Former Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Detroit for tomorrow night’s debate propelled by a surge, giving him a widening lead both over his rival Democratic presidential nomination candidates and the incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. The major reason for the Biden surge can be summarized in one word: Electability. At the Democratic grassroots nationally, this has become the major criterion for presidential candidate selection.
In recent polls, the electability of Biden, as compared with other Democratic presidential candidates, becomes even more pronounced. He leads Trump nationally in the Fox Poll by ten points, 49 to 39, by far the widest lead over Trump of any Democratic presidential candidate. Yet even more impressive is the lead he has over Trump in the bellwether state of Ohio in the Quinnipiac Poll, 50 to 42. Biden’s Democratic rivals, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg are in a virtual tie in the Buckeye State with Trump.
It is too early to determine whether Biden will be able to sustain his lead over Trump in Ohio. Yet there are two significant inferences one can draw from the present Ohio situation.
No Republican presidential candidate has been elected without winning Ohio since the inception of the GOP as a presidential party in the election of 1856. On Election Night 2020, if Trump loses Ohio, his reelection campaign is doomed. Moreover, an Ohio Biden victory over Trump reported early in the evening will portend that nationally, Biden is likely to win over 400 electoral votes and likewise win a popular vote landslide, with a double-digit percentage margin.
The electability factor behind the Biden surge is evident when comparing his polling results with those of California US Senator Kamala Harris, his principal rival for the center-left Democratic lane. Immediately after the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Harris enjoyed a precipitous rise in the polls vis a vis Biden due to her verbal exchange with him on his past record on busing.
Yet without any significant adverse Harris campaign development, Biden has now regained virtually all of his pre-Miami lead over Kamala, and the electability factor has been the obvious key. Polls also show that the overwhelming majority of Democrats are ideologically center-left, eschewing the Progressive Left theology of US Senators Bernie Sanders (Minnesota) and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts). Barring an unforeseen major adverse Biden development, he should be able to maintain this lead. In the debates, all he has to do is give an above average competent performance of presidential quality.
Polls in the early Democratic contests of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina show Biden with a significant lead. If he wins all three of these races, Joe will wrap up the nomination.
At that point, Joe Biden becomes the face of the Democratic Party. The effort of Donald Trump to portray as the face of the Democratic Party the ultra-left “Squad” of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) will have been totally negated. The Squad will be far removed from the center-stage spotlight. A principal Trump campaign weapon will have been totally rendered useless.
Meanwhile, the Quinnipiac Poll shows that in its early stages, the Trump campaign is in critical condition, nearing the zone of requiring life support.
A shockingly low 32 percent of all American voters say they “definitely” will vote for Trump if he is the Republican candidate in the 2020 presidential election, while 12 percent say they will consider voting for Trump.
By contrast 54 percent of all American voters say they “definitely” will not vote for Trump, matching the “never Trump” total from the May 21 Quinnipiac University National Poll. This “never Trump” tally includes 57 percent of independent voters.
And the job performance approval numbers for Trump are pathetically abysmal. American voters disapprove 54 – 40 percent of the job Trump is doing as president, compared to a 53 – 42 percent disapproval in a June 11 poll.
In my InsiderNJ column of July 16, “The Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign Will Be All About Race” (https://www.insidernj.com/trump-2020-reelection-campaign-will-race/), I made the following prediction:
“So get ready. The Trump campaign in 2020 will be all about race and ONLY about race. And it will be the ugliest presidential campaign of the past century.”
Judging by last weekend’s utterly racist defamatory Trump attacks against an American hero, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), this may be the earliest point in a presidential campaign for a prediction of mine to materialize.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.