Magazine April 6, 2020, Issue

Why Biden Bounced Back

Joe Biden addresses a crowd of supporters and the media on caucus night at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, February 4. (Jeremy Hogan/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
As with Trump, primary voters preferred the candidate in the center

Joe Biden placed fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary. Nobody has ever recovered from such a dismal showing to win a party’s nomination. Until now. While Bernie Sanders is still in the race, Biden is extremely likely to be the Democratic nominee. 

The most common explanation from pundits for Biden’s rapid change of fortune paid tribute to the health of the Democratic Party. The Republican establishment, the story went, had been unable to beat back Donald Trump’s insurgency in 2016. While only a minority of Republican voters wanted him, several candidates stayed in the race

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Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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