Op-Ed: Don’t look now, but Democrats are in… array?!
By Sam Youngman and Adam Parkhomenko
Don’t worry. As soon we wrote that headline, we knocked on wood, spat on the ground and turned around twice.
But it’s still true.
Before you start throwing things at us, please know we’re not trying to throw a Bob Shrum-style jinx on the Biden campaign. But after the last few weeks, we’ve come to one frightening and inescapable conclusion: Joe Biden is running a good campaign.
It’s crazy, right? He’s not even going on Fox News to warn us about planes filled with people in black gear who are causing riots and controlling Biden’s brain. The guy hasn’t told anyone to drink bleach and he hasn’t once misspelled hamburger.
Hell, Joe’s never even retweeted a racist Q conspiracy theorist or compared shooting an unarmed Black person to missing a putt.
No, instead what Biden is doing is what Biden has been doing all along -- running his race and responding to the endless noise only when it’s to his benefit to do so. This has never been more evident than what we saw this week.
Coming off the Republican convention, a week that demonstrated the Republican Party is now a cult in the middle of a crime wave, pundits and political reporters were eager to write the story that the race has tightened. So they seized on the bullshit themes Trump trotted out last week, mixed it up with footage from Portland, some betting market voodoo and a couple of polls and voila! Suddenly the race is close, Biden is blowing it and an America on fire is somehow good news for… the incumbent.
Yeah, it’s idiotic and infuriating, but if you watched even a minute of 2016, then you know idiotic and infuriating is often what we get from our esteemed political press corps.
And this was no different. Right-wing nutjobs started asking why Biden had not condemned the violence in Portland and Wisconsin that he had already condemned. So naturally, columnists and MSM reporters started asking the same question. It was a frustrating experience that reminded Democrats there is no such thing as “liberal media bias.”
But it was also a fantastic set-up.
On Monday, Biden traveled to Western Pennsylvania, condemning the violence again and condemning a president who keeps trying to make things worse for his own political gain. Then, just a few hours later, the president of the United States refused to do the same, declining to say anything bad about a double murderer who attended one of his rallies. The story quickly became Biden condemns the violence and Trump won’t.
It’s not so much that Biden set Trump up, it’s that Team Joe seems to have learned a lot from years of watching Trump. A lot more than the press who cover him anyway.
It was a beautiful contrast at a really ugly time. There was Joe Biden, looking presidential and reminding everyone that Trump is actually throwing log after log on the fires that are consuming America. And then, for good measure, Trump reminded everybody of that too.
It’s enormously aggravating that the press corps continues to project visions of weakness and incompetence on the Biden campaign. If Democratic leadership on Capitol HIll are forever fighting the battles of the 1990s, then the press corps is forever seeing Biden as the candidate from 1988.
But this isn’t the 1980s Joe Biden. Which is good because he really looked like shit in parachute pants.
No, this is the Biden that took on a crowded field of some of the best the Democratic Party has to offer and won. This the Biden who pulled off a flawless convention. This is the Biden who has led Trump in every single poll since winning the nomination.
And remember Kamala Harris? Not a bad choice, right? Yeah, Joe Biden did that too.
And think back to last year, when Trump was raising ridiculous amounts of money, and Democrats, still locked in primary battles, were terrified of the tangerine nightmare’s cash advantage.
Team Joe erased that lead. Admittedly they had some help from the president’s legal bills and arrogant moron campaign hands, but earlier this summer, they achieved parity, blowing our minds. And a report Tuesday said that the campaign is poised to shatter all records and announce a haul of $300 million for the month of August. Wow!
Oh and some of those polls that had pundits sure that the race was going to turn into a dead heat after the convention? They have returned to where they were pre-convention, and Biden even expanded his lead in Arizona. There's movement, but certainly nothing worth freaking out about or changing the whole narrative of the race to fit.
Look, we’re Democrats, so we can definitely blow this thing. And even if we don’t, we’re going to be freaking out and pissing ourselves every step of the way. It’s what we do.
Joe Biden is running against Donald Trump, the Republican Party, Facebook, the New York Times and half a dozen hostile nations. It’s an ironman race through the depths of hell, and we, like every other Democrat, wondered at some point or another if Biden was up for it.
For weeks now, he has answered that question with a “hell yes!,” making us proud and giving us hope where there’s normally anxiety and fear.
We can still lose this thing. Polls don’t count for a single vote. We’re up against some seriously evil forces, and each state is different. Every time we hear the word “Minnesota,” we start sweating. We should be scared, and we’re kind of grateful to a both-sides obsessed national media for keeping our voters on their toes.
But for now we can feel good that our side, our candidate is running a good campaign. Even if we have to knock on wood every time we say it.
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