The Corner

Elections

Is Biden the New Hillary?

Joe Biden joins Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on a campaign stop in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2019. (Kyle Grillot/Reuters)

President Trump isn’t subtle about his strategy to defeat Joe Biden if the former vice president becomes the Democratic nominee. Trump plans to wage the same sort of campaign against Biden that he did against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Back then, Trump defined Hillary as the candidate of entrenched interests who used a long career in politics for familial gain. He highlighted Clinton’s support for the 1994 crime bill and for NAFTA and TPP, driving wedges between the former secretary of state and important Democratic constituencies. And he went after Hillary’s foreign-policy credentials, painting her as an interventionist who had weakened America’s standing in the world.

It’s Biden’s turn. Biden’s close to a half century in American politics hasn’t exactly made him rich, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from drawing attention to the murky relationship between Biden’s diplomacy and his son Hunter’s business practices. Trump says that Biden, like Hillary, has been around for a long time, but what has he accomplished? Biden represents the ancient regime that Trump overthrew. Early polls aside, it’s not clear that American voters want a restoration.

One of the reasons Trump is going after Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill is that the same tactic worked against Clinton. The same goes for his focus on Biden’s vote for NAFTA. These moves not only highlight divisions within the Democratic party. They also have the potential to cut into Biden’s support from African–American voters and from voters in the Rust Belt. And they might force Biden to move left on race and on trade. Suburban moderates won’t be happy.

Biden is vulnerable on foreign policy. His credentials and standing in the bipartisan foreign-policy establishment may reassure Beltway insiders and voters looking for experience and an internationalist outlook. This same resume, however, makes him vulnerable to the charge that the policies he supported for a generation did little to create peace and prosperity. Trump made that argument both in the Republican primary and in the general election in 2016. It worked.

As I write, Biden has a large and stable lead over his Democratic opponents. He beats Trump in a head-to-head matchup by 8.1 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Remember, though, that Clinton’s advantage was even greater in the summer of 2015. After 16 months of Trump attacks, 77,000 voters in three states denied her the presidency. The same could happen again to a nominee easily caricatured as the epitome of Beltway cluelessness. What looks like Joe Biden’s greatest strength — electability born of experience — may also be a debilitating weakness.

Most Popular

Elections

Elizabeth Warren Is Jussie Smollett

Elizabeth Warren has a moving story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful. Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his ... Read More
Culture

The Origins of the Transgender Movement

Editor’s Note: This article has been adapted from remarks delivered at a Heritage Foundation summit. I’ve been asked to talk about the origins of transgenderism and how it relates to children and their exploitation. But first, I would like to start with a little story. Yesterday I was wandering around ... Read More
World

Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish Ironies

Outrage met Donald Trump’s supposedly rash decision to pull back U.S. troops from possible confrontational zones between our Kurdish friends in Syria and Recep Erdogan’s expeditionary forces. Turkey claims that it will punish the Syrian Kurds for a variety of supposed provocations, including aiding and ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More
Sports

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud

So, LeBron James claimed that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was simply “misinformed or not really educated on the situation” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at ... Read More