Biden spokesman: We don't want James Comey's vote for Joe

Biden spokesman: We don't want James Comey's vote for Joe

A treat for you as we get ready for election returns this evening. My instinct upon seeing a campaign publicly reject someone’s vote is to gasp and think “political malpractice.” At a minimum, it’s annoyingly arrogant. Every vote is valuable, right? At worst, it risks offending anyone who might be sympathetic to the person whose vote was rejected.

But look who we’re talking about here. No one, left or right, sympathizes with Comey. He’s the guy who reopened the Emailgate probe right before the election in 2016, tilting swing voters to Trump! And the guy responsible for spearheading the Russiagate probe that embroiled the president for two years!

In fact, the potential unifying power of this tweet is such that I’m now projecting Joe Biden to be the 46th president of the United States.

Honest question: If O.J. tweeted that he was voting for Biden, would Team Joe bother to say “no thanks”? No, right? They’d ignore him. Think about the niche Comey now enjoys in American political culture such that his endorsement warrants a formal public repudiation whereas O.J.’s wouldn’t.

This wasn’t the only time Biden’s spokesman was salty today:

I understand dunking on national pariah Jim Comey. I’m not sure I see the strategy in dunking on a guy whom your boss is hoping will (a) drop out within the next 12 hours and endorse him and (b) plow a few hundred million bucks into supporting his quest for the nomination. Especially when he was chattering this morning about how a contested convention is the only way he can win the nomination. Are they trying to bait Mike into running for three more months, eating into Biden’s margins with moderate voters in state after state?

On the other hand, try to sketch a scenario in which Biden and Bernie, or Bernie and Biden, are one-two in delegates in Milwaukee and the nomination somehow ends up going to … Michael Bloomberg. You can’t do it. They’d have to reach all the way down to the (likely) third-place finisher in the race, a figure with many hundreds of fewer delegates than the top two and who emphatically does not occupy the ideological middle ground between Sanders and Biden that might make him a viable compromise candidate. You can imagine someone like Elizabeth Warren being a compromise choice if she finished third — a very strong third, that is, not far behind the second-place candidate. (Which won’t be happening.) But Bloomberg is a raw expression of plutocracy, a candidate practically designed in a lab to offend Berniebros. They’d never tolerate him as nominee unless he were the plurality delegate leader, even though his billions could obviously buy an unprecedented advertising arsenal against Trump in the general election. If anything, Bloomberg trying to assert himself in Milwaukee might make Bernie fans more willing to acquiesce in Biden’s nomination if Joe ended up with a plurality of delegates.

In lieu of an exit question, read Gabriel Sherman’s report this afternoon about Bloomberg’s advisors having nudged him over the weekend to quit the race after South Carolina and endorse Biden. Bloomy has refused, presumably for the simple reason that he wasn’t going to bail on a $500 million Super Tuesday investment before the polls even opened with him finally on the ballot. But if he’s already under pressure from his own staff to quit, it seems highly likely that he’ll bail this week if his performance today is as underwhelming as everyone expects. Quote from a source close to the campaign: “It’s clearer than ever after the weekend that it’s over and thus he will risk making Ross Perot and Ralph Nader look good if he stays in this.”

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Duane Patterson 2:01 PM on June 05, 2023