Andrew Malcolm‘s latest McClatchy column ponders Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden’s political predicament.

Joe Biden is in a pickle, a serious one.

He’s the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. But Bernie Sanders, his lone remaining primary opponent, won’t quit.

All presidential candidates are pretty much confined to working from home in this stage of a truly historic, disrupted national campaign. Joe’s in his Delaware house. Bernie’s in one of his New England homes.

Alas for them, Donald Trump is at home too — in the White House where throngs of reporters gather daily for temperature-screenings before transmitting the president’s face and varied messages to millions of Americans desperate for coronavirus updates. …

… The briefings these days show the president being president — and also, of course, the familiar, combative Donald Trump. Meanwhile from Delaware, Biden’s amateurish campaign has set up a faux studio in his basement so the former vice president can attempt to join the national crisis conversation.

Trouble is, the 77-year-old Biden sometimes seems unaware of his location, asking Iowa voters about Ohio, turning his back to TV cameras, walking out of sight during a town hall.

He also often sounds like he’s on too many meds with rambling, even incoherent statements. And then the teleprompter breaks down just as the man who wants access to the nuclear launch codes was going to explain why he sincerely wants to be president. Turns out, without a script, Biden couldn’t really say.

Teleprompters were invented to mask speakers reciting lines, enabling them to look directly at audiences with utmost fake sincerity. The devices have been around since 1948 and in politics since 1952. So, they’re not a newfangled gimmick to master.

That happened in Biden’s basement with loyal staff during an allegedly choreographed TV appearance. Never mind someday face-to-face confronting strongmen such as Turkey’s Recip Erdogan or Russia’s Vladimir Putin.