How Biden plans to steamroll the 2020 Democratic field

But Biden’s calls are also part of a real, traditional show-of-force strategy to demonstrate, from his first week in the race, that he is in a category of his own — a pol to be reckoned with this time, complete with more institutional support in the form of endorsements, surrogates, and defenders than all the other candidates combined. “I think you will see a lot of key elected endorsements come out of the chute,” said James Smith, the Biden friend and former South Carolina legislator who ran for governor unsuccessfully in 2018. Biden is wagering that in an age of digital fundraising, insurgent politics, and Trump’s Twitter wars, this kind of thing still matters, especially when he’s likely to be target No. 1 for the rest of the field. Yet in the Biden team’s eyes, it’s only natural: Their guy is in a unique position to approach even the top potential endorsers who are unlikely to weigh in for anyone else and say, “We’ve known each other forever, and I’m your best bet.”…

The Biden camp isn’t expecting to roll out dozens of endorsements in one sudden motion when he launches, but the overarching early-days plan to flex his political muscles — a video, a union rally, preplanned endorsements trickling out — is a microcosm of the overall Biden effort to portray himself as far and away the most electable candidate against Donald Trump, especially among a traditional national electorate, and not necessarily, in his advisers’ estimation, the woke Twitter crowd. What Biden will soon find out is whether an effort to highlight institutional support like this is too old school or out of step with today’s Democratic Party. “Does this actually help him? The fact that he has supporters is a core strength,” said one leading Democratic operative who’s in close touch with the Biden team. “But they’re insiders, so it’s a core weakness.”

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