Trump Reportedly Sees Joe Biden As His Biggest Threat In 2020

Notwithstanding his dismissive public rhetoric about the former Vice-President, Donald Trump apparently sees Joe Biden as his biggest potential threat in 2020.

Axios is reporting that Joe Biden is the potential 2020 challenger that President Trump fears the most:

Advisers to President Trump say Joe Biden is the Democrat he most fears running against, and that Pennsylvania is the state he worries most about flipping against him.

Trump’s calculation is based partly on how weak he sees other Democratic possibilities, including Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, and partly on who’s capable of appealing to his base of working class whites

  • Biden, sources tell me, doesn’t think Trump is morally or politically fit for the Oval Office.\
  • The former vice president, who at 75 is three years older than Trump, pines to run and will test the waters this fall.
  • But family considerations could prevent him from ultimately pulling the trigger. Biden sees the same opening Trump does with working class voters, especially in Democratic states like Pennsylvania that Trump won.

Trump advisers say says Biden, like the president, conveys authenticity, is comfortable in his own skin, can work a crowd, and relishes throwing and returning punches.

  • Biden could — and would — needle Trump, and get under his skin, with a brio that few other big-name Democrats could muster.\
  • He has kept his connection to his birthplace — Scranton, Pa., emblematic of the working-class, Rust Belt territory that joined Trump Country in 2016.

A Democratic source close to Biden said he’d be strong with “Obama-Trump voters” in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin where “the blue wall became the red threat” — Obama won them twice, then they flipped narrowly to Trump.

  • These are white, working-class voters who aren’t college graduates (or have some college) and are anti-Washington. They voted for the anti-establishment candidate (Obama) in 2008 and again in 2016.
  • Biden allies say he’d be a strong candidate partly because he has nothing to lose — his last run would give him a sense of liberation.
  • This fall, Biden will build up chits with Democrats by traveling every week to appear with candidates for House, Senate, governor and state legislature, and will make a slew of endorsements. In between, he’ll work on the Biden Cancer Initiative, the Biden Institute and the Biden Foundation.

The article goes on to note that advisers close to Trump believe that Pennsylvania could be the hardest state for the President to hold onto regardless of whether or not Biden is the nominee. Trump won the state twenty months ago by less than 45,000 votes, becoming the first Republican to win the state since George H.W. Bush did so in the 1988 Presidential election. Along with his equally narrow wins in Wisconsin and Michigan, all of which together amount to less than a 78,000 vote margin in his favor, Trump won the 46 Electoral Votes that he needed in order to put him over the top in the Electoral College and become the 45 President of the United States. Without these three states, Trump would not have become President, and there has been much post-election analysis that has suggested that at least part of the reason he did so well in these states is because the Clinton campaign had lost focus on the Midwest notwithstanding the alarm bells being set off by Democrats on the ground and outside the campaign, including former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and former President Bill Clinton.

In any case, given the importance that these Midwestern states, as well as Ohio, which the President won by just over 446,000 votes, it’s not hard to see why Biden or a candidate like him is one that the Trump campaign would view as a threat. While his two previous bids for the Presidency in 1988 and 2008 were, to be charitable, less than successful, the former Vice-President has long been able to appeal to the very same white working-class voters that Trump relied on to propel him to the Presidency. Indeed, it was in no small part due to his appeal to those voters that Biden was selected to be President Obama’s running mate. Assuming that he’s able to win the Democratic nomination, a 2020 Biden candidacy could end up being a huge headache for Trump, especially if his job approval numbers remain in the doldrums that they’ve been in since he took office in January 2017.

All that being said, a Biden candidacy in the 2020 General Election could be easier said than done.

First of all, of course, there’s the question of whether or not Biden really wants to run at all, or whether he’ll be prepared mentally and physically for the rigors of what would likely be a rigorous campaign for both the Democratic nomination and the General Election. Two years ago, of course, the former Vice-President ultimately demurred on running after flirting with the idea in the early autumn of 2015. At that point, though, the considerations had more to do with the fact that he would have been getting into the race fairly late due to the fact that he had essentially put the decision to run on the back burner after his son Beau saw his cancer take a turn for the worse, and ultimately take his life, in the early summer of 2015. In any case, all of that happened when Biden was in his early 70s. He’ll be 76 this coming November, and approaching 78 when the 2020 election rolls around. Even if he wants to run for President one last time, which seems quite apparent, the question of whether or not he’ll be up for the challenge is an open one that, in the end, only Biden can make for himself.

