to improve his or her political standing is do what the pundit wants substantively.”) Just once, I want a Sanders supporter to same something like… you know, he may not be the most electable, but I think Trump is so damaged that most any Democrat will win and it’s worth compromising some electability to get Sanders in there.

If I was convinced Biden was the most electable, I’d be firmly behind him.  But, he strikes me as such a flawed candidate, that I am far from convinced.  At this point, I’m thinking Klobuchar is the most likely to defeat Trump, but I’ve very much got an open mind on the whole thing.  And if I thought that the existing evidence suggested Bernie was most likely to beat Trump, I would be as big a Bernie supporter as anybody.  At this point, it is all about restoring rule of law (okay, and some basic consensus Liberal principles, too).

Anyway, to reiterate the main point, I do think it is  a real shame that Biden’s candidacy likely was a major factor dooming the candidacy of other Democrats who were almost surely more electable in a general election.

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