by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
After a year of campaigning, discussion, and debate among the Democrats, as of early February the party had decided Joe Biden was the favorite for its presidential nomination: He led in 19 of the 21 national polls taken before the Iowa caucuses. Then people started to vote, and it turned out they didn’t like Biden at all. He finished fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire, and a distant second in Nevada. As of last week, the Democrats had decided to be an openly socialist party: Bernie Sanders led 20 consecutive national polls after Iowa, half of them by double digits. And then, this week, Democrats decided not to be socialist after all: They just gave Biden, the doddering avatar of the party establishment, a resounding Super Tuesday victory. …
… Voting on perceived electability has left the Dems in a strange place, though. Joe Biden? Really? We know Joe Biden. He was in the Senate for 36 years. He ran for president in 1988, and again in 2008, before serving two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president. There is no precedent for a career politician’s reaching the top after such an extended period in the national spotlight. He doesn’t inspire the kind of passion that Obama did and Bernie Sanders does. His appeal seems to rest almost completely on name recognition and his association with Obama. Despite heroic efforts by the media to absolve Biden of any wrongdoing when the Ukraine scandal revealed he’d allowed family members to use his name to rake in huge amounts of money from foreign entities, recent polls put his unfavorable ratings at between 44 and 52 percent.