Second, even if he does decide to enter the race Biden’s future is by no means secure. As I noted above, both of his previous bids for the Presidency were ill-fated, and that does not bode well for another run in 2020. His 1988 run, of course, was over before the voting even started after he got caught up in a scandal involving plagiarism both of speeches by Neil Kinnock, who at the time was the leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, and during his academic career. Thanks to these allegations, Biden ended up withdrawing from the race in September 1987. Twenty years later, Biden mounted a race for the Democratic nomination in 2008 but found that he was quickly overshadowed by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While this campaign was better run than the one twenty years earlier, Biden ended up withdrawing from the race after he came in fifth in the Iowa Caucuses behind not only Obama and Clinton but also North Carolina Senator John Edwards and former New Mexico Governor and Clinton Cabinet member Bill Richardson. On January 4th, the day after the Iowa Caucuses, Biden ended up dropping out of the race. Despite all of this, of course, Biden went on to become Barack Obama’s running mate and, arguably, one of the most influential and successful Vice-Presidents since the end of the Second World War.

Finally, there’s the question of how Biden will play in the Democratic Party if he does decide to run. Obviously, if he does run Biden is likely to garner significant support from many of the same party insiders that Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and 2008, but the aftermath of the 2016 race between Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is still being felt inside the Democratic Party and it is by no means clear that the more center-left message that Biden is likely to run on compared to other potential candidates such as Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamal Harris, and others will be enough in the Democratic Party of 2020. Additionally, it appears that the Democratic nomination fight is likely to be as crowded and as hard fought as the Republican race in 2016 was. Because of the fact that party rules require that delegates be awarded proportionally based on vote share, it could be harder for a candidate like Biden to break away from the crowd in the manner that he would need to in order to put the “progressive” challenge behind him early in the race.

All of that being said, there’s a lot about Biden that should make him an attractive candidate for Democrats and other Trump opponents in 2020 if he does decide to run. In addition to his appeal to working-class voters, Biden has also proven that he can dish out the same kind of stinging rhetoric that Trump does, and that he can do it without damaging his public image. Additionally, there’s the fact that Biden comes across as a far more likable candidate than Trump does (although that’s not saying much), something that could prove to be important at the end of the first four years of what is already an exhausting Trump Presidency. While he will have to deal with issues regarding his age and health, and there would be much speculation about whether he could potentially even think about being a viable two-term President given his age, there’s something to be said about the prospect of a Trump v. Biden General Election that would be worth looking forward to. So, Joe, the ball is in your court. The only question is whether you want to pick it up and run with it one last time.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Con men instinctively fear authenticity and integrity. Trump’s not wrong to fear Biden, but he’s wrong to imagine he should only fear Biden.

    Trump got 46% of the vote at a point where significant numbers of voters could still hope he’d grow up. He has not. He got 46% of the vote against Hillary who’d been brutalized by decades of misogynistic lies and was never a charming or authentic campaigner.

    Trump is upside down in polls consistently, from a low 10 point gap to a high of 14 points. He has never approached 50% support. The enthusiasm gap is huge and in Dem’s favor.

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  2. Kathy says:

    I doubt very much Biden will run for 2020. I won’t speculate, as we’ll know for sure about a year from now, months before Star Wars Ep. IX premieres.

    I will say I wish he had run for 2016.

  3. Kylopod says:

    Trump advisers say says Biden, like the president, conveys authenticity

    Uh huh.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    I’m a fan of Biden but hope he doesn’t run. He is simply too old.

    I also find it fascinating that Trump looks out at the Democratic field and finds the oldest white guy and says “That’s who I have to worry about”.

    I’ve been through enough Presidential election cycles to know that the person who is “obvious” early on does not mean all that much. Not nothing, but not all that much. Reagan was a moderate surprise. Carter came from nowhere. Clinton came from nowhere. George W. Bush was not a complete surprise being a Bush, but was considered the unlikeliest member of that family. Obama came from nowhere. Trump came from so far back he had to travel far just to get to nowhere. In fact, as I look at this list, it seems that the candidates who were the most obvious and most strong ended up on the losing side, both in the general (Dole, Hillary Clinton, McCain) and often in the primary (Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton).

    So go ahead Trumpy-boy. Focus all your energies on Biden.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The biggest threat to Dennison, in 2020, is Dennison.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    My biggest fear about Dennison is that he would do what he promised to do:
    Health Care for everyone
    Tax cuts for the middle class
    Fix China/NoKo/Iran/the ME (any one of them)
    Stay out of wars
    Not be a puppet to Putin
    Be good on the environment
    Be good for “the blacks”
    Be good for “the gays”
    If he had done even some of those things, instead of doing the exact opposite of them all, he might be unstoppable.

  7. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I also find it fascinating that Trump looks out at the Democratic field and finds the oldest white guy and says “That’s who I have to worry about”.

    Might our racist, misogynist president already have a plan for dealing with the woman/person of color on the Dems’ “must have” list? Might having to run against another white man force Trump to come up with a contingency plan?

  8. Pete S says:

    @Kylopod: If Trump advisers had any self-awareness at all I would assume they meant that as an insult.

  9. wr says:

    Trump also sees Canada as a bigger threat to the US than Russia.

    And he seems to think that 2020 will be an exact rerun of 2016, except that group of 70,000 who swung things his way might go to Biden. He only won because a lot of voters sat on their hands, not liking either candidate (and many of the confident that Hillary had it locked down). It’s going to be a very different electorate in 2020 — there are tens of millions of Americans who will crawl over glass for the chance to vote against him.

  10. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    If he had done even some of those things, instead of doing the exact opposite of them all, he might be unstoppable.

    If he had done any of those things, his base would have deserted him. Worse, his base would criticize him and call him names.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:

    If he had done any of those things, his base would have deserted him.

    His base will never desert him. Bunge, JKB, Guarneri, and the rest of the base, are voting with their emotions and not their brains…nothing is going to ever make them stop adoring Dennison. Never, ever.

  12. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Another thing is that there’s always a “grass is greener” dynamic when it comes to candidates. People idealize a candidate until the moment they’re actually in the spotlight and their weaknesses become the focus of attention.

    I like Biden a lot, and of course he’s smart and well-qualified. But what I don’t get is why so many Democrats talk about him as if he’s some kind of awesome badass. From watching him over the years, my impression of him is that he’s long-winded and verbose, with an inordinate habit of putting his foot in his mouth. This is the guy, we should recall, who in 2007 described Obama as the “first mainstream African American” who was “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” And that’s just one of many, many examples throughout his career. During the Obama years both right-wing media and a lot of the comics depicted him as silly and ridiculous, which is no doubt what they’ll do if he becomes a candidate again. They’ll find an angle with which to attack any candidate, of course. But I’ve seen no evidence that Biden is particularly adept at deflecting that kind of attack.

    For liberals, he has many of the same questionable votes that Hillary was castigated for, such as voting to invade Iraq. During the 2008 vp debate he talked about how voting to authorize the use of force wasn’t the same as voting to invade blah blah blah–the same groan-worthy explanation offered by John Kerry four years earlier and which Hillary would give for years until finally coming clean that her vote was simply a blunder.

    Notice that I haven’t even mentioned his age up to now. Everything I’ve said would apply if he were 30 years younger. Of course it only reinforces the attacks Republicans would make against him if he somehow emerges as the nominee. This time he won’t be just silly and ridiculous, a plagiarist with bad hair who called Obama “clean and articulate” and talked about immigrants in 7-11s, he’ll also be a confused senile old man. (You don’t think they’d “go there”? Hah!)

    From Dukakis to Gore to Kerry, Dems have a history of nominating candidates who seem to walk around with a big “kick me” sign attached to their backs, and Biden falls right in that tradition.

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    During the Obama years both right-wing media and a lot of the comics depicted him as silly and ridiculous, which is no doubt what they’ll do if he becomes a candidate again. They’ll find an angle with which to attack any candidate, of course. But I’ve seen no evidence that Biden is particularly adept at deflecting that kind of attack.

    Biden deflects attacks that he is silly and ridiculous by being silly and ridiculous. When Biden says something dumb, people expect it — they roll their eyes a little and say “yeah, that’s Joe, but his heart is in the right place.” And his heart is in the right place.

    So many of his gaffes have a bit of a racist tinge, but it’s the racist tinge of a man who was raised a little too racist and is trying so hard and it comes out wrong. He’s a white man embracing a multicultural world and getting it 95% right. It’s authentic and it’s relatable.

    The people who make a big deal of it are the people who are never going to vote for a Democrat anyway.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    His base will never desert him. Bunge, JKB, Guarneri, and the rest of the base, are voting with their emotions and not their brains…

    Did you ever read “The Marching Morons” by Cyril Kornbluth?

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    The people who make a big deal of it are the people who are never going to vote for a Democrat anyway.

    Now where have I heard that before?

    Oh yeah–it’s what people were saying about Hillary’s “scandals.”

    (Full disclosure: I was one of the people making that argument. But I wasn’t the only one.)

  16. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump is 72. Per your logic, too old to run in 2020.

  17. de stijl says:

    Joey, I’m not angry anymore.
    https://youtu.be/OdpTcvSn8HQ

  18. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Another thing is that there’s always a “grass is greener” dynamic when it comes to candidates.

    Yup. Colin Powell, Mario Cuomo…

    The next politician who lives up to all the hype of their campaign, will be the first. That said, Biden in 2016 would have provided a very viable alternative to Clinton, meaning the Democratic primaries would have been a real race rather than a coronation march.

    If he’d defeated Clinton, and who can tell, he might have won the election vs El Cheeto. Not for certain, as there were many factors involved in that fiasco as well. But the salient one, IMO, was the high negative rating Clinton held. The next factor was the intense hostility towards Clinton among the GOP base and much of the mainstream.

    On the downside, I think Democratic and independent turnout may have been depressed, because everyone knew Clinton would win, so why bother taking the time to vote? And this might have been bigger with Biden as the candidate.

    Overall, I think he’d have won, had he run, but there is no way to ever know for sure. And that’s why I wish, retroactively, he’d have run. To be honest, I assumed the GOP would win, until it was clear El Cheeto would be the nominee. That’s when I began to worry, and wonder why virtually no Democrats had challenged Clinton.

  19. de stijl says:

    Biden is a decent joe.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: One problem with going through the whole “what could have happened” with a different candidate is that Hillary wasn’t always this unpopular, and her numbers crashed very rapidly. In 2012, as I mentioned the other day, Gallup recorded her favorables at 66% positive, 27% negative. Even by this point in the 2016 cycle–mid-2014–it was still pretty high: 58/39, slightly better than where Biden is now according to recent polls, and a lot better than where he was in mid-2014. (I presume that at the time his numbers were being dragged down by association with Obama, who at that point was not very popular.)

    Now I’m not saying her weaknesses were impossible to anticipate. I’d had my doubts about her viability as a candidate from as far back as the early 2000s. The point is that a candidate’s public image can change drastically once they get in the game–and usually it’s for the worse.

  21. Jen says:

    Another thing is that there’s always a “grass is greener” dynamic when it comes to candidates. People idealize a candidate until the moment they’re actually in the spotlight and their weaknesses become the focus of attention.

    This needs to be printed on wallpaper and plastered in every Democratic HQ, at least in the loo where it can be stared at and pondered on.

    I like Biden, but no thanks.

    Democrats badly need a bright, shining new light. Someone that as @MarkedMan: notes, “comes out of nowhere.”

    Anyone with prior baggage really shouldn’t apply. That includes Biden, Sanders, anyone with the last name Clinton (or Bush, in case one of them gets really scrappy and decides to run as a Dem). I’d like a nice red state Dem, but a swing state Dem would be fine too.

  22. Arnold Stang says:

    @Kathy: I think of that story a lot these days.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    From Dukakis to Gore to Kerry, Dems have a history of nominating candidates who seem to walk around with a big “kick me” sign attached to their backs

    Maybe. But there is an alternative explanation. I think the Main Street media and the public in general expect the Dems to adhere to unrealistically high standards. And I think they expect Republicans to be bloviating liars. Look at the way Reagan was treated. Bush the second. Paul Ryan. The list goes on. So Democrats are excoriated in the press for any little deviation while Republicans can say just about anything and all they get is “Republican said the world is flat, Democrats disagree”, or “Mr. Republican, how do you answer those who say the world is round?” and then let Mr. Republican blather on about tax cuts.

    Couple that with the tendency of the press to be shameless gossips who just love getting the dirt on someone. I can’t tell you how many times I heard supposedly left-leaning journalists make a snarky comment about how Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet. Or the countless hours and headlines devoted to Kerry’s “betrayal” in Vietnam. These were the sleaziest of lies, the exact opposite of the truth, but the press and “sophisticated” voters repeated these calumnies until they became gospel.

    Trump exists because Republicans are not held to any standard, while Democrats are held to unobtainable standards.

  24. Kathy says:

    @Arnold Stang: I’ll buy that for a dollar! 😉

  25. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I checked. According to Real Clear Politics, her ratings begin to go negative in April 2015, and stay down around mid-June 2015. This strengthens my feeling that Biden could have won the primary, though that depends on whose answers got those rating negative (ie everyone or mostly Republicans dan Independents).

    Until we can travel to parallel universes and check, we’ll never know. Still, I like to play with counterfactuals and see what I can learn.

    Clinton was electable, no question. I had thought during the early stages of the primaries she’d lose against Rubio or Cruz. When Trump got the nomination, i held hope for a bit that Clinton might win, but that didn’t last. Intellectually, I thought she’d win, but I couldn’t stop worrying she wouldn’t.

    And as full disclosure, I never cared for Clinton as a candidate. She was qualified, sure, but too transparently ambitious. given her opponents in the primaries, she deserved to win; and that goes triple for the general election. The fact that she lost says how flawed she was. I hope she’s smart enough not to run a third time.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Did you ever read “The Marching Morons” by Cyril Kornbluth?

    You know, that was a story I read as a young teenager and it struck me as quite profound in a funny way and so it stuck with me for years. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of rereading it a few years ago and, my god, it is Ayn Rand with better writing and a sense of humor, but with racism. Eugenics as a comedy. Hard to believe it was written after the Holocaust.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl:

    Trump is 72. Per your logic, too old to run in 2020

    Yes. He is.

    It’s not really a factor of age alone. Warren is 69 but she’s a regular dynamo. But Joe has had a tough, hard life and it shows. He is not as sharp as he was. He was a great Vice President but I’m glad he never had to assume the mantle. I’ve despised Trump since he came to my attention during my NY years, but it’s also obvious that he is not the man he once was. He was always a moron, but my god, he’s a doddering moron now. He wanders and repeats himself, loses track of what he’s saying and comes back to some point or story he made just ten minutes before. He was never the sharpest crayon in the box but he could bloviate sensibly 30 years ago. Today, he bloviates completely insensibly.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump exists because Republicans are not held to any standard, while Democrats are held to unobtainable standards.

    I agree 100%. But clearly some Democrats handle the situation better than others. Let me give a couple examples to illustrate what I mean.

    During the 2004 Democratic Convention, John Kerry didn’t voice one word of criticism against President Bush. I can scarcely believe it as I write it, but it’s true. The overriding theme of the convention was that Kerry had an exemplary military record. A certain state senator talked about how there was no red and blue America. Bill Clinton came on and mentioned how he, unlike Kerry, had dodged the draft. Basically, the Dems were apologizing for one of the flaws of the most recent Democratic president who was still extremely popular, clarifying that their nominee did not possess that flaw, and calling for unity–this at a time when the sitting president’s approval rating was below 50%. That’s what I mean by walking around with a “kick me” sign attached to their backs.

    Another example: During one of the 2000 debates Al Gore described having traveled to a Texas fire site with James Lee Witt, and it turned out he’d traveled there with a different official, and traveled with Witt on another occasion. At the next debate Gore was called on it, and he said, “I got some of the details wrong last week in some of the examples that I used, Jim, and I’m sorry about that. And I’m going to try to do better.” That was it. What he should have done was launch into Bush and the press for crucifying him over such a trivial blunder, then he should have pointed out how Bush twisted the truth over far more substantive matters. He didn’t do any of that–and so the picture of him as the more dishonest of the two persisted.

    Pointing out that the press stacks everything against the Democrats through their superficiality and false equivalence, while true, isn’t going to win elections for them–but finding candidates who are more adept at confronting this situation will.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    This strengthens my feeling that Biden could have won the primary

    It would have been highly unusual if Biden had stepped into the race and challenged Hillary for the nomination. Hillary was essentially the White House’s hand-picked choice for Obama’s successor. Indeed, I think that if there’d been a fight for the role of “heir apparent,” it would have increased the possibility of splitting the vote so that an insurgent candidate such as Sanders would have won. This only drives home the point that hindsight is 20/20. There were so many unpredictable variables that I totally understand why Biden was reluctant to enter the race. It was a mistake to nominate Hillary–but the bulk of the mistake happened many years before 2015, when she was being groomed as the party’s heir apparent so that hardly anyone else in the party wanted to take her on. So by the time her ratings crashed, it was probably already too late to do anything that didn’t itself carry big risks.

  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:

    But what I don’t get is why so many Democrats talk about him as if he’s some kind of awesome badass.

    I think I know why. I think it was The Onion. No one quite had a comedic handle on Biden, partly because comics tended to like him. The Onion were the first (that I saw) who created a comic identity for Biden, and it was all about Aviator sunglasses and Harley’s.

  31. Jen says:

    She was qualified, sure, but too transparently ambitious.

    This bothers me so, so much. Why aren’t women allowed to be ambitious without hiding it behind a “gee whiz, thanks guys, I never thought I’d reach these heights, but heck here I am”?

    I really don’t think the first woman president will get there by being directly elected to the position unless we’re willing to wait another couple of decades. Millennials and Gen Z don’t seem to be held down and held back by this antiquated notion.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    This only drives home the point that hindsight is 20/20.

    If only that were true.

    The thing about disasters is that one can, and should, learn from them, and how to avoid the mistakes, oddities, and other problems that brought them about.

