Joe Biden still not sure of victory

TEHRAN, Sep. 02 (MNA) – Some polls appear to have worried former US Vice President Joe Biden. He is still ahead of his rivals like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren in most polls. Biden knows very well that he will lose power if defeated in the crucial state of Iowa.

Here's a look at the latest news and analysis on the Democrats' intra-party elections:

Fall Campaign Season Begins With Biden Teetering Atop Democratic Field

As The Time reported, Joe Biden sincerely did not understand the hullabaloo about a Washington Post story detailing how the former Vice President had mangled facts about US soldiers and his own role in honoring them. For the life of him, he told his staffers on Thursday between campaign stops in South Carolina, he could not process why journalists, let alone the public, saw this as a problem. He had meant well enough, Biden told aides. The campaign wouldn’t dignify it with a proper statement.

When it came time to do two previously scheduled interviews on the road, Biden stood defiant against any suggestion that he did, in fact, have his facts wrong. He told The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., that he had the “essence of the story” right. And he told a Washington Post podcast that he saw nothing wrong with his retelling, despite having misstated his role at the time, the military branch of the hero, the year it took place and what actually happened.

“I don’t know what the problem is. I mean, what is it that I said wrong?” he asked the Post‘s, Jonathan Capehart. (Biden, for his part, had also said he would not read the story.) After all, President Donald Trump has flubbed the facts more than 12,000 times, according to the Post’s ongoing tally. Surely, Biden deserved some slack.

This is the state of the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination as the unofficial start of the fall campaign arrives this Labor Day weekend. The 76-year-old Biden, whose 1988 bid for the same nomination ended in a plagiarism scandal, is still having trouble mastering basic facts in stories that ostensibly star him.

He has already weathered one round of plagiarism charges in this campaign, brushed past complaints about his non-sexual physicality with friend and stranger alike and delivered two uneven debate performances. The ability to defeat Donald Trump — the centerpiece of his campaign rationale — has become less sturdy as polls indicate other candidates, too, could beat the incumbent in a hypothetical match up. Biden remains the polling leader, although nowhere near as comfortable as when he entered the race in April and then rebooted in May. The once-perceived inevitable nominee has been proven as fragile as his critics warned.

Which explains why, 22 weeks before Iowa hosts the lead-off caucuses, most of Biden’s rivals are not forlorn. Elizabeth Warren is positioning herself — through an impressive political machine with few peers — to possibly win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders knows the history, too; he and Warren both hail from states that border New Hampshire and voters there have never passed on a chance to back a New Englander. In South Carolina, where six-in-10 Democratic primary voters are expected to be black, contenders like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Julian Castro see potential. And then there’s Pete Buttigieg, whose fundraising shows little sign of limitations; 300 people on payroll, including 70 in Iowa and 50 in New Hampshire.

In other words, the Labor Day campaign launch of the frenzied fall push comes at a moment of tremendous peril for Biden, potential for his rivals and promise for Democrats who, above all else, want to beat Trump. First, though, they have to settle among themselves who will get the chance to do so. And, at the moment, it is possible to see paths for most of the mainstream hopefuls.

Biden remains the most plausible candidate, having built up chits over decades in politics dating back to his first election in 1970. But the last week has left some aides more worried than ever. First, during the same New Hampshire day when he bungled war stories, he also told the familiar story about how he entered politics: explaining that the turmoil of 1968, which saw the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., sparked his civic interest. He then asked his audience at Dartmouth College to imagine the raw emotion had it been Barack Obama who was assassinated.

Biden’s critics and even some allies cringed. It’s never a good look to summon a theory about the assassination of the nation’s first black President, especially if Biden was the constitutional successor.

Biden aides sprang to action, in a way not before seen during this campaign, to call out anyone who was being critical or snarky — and to shame journalists who had tweeted the quote without context. It was the first real show of a coordinated rapid response from Biden’s Philadelphia headquarters, and it quieted some jitters among Biden allies.

Then came a poll that showed Biden’s numbers tanking. Monmouth University’s survey — since described by its pollster as an outlier — showed Sanders and Warren each at 20% and Biden at 19%. Biden aides nervously dismissed it as a statistical aberration, which apparently it was. Still, though, it caused some nervous ticks among Biden donors and activists.

The top ranks of the Biden campaign, though, insist the campaign will move ahead as planned. Biden plans stops on Labor Day at Iowa union picnics and two days later will return to Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show stage, where he gave a remarkably frank interview two years ago about his emotional status.

