The Biden Panic Stops Now!

The Biden Panic Stops Now!

The facts behind it are disputed and it’s a terrible look for Democrats–and for progressives who vote that line. Just stop.


The Summer of Joe Biden Panic is almost behind us. It was worse than Shark Panic, Wildfire Panic, Burning Man Panic, and I-can’t-get-TSwift-tickets panic. I have here in my hand, well, my laptop, some very good intel, and very good advice. The fact that many of you will dismiss the one of the bearers of this good news—Jim Messina, Obama 2012 campaign manager—as a former Barack Obama/Harry Reid shill is fine. So did I when I read it.

And, yes, the other bearer of good news is a former Republican from The Bulwark, Jonathan V. Last.

It’s OK. Stay with me.

I have some of my own thoughts about Jim Messina. He’s been on both sides, including the bad side, of some issues I’ve cared about. But he’s bringing the antidote to a disease I’ve seen good friends wasting their summer on.

The Bulwark is an anti-Trump publication comprised of people I used to dislike, and even debate on cable TV. Nowadays, next to The Nation and The New Republic, it’s my favorite publication. I even subscribe.

Before we get to their advice: This is the opposite of a no-news summer. Donald Trump faced indictments every couple of weeks; his allies in the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers got record prison sentences. Is our corporate media so bored that’s not news anymore? They’d rather examine Biden (and all Democrats) polls going back eleventy years?

Sadly, yes.

But what about us? What makes us run from the horrific news about Trump to what we perceive as worse news about Biden?

Democracy is hanging by a thread, but the most important question placed before the republic by its billion-dollar-media organizations and their million-dollar imitators is whether poor 80-year-old superfit Joe Biden is too old to serve, when a blob of sweat, sexual abuse, and general crime who eats burnt steak, ketchup, and two scoops of ice cream and purports to golf is his opponent. (Oh, yeah, he’s three years younger…)

Do you live on this planet with me? Can we go somewhere else?

OK, back to Messina. I don’t like everything he’s ever done, but I had to cosign this statement about Democrats: “Historically, we’re fucking bedwetters.” Every four years, as we reach this point in the run-up to the presidential campaign, my friends who are democratic socialists and my friends who are lifelong Clintonites still change their sheets every morning.

Figuratively, of course.

Here are a few of Messina’s principles, as Politico summed them up:

The economic fundamentals are strong. The “misery index,” a bellwether economic measure that combines unemployment and inflation, is now lower than it was ahead of RONALD REAGAN, BILL CLINTON and Obama’s successful reelections.

Abortion is a major X factor. After Dobbs Democrats have an issue like no other.

The election is a choice, not a wish.

Horrific voter opinions of Biden will disappear as the two-man race comes into focus. The only bad news: Third-party runs like Cornel West’s and whoever No Labels pays to run are gonna suck.

I’ve gotta kick in Jonathan V. Last weighing the same facts.

I swear, he tried to keep us calm. He did examine Nate Cohn’s analysis of non-white voters’ attachments and the fall-off in their support for Biden. Then he made this point:

These declines are showing up under Biden, but they aren’t Biden-specific: The trend lines pre-date Biden and appear tied to the general realignment we’re seeing around education and rural-urban splits. It’s not clear that swapping Biden for some other candidate would change them.

Also my friends are really angry about one line Nate ignores: Biden’s increase among white college-educated people. Folks, do you think the Democrats have lured them with policies that suppress the interests of lower-income people of color? No, you don’t because they have not.

I can’t reassure you that Biden will win. I think I can (and have) make the case that dumping him will make Dems lose. I had a busy summer, and I hope you did too. Please go move to Ohio and work for Sherrod Brown—or something like that—and stop this kind of hand-wringing.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy