Chalk one up for Suffolk University and USA Today. They managed to come up with just the right poll at just the right time to set the mainstream media dashing off in the direction of validating the quintessential mainstream Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden.
Gone suddenly are all the polls that for two years found Bernie Sanders to be the most trusted and most popular politician in America. Gone are the opinions that Sanders was the de facto front-runner. Suddenly and conveniently, the corporate media is in love with the safest candidate for them: former Delaware senator Joe Biden.
The Electability Argument
"Establishment Democrats" love the electability argument. "Get behind the party pick if you want to win." It's a mantle they are quick to claim for themselves. But the facts at this stage of the 2020 process don't bode well for the long-range electability of Joe Biden.
Biden has a consistent track record as a presidential candidate: he doesn't win, not even the Democratic nomination. Biden ran in 1988 and lost to Bill Clinton. That bid was complicated by an admission he was forced to make that he had plagiarized British Labour party leader Neil Kinnock in a 1988 campaign speech. However, the Washington Post cited a pattern of plagiarism on Biden's part.
In 2008, he lost to a man he described as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." That's not going away, folks.
Biden, who is staunchly defensive of the nation's police, even in face of killings by police that continue at a pace of more than 1,000 a year, still can't admit that a problem exists.
But Biden's role as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas may prove the most problematic of all in the #MeToo era. His demeanor in shepherding Thomas's nomination through the committee differed little in style or substance from that of the Republicans who validated Brett Kavanaugh. Biden was at once respectful of Hill and patronizing, considerate but unmoved. In the end, the Judiciary Committee was deadlocked 7-7 on the nomination. Biden voted against Thomas, but joined an almost unanimous vote to advance the nomination to the full Senate where, despite a solid Democratic majority, Thomas was confirmed and is still with us today.
Sanders Is At the Epicenter of a Powerful and Productive Movement
Bernie Sanders makes a lot of people nervous. He wants change, fundamental change. Specifically, he wants the money out of American politics and more specifically, out of the healthcare policy process.
Clearly, Sanders's message is resonating with voters in a way that the polls aren't illustrating. The voters "want change," said the Suffolk-USAT poll ... but they like Biden better than Sanders. That just doesn't jibe with the 2018 election results. Sanders's message was at the core of the Progressive Congressional Revolution, which is in truth what it was. His signature issue, healthcare, defined the entire election cycle. Democrats and even Republicans were tripping all over themselves to embrace Medicare for all, some Republicans blatantly lying through their teeth to appeal to voters who demanded their attention to the issue.
Biden may be leading with the pollsters and the corporate media, but Sanders is leading on the issues, material change, and the direction of the debate with the voters.