What Kamala Harris and AOC can't make Joe Biden do

Article Image

The Lead panel discusses.

Posted: Jul 6, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: Jul 6, 2019 11:00 AM

Anyone expecting to see a major reboot in the Biden campaign or a Joe Biden 2.0 just doesn't know the former vice president. He knows what he knows, which isn't everything, and is not likely to refashion his image based on a poll or a debate performance.

But the fact that he sat down for an extended interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo does indicate that Biden and his team recognize they need to do some things differently. First, Biden has to get out on the campaign trail more, something he accomplished over the past few days in Iowa. Second, he needs to be more accessible to the media, which help shape the view of many Democratic voters in the early voting states. In short, he needs to not look like the nomination is his to lose, but instead his to win.

Finally, he needs a better pushback to the kinds of charges directed at him in the Democratic presidential xebate by Sen. Kamala Harris. Here was one of the more interesting parts of the Cuomo interview. Biden made clear he was surprised not by the attack, but by the way Harris delivered it, in such a personal way. He implicitly charged Harris with a bit of demagoguery — that she criticized his position while holding essentially the same position herself. But he visibly pulled back from elaborating, saying he is determined to stay above what he calls the scrum.

Is this a good strategy? Can he survive in a modern campaign while not going personally after other Democrats? That remains to be seen. What's not in doubt is he's not likely to change his views.

The rest of the interview was a much clearer expression of how he intends to run this race and where he stands on the issues. Apart from his own personal philosophy and ideology, I know Biden will not lurch to the left to be nominated. He doesn't believe that's where Democratic voters are. He smartly cited the 2018 midterm results. While much of the media focused on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez' victory, Biden's team was watching Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative who upset Republican Dave Brat in Virginia's 7th District, which has been reliably Republican for decades.

The Democratic victory in 2018 was the result of center-left Democrats winning against more left-wing opponents in primaries. According to the Third Way think tank, 33 of the 40 Democrats who won in swing districts defeated someone on their left on primary day.

Biden also doesn't want to do anything that will open himself up to Trump-style attacks on election day in November. That's why he'll stick with his version of Medicare for those who want it rather than Medicare for All. Again, from Third Way, no Democratic candidate in a swing district ran an ad touting Medicare for All.

As Ron Brownstein rightly pointed out Friday, Biden is the only top-tier candidate who is for preserving the private insurance market for those who have it and want to keep it. Biden's team believes that is a key element in winning or losing the health care debate next fall.

He also made the point that he believes our system of political asylum works if it is properly administered, following both humane practices and the law. That puts him at odds with many of the candidates running against him and some Democratic party voters. But Biden is betting that a plan to reform immigration policy is both the better approach and inoculates the party from charges that it is for open borders.

On style, this interview was a very good performance by Biden. Make no mistake, he's no Obama or Clinton. His strength is his passion, not his performance skills, so don't expect major changes there.

In the end, some of Biden's tactics will change as the campaign moves forward, but his strategy won't. The voters will decide if he's got it right.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Angola
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 82°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 87°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Sunday starts wet, ends dry
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events