Were former Vice President Joe Biden’s chances irreparably dashed with his major loss in Iowa? Jeet Heer believes so, writing at The Nation:
These are dismal results for Biden, who is often treated as the front-runner in the race. To be sure, Iowa was long considered a tough state for him, given that the Democratic voters there are both more liberal and more white than in most other states.
But it’s not like Biden had no advantages in Iowa. Unlike Sanders, Warren, or Amy Klobuchar, Biden wasn’t tied up with the impeachment hearings. This meant he could appear at many more campaign events. Pete Buttigieg also had that lucky break, and fully exploited it.
Biden’s trouble was that his base was less passionate than that of his rivals. Biden’s speaking events were sparsely attended, and he himself wasn’t eager to take to the hustings. As CNN reported, “The 77-year-old third-time presidential contender took a sluggish, front-runner’s approach there. He held no more than two or three events per day, and the crowds at those events—consistently dwarfed when his leading rivals campaigned in the same cities and towns—were a sign of trouble: Democratic voters there lacked enthusiasm for the former vice president.”
Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, who endorsed Biden, tried to push back on reports that supporters were lukewarm. “I am incredibly passionate about Joe Biden, but I’m not hootin’, hollerin’ guy,” Vilsack explained to CNN. “I’m just not. I never have been, never will be. But don’t tell me I’m not as passionate as any one of those folks that’s going to those Buttigieg events or Warren events. And that’s true of a lot of these folks who are here today.”
But the lack of hooting and hollering wasn’t just a matter of manners; it was evidence of a genuine flaw in Biden’s campaign. Biden really hasn’t given anyone a reason to vote for him. He’s run as a restorationist candidate, one who will return Washington to normal after Trump, bringing back the good old days of bipartisan cooperation.
Read more here.