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?
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.