    I’ve mentioned before that political parties ought to be able to nominate candidates however they want. But if you’re running primary elections to give the people a say in the nomination, then you must offer real choices and have a fair process open to all.

    It would have been one thing for the Democratic party to say “We’re running Clinton as a candidate and we’ll have no primaries and caucuses to choose a candidate.” That might have pissed lots of people off, but it would have been honest and transparent. If instead you pretend there’s a process when things are settled, you’ll piss people off more.

    This might not have been an issue had the party email servers not been hacked, but it might have been either way.

    The lesson, then, is don’t appoint an heir and pretend to elect them. And that is the big mistake to avoid in the future. Also secure your servers. And surely a bunch of other little things. Rather than “Had Biden only run this time.”

  33. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I mistrust political ambitions, because political power is inherently coercive. That said, whether it be a woman or a man who holds such ambitions makes no difference.

    Clinton in particular, though, was running for president ever since November of 2000. All she did in the meantime, from serving in the Senate for New york to taking the post of Secretary of State, was a means of remaining in the public eye. it may have been good preparation for the job she wanted, but it seems self-serving and hypocritical.

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  34. de stijl says:

    Yup. Men can be naked careerist weathervane standard issue asshat politicians and that is just accepted, if white. Hillary projects from the stage during stump speeches and she’s “Shrill” and “Shouty”. She wants the job and she is an self-entitled opportunist.

    She has that fake laugh. And, ugh, those pantsuits, amirite?

    It’s not just some fluky thing that #Gamergate preceded Trumpism. It was practice. “Lock Her Up!”

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  35. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    All she did in the meantime, from serving in the Senate for New york to taking the post of Secretary of State, was a means of remaining in the public eye. it may have been good preparation for the job she wanted, but it seems self-serving and hypocritical.

    What should she have done instead? Bake cookies? (oh, wait, they hate when she does that and is deemed as self-serving, too…)

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  36. de stijl says:

    God help us if male politicians decide to burnish their credentials and remain in the news before running for President! Thomas Jefferson would be appalled!

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  37. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I read it only a few years ago. I found it very disturbing.

    I don’t recall racism in the story, though I may have forgotten it. And it wasn’t eugenics, it was mass murder on an epic scale. it also doesn’t seem like something the society of normals should have agreed to.

    SPOILER ALERT.

    I assume the objective was the twist at the end, where the man who dreamt up the nightmare scenario to gain power, gets murdered along with his victims.

    One thing, though, if memory serves, the population was around five billions or so, and this was deemed too high. That’s a recurring theme in science fiction of that era. In the 50s Asimov wrote his two robot novels, where he imagined an Earth overpopulated to the breaking point with 8 billion people.

    FYI, we’re at about 7.4 billion now, and we’ll see our planet go past 8 billion in a few years.

  38. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    What should she have done instead?

    The jobs she signed up for.

    We have heard much deserved criticism of the Iraq War. While the lion’s share of blame for that rests squarely on Bush the younger, some rests on the people serving in Congress who voted for it.

    Why did they? In particular, why did so many Democrats vote for it?

    Largely because they thought, as the Bushies did, it would be a repeat of Desert Storm, and whoever voted against it would see their political prospects dim. So that vote was a major fail for Clinton, and not just because it backfired.

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  39. James Pearce says:

    @Kathy:

    Clinton in particular, though, was running for president ever since November of 2000. All she did in the meantime, from serving in the Senate for New york to taking the post of Secretary of State, was a means of remaining in the public eye.

    This.

    Nikki Haley is also an ambitious woman, but she focuses on her current job, not the job she wishes she had.

    She may also become our first woman president.

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  40. An Interested Party says:

    She was qualified, sure, but too transparently ambitious.

    It’s funny how this never seems to be a problem for male politicians…

    The jobs she signed up for.

    So she did nothing as a senator? Nothing as Secretary of State?

    She may also become our first woman president.

    Hopefully not…GOP presidents have been disasters ever since the turn of the century…

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  41. de stijl says:

    Nikki Haley is also an ambitious woman, but she focuses on her current job, not the job she wishes she had.

    Yeah, she’s a regular Madeleine Albright 2.0. Maybe John Bolton?

  42. de stijl says:

    The Thomas Jefferson bit wasn’t just thrown in for a bit of Founder flair.

  43. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I’m talking about Clinton in particular, not women in general.

  44. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It’s funny how this never seems to be a problem for male politicians…

    Maybe you just don’t notice when it’s a problem for male politicians. Have you ever considered that? (Obama, as a junior Senator, had to deal with a lot of “ambitious neophyte” stuff, which was soon drowned out –stupidly and inexplicably– by birther nonsense.)

