By every measure, former Vice President Joe Biden is seen as the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Well, by every measure but one.
Politico informs us that Biden is “dominating in the polls, his fundraising is going gangbusters and he’s showing broad support from key political players in the early presidential states.”
But the one thing missing is the lines around the block to get into Biden’s campaign events, the online political news site observed.
“So where are the big energetic crowds?” asked reporters Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki.
There’s a suggested “lack of enthusiasm for an establishment nominee,” a byproduct of Hillary Clinton’s “bitter 2016 defeat,” as readers are told that Biden is sticking to small venues to prevent the embarrassment of empty seats.
But more progressive Democratic candidates are not having the same problem, which tends to suggest that Biden’s biggest flaw among the party’s base it that he is a 77-year-old straight white male.
A much younger Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., admits his sin of being a white man and tries really hard, too hard, to atone for it.
I may be "another white guy," but I know where there are gaps in my knowledge or my experience and I know when to pass the mic. pic.twitter.com/jMYBwF97xY
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) May 27, 2019
But does crowd size really matter?
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, said in a tweet, “[O]ne of the lessons of the last 10 years is never underestimate crowd size — it was a huge indicator of the strength of both Obama and Trump.”
It may seem superficial, but one of the lessons of the last 10 years is never underestimate crowd size—it was a huge indicator of the strength of both Obama and Trump
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) May 28, 2019
Not that the skeptics aren’t out there:
It’s funny how you people dictate enthusiasm by crowd sizes. Next you’ll cite yard signs.
Suffolk/USA Today poll: “Joe Biden is the one who most excites Democrats and independent voters’ imaginations (59 percent are excited about his potential candidacy)” pic.twitter.com/XTL3zUidMu
— William (@williamg1) May 28, 2019
One person who doesn’t have a problem drawing a crowd is President Donald Trump.
Trump held a campaign rally in Biden’s home state of Pennsylvania last week, in Montoursville, which has a population of around 4,800, and drew a massive crowd — 15,000 according to one estimate, plus a huge overflow crowd.
Here's what the media won't show you:
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) May 20, 2019
Hell, Trump’s overflow crowds are almost bigger than what Biden draws.
— Sheepdog Frank (@navymig) May 21, 2019
The president even mocked Biden, who held his first official campaign kickoff rally in Philadelphia two days earlier.
“We have thousands of people so… and this isn’t, I’m not evening announcing today,” Trump said. “We’ll wait for a couple of weeks okay.”
“Look at the thousands and thousands of people we have,” he added. “Now they said he had 600 people. No. I’m very good, I’m very good. I’d say 150 and that was during an announcement right? I’d say 150 people.”
Now that may be too stingy a guess, considering the estimated crowd at Biden’s event was reported by the Associated Press to be around 6,000.
— Bryan Llenas (@BryanLlenas) May 18, 2019
But photos do not support that figure and Politico reported a local elected Democrat who supports Biden said the rally was smaller and less energetic than expected.
A lesser estimate of 2,000, which still appears to be generous, is seen below — keeping in mind that was his official kick-off rally.
— Zach D Roberts (@zdroberts) May 18, 2019
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