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2019-05-01 16:09:501 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Despite former Vice President Joe Biden being in a holding pattern of "will he or won't he" with regards to joining the 2020 presidential race, it seems Donald Trump's reelection campaign was not prepared for it. They were ready to fight the many other Democratic candidates, but not Biden, according to a Republican close to the campaign.
Sure enough, once the former vice president joined the race, poll results were released by Drudge that said Biden was beginning his run with an eight-point lead on Trump from the get-go.
Trump isn't used to being so behind. When he ran in 2016, many didn't give him enough credit to think he could actually win, but he pulled it off anyway.
However, the difference here is that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wasn't well-liked by everyone and was facing an investigation on her emails. For some people, they never really had a choice in candidate that they could easily get behind.
But Biden is different. It's often mentioned that had he run in 2016, he would have run away with the victory. He'd planned on running, taking over for former President Barack Obama, but his personal life got in the way when his son Beau died. He chose to spend the time with his family.
He was nearly drafted to run in 2020. There are so many Democrats running in 2020, between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), and others. But still, no matter how many announcements were made of Democrats throwing their hat in the ring, everyone wondered if Biden would run.
He'll be days away from turning 78 at the time of the election, but Sanders will already be 79, so age isn't necessarily coming into play here. And if it were, Trump will be 74, not that much younger.
A former West Wing official explains that despite Biden's large edge right now, Trump advisers don't believe Biden will be the eventual Democratic nominee since he's more centrist and would have to adopt further leftist views.
"There's not a lot of belief he makes it through," said the official, "and as he goes along, he is going to have to pivot far left, which is going to lose the nut of who he is."
But where Biden can really hurt Trump is in his midwest blue-collar base, as it's also a strength of Biden's. Anyone who voted for Trump in 2016 and who is bothered by the Mueller investigation or who feels like he didn't follow through on his promises could easily make the switch to Biden.
Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump campaign national press secretary, doesn't give Biden much of a chance to pick up those voters because of the economy, believing that all Democrat candidates will have the "failed Obama economy and the scourge of socialism attached."
But regardless of what the campaign officials say, Biden still had that eight-point lead over Trump when he first announced. Trump tried to knock him down with his usual name-calling bluster, but Biden just hit back, and it didn't really seem to bother him at all.
In fact, even in his announcement that he was running, Biden hit Trump by mentioning his refusal to stand up against hate when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" at the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Biden referred to it as a "threat to our nation ... unlike any I'd ever seen in my lifetime."
"Welcome to the race, Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign," Trump tweeted. "It will be nasty — you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick and demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the starting gate."
He also answered Biden's remarks about his Charlottesville comments by saying he was not referring to the neo-Nazi marchers but instead the people who had opposed removing the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.
It was a great move on Biden's part. He didn't lean on the Mueller report that everyone is talking about right now or mention impeachment. He hit on something no one else was talking about and one that Trump really had no defense for.
Trump was even trying to hit Biden for quite some time, even before his announcement, but it seems to have had little or no effect. Biden was called out by a few women as getting too personally chummy with them, but not in a sexual way. He apologized for it in a video. Trump tried to make fun of him for those missteps, but those moments pale in comparison to the multiple charges of sexual misconduct against Trump.
Biden also already picked up the endorsement of the national firefighters' union. Trump tried to hit back, but again, he's out of his normal game, and it had little to no effect.
He tweeted, "The dues-sucking firefighters' leadership will always support Democrats, even though the membership wants me. Some things never change!" He may need to be reminded about who runs unions, the blue-collar workers, his base.
He then tweeted again along the same topic: “I’ve done more for firefighters than this dues-sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!”
Trump's comments just go to show how much he's out of his game and worried about Biden. While he and his campaign can be full of bluster and say they don't give Biden much chance of picking up the nomination or in beating Trump himself, right now the poll numbers show they're wrong.
And if they're smart, they're going back to the drawing board to try to figure out how to maintain his base. But he doesn't know how to play to any other strength, numbers, or ideals, other than his base.
Trump ran in 2016 and picked up a solid base of supporters as well as some others who just couldn't fathom voting for Clinton. But his poll numbers have never improved much and only dip greatly, only to recover.
And that's where the question lies, who will pick up those blue-collar workers that Trump depended on in 2016. That's his most ardent supporters. If Biden picks them up, Trump loses, so his campaign may want to get a handle on that before those supporters are gone.
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