    So she did nothing as a senator? Nothing as Secretary of State?

    Her tenure as SOS was marked by controversy (Benghazi!). As Senator, she was mediocre. Aside from voting for the Iraq war, she’s responsible for Bill S.3613, which renamed a post office, and Bill S.3145, which named a highway after Tim Russert.
    @de stijl:

    Yeah, she’s a regular Madeleine Albright 2.0.

    Madeleine Albright was never a governor. But she is a fellow Coloradoan so she’s got that going for her.

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  45. Jen says:

    Anyone who thinks she was a mediocre Senator didn’t live in the state of NY and ask her for help.

    There are plenty of politicians who hate dealing with constituent contact work. It’s boring and doesn’t get much glory at all. Clinton appeared to enjoy it. One of her staffers was always tasked with carrying the unresolved letters/files when they were on the road for whatever reason (events, etc.). Whenever there was downtime, the files got opened and Clinton went through the pieces and responded to some, suggested ways to solve, contacted appropriate agencies, etc.

    She got things done for her constituents, and that, frankly, is the first and most important job of a public servant.

  46. James Pearce says:

    @Jen:

    She got things done for her constituents, and that, frankly, is the first and most important job of a public servant.

    And then at the first opportunity, she goes “See ya” and moves to Washington to run the State Department.

  47. Jen says:

    @James Pearce: As would I, had I been in her shoes.

    It was a great opportunity. Your comment is exactly the same nonsense I’ve heard about other women who work their way up a ladder. And, incidentally, she remained a public servant albeit in a different capacity.

    She worked her backside off as Senator. She was at her highest popularity rating ever when she was at State. She did well in every position she worked in.

    Bottom line, and I really wish people would just admit their bias in this, women aren’t “allowed” to be as ambitious as men. I’ve seen the exact same nonsense play out at the corporate level, and it’s irritating. Even more irritating is the inability to admit it’s a bias in the first place.

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  48. Yank says:

    @Gustopher: Yeah, Biden has a little Archie Bunker in him that makes him likable to many different demographics, even when his gaffes could be considered offensive.

  49. Yank says:

    And then at the first opportunity, she goes “See ya” and moves to Washington to run the State Department.

    How is this any different from Obama running for President after only two years in the Senate? Or Bobby Kennedy jumping into the race in 68 after only three years in Senate? It is weird how Hillary always gets knocked for being an opportunist, when most of her male counterparts are no different in that regard.

  50. James Pearce says:

    @Jen:

    Bottom line, and I really wish people would just admit their bias in this, women aren’t “allowed” to be as ambitious as men.

    But we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, who is as celebrated for her ambition, and for being a woman, as she is reviled for it.

    And really, if you want to scratch a little deeper, critiques of Hillary’s ambition are mostly about what she’s ambitious for. Does she want to be a legislator? No. She wants to be the first woman president. Does she want to be Obama’s SOS? Well, sure, as a means to an end. It’s not that she’s ambitious, it’s that she’s ladder-climbing and kind of obnoxiously self-interested about it, too. You really think men who act like that are rewarded with respect?

  51. de stijl says:

    Thomas Jefferson made Hillary look like Harold Stassen. Read his bio. Why is this even a thing? People have been primping, pimping and burnishing creds since 1783.

    Thankfully, Jefferson was laser-focused on his role as Minister To France instead of that juicy plum of the Presidency that would have enticed a lusty Jezebel.

    Peter and Mary Magdalene.

  52. de stijl says:

    In 2016 in the supposed zenith of her opportunism, Clinton was as opportunistic as Cruz, Rubio, Bush, Trump, Whitman. Kasich, Carson. Fiorina, Christie, Jindal, Walker, Perry, etc., etc, etc.

  53. James Pearce says:

    @de stijl: I

    n 2016 in the supposed zenith of her opportunism, Clinton was as opportunistic as Cruz, Rubio, Bush, Trump, Whitman. Kasich, Carson. Fiorina, Christie, Jindal, Walker, Perry

    That’s hardly an exoneration.

    And why compare Hillary to Jefferson when she’s more like a McGovern? At least put her in the context she belongs. Line her up with all the other Democratic (presidential) losers in the last 70 years. You really think she’s in the top 3?

  54. de stijl says:

    If James Pearce is your sole ally here, you’ve very likely chosen poorly. Still trying to understand how Clinton is demonstrably more crass and opportunistic than literately anyone else in 2016. And even if true, why is that disqualifying or even bad?

