Report: McCain family to endorse Biden -- at some point

Not a surprise, and yet sort of a surprise. He’s a close family friend, as the Examiner story notes, and delivered a eulogy for Maverick that began with a profession of love. He consoled Meghan McCain publicly on “The View” while her father was still in the throes of his illness. The McCains palpably hate Trump and have made no secret of it. Of course they’re all voting for Uncle Joe over POTUS.

But to endorse him? Do that and they’ll squander whatever goodwill Republicans still have for them. And it’s not clear how valuable their endorsements would be to Biden, especially if — can this be right? — they’re planning to offer those endorsements during the Democratic primary.

Sources close to both Biden’s presidential campaign and the McCains said that at some point during the White House race, McCain’s widow Cindy, 64, and daughter Meghan, 34, a host on “The View,” will offer their public support in the hope of removing Trump from office in 2020.

A former McCain campaign official with close ties to the family said support for Biden was a given, but they needed to calculate how they could best help the former vice president. Both Cindy and Meghan McCain remain Republicans, and one consideration is whether endorsing Biden in the Democratic primary could do him more harm than good. “It’s undeniable that Joe Biden and the McCain family have a very close, personal relationship. It’s about what’s good for him [Biden].”…

The source said they expected Meghan McCain to speak out in favor of Biden should he get the nomination, but a Cindy McCain endorsement could come sooner.

A Biden campaign source said that Biden himself had talked about his support from the McCains and had discussed whether family members should appear with him during the Democratic primary battle.

It … does not sound like a Cindy McCain endorsement will be coming sooner:

The McCains still have some influence over Arizona politics. Remember that Martha McSally didn’t get appointed to McCain’s vacant seat until she sought Cindy McCain’s blessing after being lukewarm in her praise for Maverick during the campaign. Cindy herself was mentioned as a possible appointee at one point. It’s not crazy to think one or more of the McCain children will run for office there someday. Whether they could make it through a Republican primary is an open question right now; if they were to endorse Biden, especially if that ended up tipping the state to the Democrats next fall, that question would likely be answered. The McCains would be finished as a political force.

And how much good would their endorsements do? They’ve already signaled their opposition to Trump as loudly as they can, denying him an invite to John’s funeral and then lambasting him via Meghan’s eulogy. She lays into him practically every day on “The View” too. If you’re a voter who cares what the McCains think, it’s already abundantly clear that they think you shouldn’t reelect you-know-who. The virtue of them formally endorsing Biden during the Democratic primary, I suppose, is that it would highlight Biden’s hypothetical appeal to centrist Republican voters. “If I can get the family of the 2008 GOP nominee to support me,” he could say, “I can get lots of other Republicans too.” But you know what Bernie and the left-wingers would say to that. The fact that the McCains are comfortable with Biden shows that (a) the political establishment is a lame monoculture, irrespective of party, (b) there’s no way Biden will enact bold progressive reforms as president if he’s dependent on centrist Republicans for support, and (c) the fact that close personal friends would endorse him says nothing about whether the average Republican voter would.

I can see the McCain endorsement maybe helping Biden once the field has narrowed and Democratic voters start looking harder at electability. Once the focus shifts for most from supporting the candidate they like best to supporting the candidate who stands the best chance of winning, there’s some value to prominent endorsements from the other party. And the McCains aren’t any random Republican family, of course. Maverick’s last big vote in the Senate was to save ObamaCare; he and Trump obviously despised each other, giving him some extra Democratic cred. His death generated public sympathy for him and his family even on the blue side of the aisle. The endorsement might be worth something to Uncle Joe. Just as not much as it’s likely to cost the McCains.

Note the fine print, though, about the McCains endorsing him “at some point.” I’m sure they’ll keep their powder dry for awhile to see if Biden’s polling holds up after he gets in. Imagine if they endorsed him and then all the worst fears about his viability proved true. And let’s face it: There’s a fair chance that those fears will prove true.

His leading rival in the Democratic primary, Senator Bernie Sanders, has amassed $26.6 million across his various political committees, including more than $10 million left over from his 2016 presidential run and 2018 re-election in Vermont. Mr. Biden begins at $0, and it would take his raising more than $100,000 every day until Christmas just to match what Mr. Sanders had banked at the start of April

Even before he formally enters the race, Mr. Biden is grappling with some internal tensions as he builds an organization: A launch video crafted by his new media consultant, Mark Putnam, was not favorably received by other advisers, and the former vice president’s longtime aide Mike Donilon devised an alternative video, according to two Democrats briefed on the dispute.

That’s almost satire. After months of waffling about whether to get into the race, then waffling about where to launch his campaign, now Biden’s waffling about which launch video to use. Breitbart points to a quote from a former Biden aide given to Time magazine last week: “I’ve never seen anything so half-assed. They’re improvising and doing last-minute planning. The guy has been running for President since 1987 and can’t figure the basics out, like where to stand on his first day? This should make everyone very nervous.” Added another former aide, “The guy’s best day is the day he announces. Everything after that gets worse.” Quite possible, and he’s not the only political pro who thinks so. If you were a McCain, how eager would you be to bet the family’s political prestige on him with an early endorsement? If he flames out of the race, you’d have enraged your own political party for nothing.

I think Cindy will end up staying out of it but Meghan will eventually endorse Biden, probably with the caveat that he’s the only Democrat she’s willing to endorse because the rest are all far too radical. That’ll appease Republicans to some extent, and if Biden ends up losing, which is likely, the endorsement will be excused on “no harm, no foul” grounds.