Meanwhile, Biden rivals are churning through events and cash. They may lack that national name ID and fundraising Rolodex, but they have optimism in bounds. They’re not without reason. At this point in 2007, Hillary Clinton was at 37% in Real Clear Politics’ average polls, while Barack Obama was at 21%. Obama, of course, prevailed. Still, it was a much smaller field.

All of this speaks to Biden’s advantages. Unless — or until — his rivals coalesce in an anti-Biden bloc, he may be impossible to stop. Only candidates who win 15% support are eligible to win delegates to the nominating convention in Milwaukee. A brokered convention is entirely possible, which is why Buttigieg delegate chief George Hornedo has been aggressively working the phone with super delegates, who, in a twist of irony, may end having more power than in 2016 to actually decide the nomination. The rules changes passed after 2016 strip super delegates, the party insiders who can back anyone at the convention, of their votes on the first ballot. But if a brokered solution cannot be found, they may end up being called upon to sway the results. The fallout may be nothing short of chaos.

This is why Biden’s backers are trying to win the nomination outright, on that first ballot. Still, the last week shows just how fragile Biden’s advantages are at this moment. The fall campaign will certainly test those advantages further still.

Only a President Biden would rid us of the Trump era

As The Hill reported, Looking ahead to 2020, one question is uppermost in the minds of Democrats: Who can beat Donald Trump? A recent Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Democrats prioritize vanquishing Trump when making their primary decisions; only 39 percent say issues matter most. Former Vice President Joe Biden calls the forthcoming contest a “battle for the soul of this nation.”

This dynamic has powered Biden’s candidacy. Polls show him to be the most competitive Democrat versus Trump. As Biden’s wife, Jill, recently told primary voters: “I know that not all of you are committed to my husband. . .but I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race.” Forty-nine percent of Democrats say Biden has the best chance to defeat Trump; just 12 percent and 6 percent respectively give the nod to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Although Democrats prioritize winning, it may matter more to Republicans who beats Trump and what that would mean. The Democratic race is quickly becoming a three-person contest among Biden, Warren, and Sanders. Others may emerge, but the passage of time makes this extremely unlikely. The three contenders have different strengths. Biden stresses electability; Warren and Sanders say the next president should pursue major structural changes.

These messages resonate with different audiences. Warren and Sanders have significant leads among young voters and those who label themselves either very liberal or liberal. Biden has large advantages among voters aged sixty-five and older and among African-Americans. Donald Trump’s profound political weakness makes the 2020 Democratic nomination especially valuable. Today, only 29 percent say they will definitely vote to reelect Trump; 41 percent definitely will not do so. 

Who becomes a president matter. As Alexander Hamilton once said, ''Every vital question of state will be merged into the question, ‘Who will be the next President?''

For Republicans, Hamilton’s query has particular relevance. If it’s a President Warren or a President Sanders, GOP opposition will quickly coalesce. Trump has been quick to brand both as socialists, saying: “Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country.”

Moreover, he has trademarked Representatives Alexander Ocasio-Cortez (D-Mass.), Ayanna Pressley (D-N.Y.) Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as symbols of today’s leftward-leaning Democratic Party, tweeting: “The Democrats were trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel, and the USA! Not good for Democrats!”

National surveys show a relatively close race. Biden beats Trump by 7 points; Sanders, 5; and Warren and Trump are tied. But an inside look at the polling shows Sanders and Warren doing less well than Biden among independents, Midwesterners, and non-college educated voters. Sanders beats Trump by 8 points among independents; Midwesterners, +2 points; and noncollege educated, +1 point. Warren does worse: independents, +1 point; Midwesterners, -3 points; noncollege educated, -8 points. Biden fares far better:

Independents, +8-points; Midwesterners, +5 points; and noncollege educated, + 3-points.

Each of these constituencies was crucial to Trump’s 2016 win.  He beat Hillary Clinton by 5 points among noncollege educated voters; 4 points among independents; and won the crucial Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa.

The smaller Warren and Sanders margins among these crucial voters point to a razor close finish. Such a result would cause Republicans to see it as a rejection of Trump, not the party’s conservative policies. Unlike in 2012, there would be no intraparty reflection. Instead, Republicans would denounce either Sanders or Warren as modern-day socialists.

But a Biden win – thanks to those crucial independents, Midwesterners and noncollege voters – is unlikely to produce immediate Republican opposition. Biden has never been tagged as a socialist, and his moderation is in line with another popular Democrat: Barack Obama. Under a Biden presidency, Republicans would be more likely to undergo a period of self-examination. Moderate Republicans could find their hitherto silent voices, and Donald Trump would fade even more quickly into oblivion.


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