    Can girls not want? Must it be like Jen says only acceptable is she demurs “Oh, gosh! Please not me! I’m not worthy…. Okay, but only if you insist.” Cuz that is 17 flavors of bullshit.

    Not only is it cool for a girl to be President, it is also cool for a girl to *want* to be President, and it is furthermore cool for a girl to play politics to situate herself correctly to make a proper run at it just like any boy.

  55. de stijl says:

    Someone isn’t paying attention – this is not whether she should have won in either 2008 or 2016, but whether she had the right to run unencumbered by the “she’s too opportunistic” tag.

  56. Kathy says:

    @Yank:

    How is this any different from Obama running for President after only two years in the Senate? Or Bobby Kennedy jumping into the race in 68 after only three years in Senate?

    I wasn’t even alive for Bobby Kennedy’s run. as for Obama, I thought at the time he lacked experience, and his 2008 run was meant to pay off in 2012 or 2016. I think I was right, as he blundered left and right during the campaign and in his first year in office. To be fair, he grew into the job, and did mostly ok.

    As for Clinton, I have also said she was the best qualified candidate to win their party’s nomination since Bush the elder back in 1988. I think she’d have done better than Obama, too.

    As a candidate, though, she had problems. Exhibit A: She failed to defeat Donald Fucking Trump.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    You really think men who act like that are rewarded with respect?

    You don’t? Really?
    Bill Gates?
    Steve Jobs?
    John D. Rockefeller?
    Andrew Carnegie?
    Andrew Mellon?
    Le Bron James?

    It’s the basic American (Male) success story–every effort taken in pursuit of the goal. Fork, twenty years ago, the kids at Wharton were reading What Makes Sammy Run (the novel that would argue for your point of view BTW) as a forking how-to manual and asked the author how the idea of writing one came to him.

    Tone the outrage down, dude. There’s a double standard. It’s forking everywhere. Bone deep in guys named Pearce, apparently.

  58. Yank says:

    I wasn’t even alive for Bobby Kennedy’s run. as for Obama, I thought at the time he lacked experience, and his 2008 run was meant to pay off in 2012 or 2016. I think I was right, as he blundered left and right during the campaign and in his first year in office. To be fair, he grew into the job, and did mostly ok.

    You see this is my point. People criticized Obama for being inexperienced, but not being opportunistic, even though running in 2008 was pure opportunism on Obama’s part (and he was correct to run, the political environment in 2007-2008 was perfect for him). There is just a double standard when it comes to women candidates on this. If Obama had been a women, people would have criticized him for being opportunistic as well as inexperienced.

  59. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Still the butt hurting about Clinton?!?!?!?!

    This is why Dems can’t win elections anymore. A Candidate that can’t persuade the public to vote for them over Donald Trump–despite extensive experience– is not qualified to be President. PERSUASION IS THE MAIN JOB OF A PRESIDENT

    The Presidency isn’t a civil service job. Clinton has a terrible voice, little sense of humor, tells boring stories, etc, etc. She’s not a lead singer people. She’s a great backup singer. There is nothing wrong with her ambition–she didn’t have the tools for the job she aspires and would have lost the nomination to Biden. Frankly, Obama and Biden probably made a deal for Clinton support during their time in the Presidency in exchange for Biden not running for the Obama 3rd term.

  60. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    This isn’t 1954, you can spell out fork here now. Just don’t drop a fork in every forking sentence because you forking can. A judicious fork if needed for especial emphasis is forking cool. Just don’t call someone a forking fork-faced moronic idiot fork even if they forking deserve it.

    This reads like bad outtakes from old school versions of “The Naked And The Dead”

    Norman Mailer was a forking little self-satisfied smarmy fork, wasn’t he?

  61. James Pearce says:

    If James Pearce is your sole ally here, you’ve very likely chosen poorly.

    Oh, here we go, back to debating the virtues of my personality again…Sorry, man, but you’re going to have to do that without me.

    Tone the outrage down, dude. There’s a double standard.

    Apparently there’s just one: Criticism of Hillary Clinton will be dismissed as sexism, even if it’s not sexist.

    She’s not a lead singer people. She’s a great backup singer. There is nothing wrong with her ambition

    This is what’s “wrong” with her ambition. She’s a great backup singer who wants to sing lead.

    If her capabilities were a little more in line with her ambitions, she’d probably be president. If her ambitions were in line with her capabilities, she never would have run.

  62. Kylopod says:

    @Yank:

    Yeah, Biden has a little Archie Bunker in him

    His politics are somewhat closer to that of Mike (who could also be racially condescending–remember when Lionel complains that he treats him as a “representative of the entire black race”?). Basically, he’s an old white guy.