Despite former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead in polls over his 2020 rivals, Democrats are worried that he is just another version of Hillary Clinton and will lose the election to President Trump.
Democratic activists in New Hampshire have expressed concerns over Biden’s electability and his age, fearing that if he is chosen as the party’s presidential nominee, he could end up being defeated just as Clinton was despite beliefs that she was the most capable opponent to Trump in 2016.
Voters attending the New Hampshire Democratic state convention were not convinced of Biden’s potential even as a new CBS poll released Monday indicated that about 3 out of 4 Democratic voters who were considering Biden in the primary believe he is the most likely candidate to beat Trump.
“Biden is Hillary Clinton, part two. He’s an establishment candidate,” Katie Pederson told the Washington Examiner.
“I don’t think Biden could beat Trump,” the 28-year-old who works for Southern New Hampshire University and a call center, said.
“I’m not for Biden,” 67-year-old Kathy Ireland told the news outlet.
“He claims to be electable, but I’m not convinced,” the Goffstown resident added. “He’s not that up on things. He’s not up on issues.”
Unlike Clinton, Biden is not stirring up the voters with the electability argument as political science professor David McCuan told the Washington Examiner.
“Joe Biden is not exactly starting any fire in terms of momentum or excitement,” the Sonoma State University professor said, contending that the argument that the Democrat is electable “is not going to be sufficient to draw out voters.”
The new electorate made up of younger voters, Hispanic voters, and women “votes episodically,” McCuan added, noting that Biden, however, “is talking to regular, habitual voters.”
“If the argument is going to be that you’re going to get white working-class voters to your side, that’s Joe Biden’s argument, you’re going to have to look very closely at that data because other core Democratic groups are going to hold back or not show up,” McCuan said.
He also noted that, similar to Clinton in 2016, Biden’s campaign is “going to have to roll out his theme or roll out his moniker, whatever it’s going to be, more than once.”
Failed examples of the electability argument still “traumatize” voters in the first primary state, according to the Washington Examiner:
For Democrats nationally, Clinton was only the latest in a string of nominees over recent decades who won their nominations on claims of being the most electable, only to flame out against Republican rivals with more personality and passion or easy-to-remember slogans versus Democrats’ briefing book approach.
John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore four years earlier fell into that technocratic category. Landslide losers from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush eras still traumatize skeptical New Hampshire voters as well, including Michael Dukakis in 1988 and former Vice President Walter Mondale four years earlier, who won only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
For others, Biden’s age continues to be an issue, compounded by a series on ongoing gaffes and misstatements on the campaign trail.
At a campaign stop last month, Biden commented on being in a town in Vermont while he was actually in New Hampshire. At a New Hampshire stop, he was confused about speaking earlier at nearby Dartmouth College, but assured everyone that he was “not going nuts.”
Biden to crowd: ‘I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts’ https://t.co/ZviIoDOqw9
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 26, 2019
Biden also appeared to forget that Thomas Jefferson was a U.S. president, and said that “poor kids are just as bright, just as talented, as white kids.” His stumble over a 2008 war story that he botched in the retelling while campaigning in New Hampshire a few weeks ago made headlines for days.
Some voters worry that, if he were to win in 2020, Biden would be the oldest president ever elected and his record these past few months have many doubting he has the fortitude and mental sharpness to conduct the demanding duties.
Other Democrats think it’s not just his chronological age that is a problem, but his political style and views are also out of touch with current voters.
“I hate to say it, he’s old,” Kit Hansen, a retired Goffstown resident told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t really mean old age. He’s yesterday’s news.”
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