Reading the tea leaves, one realizes the sudden rallying around Joseph R. Biden by Democratic Party grandees is nothing more than an act of desperation.
It is an attempt by the powers-that-be to cut their losses and prevent the epic electoral disaster that awaits the party if Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent and avowed “Democratic socialist,” is the Democratic nominee against President Donald J. Trump.
Make no mistake.
Nobody actually thinks Mr. Biden, sometime vice president and senator from Delaware, can actually beat Mr. Trump.
Rather, the sudden clearing of the field, which culminated Wednesday in the exit of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is aimed at protecting the Democratic majority in the lower chamber of Congress as well as the plethora of other down-ballot races across the country.
Democrats are not happy with Mr. Biden. However, they realize he is a much safer choice atop the party’s ticket than Mr. Sanders, who to this day is not a card-carrying member of the party.
Sure, Mr. Sanders has a path to the nomination, but that path is incredibly narrow. Basically, he has to run the table, which seems insurmountable given the fact that the entire Democratic establishment is against him.
Even if the race goes to convention it is unlikely that Mr. Biden could lose, thanks to the impact of superdelegates after the first round of voting on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.
Moreover, the way Democrats have made Mr. Biden their all-but-nominated standard-bearer is sure to suppress Mr. Sanders’ hard-left base, many of whom stayed home or voted for the Green Party nominee in 2016.
By contrast, Mr. Trump has unified the Republican Party. Then there are his strong approval ratings and the country’s healthy economy — coronavirus notwithstanding — all of which put him in a strong position for reelection.
Mr. Trump’s chances would be less certain if Mr. Biden still had his mojo and refrained from embracing the kind of diet hard-left positions that make it impossible for Democrats to win white, working-class voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Just look at his embrace of Beto O’Rourke’s gun-grabbing agenda on the eve of the Texas primary.
Does anyone actually think the Rust Belt voters left behind by today’s Democratic Party are going to vote for a candidate who actively opposes their very way of life? If Mr. Trump placed greater emphasis on cultural and practicing Roman Catholics — the White House seems to forget that not all values-voting, churchgoers are evangelical Protestants — in the aforementioned so-called Blue Wall states that he flipped in 2016 then he would be even more of a shoo-in.
Mr. Biden will undoubtedly employ his tired, old Scranton schtick, but it is hard to see that working.
Especially since he will almost certainly be forced into naming a much more ideologically leftist as his running mate. His choice of a vice presidential nominee will become even more of a factor, given that Mr. Biden has signaled he would only serve one four-year term.
• Dennis Lennox is a political commentator and public affairs consultant. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.
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