Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has already demonstrated that it can and will work to disqualify Biden, one gaffe at a time. The most widely shared clip of Biden’s “poor kids” slip-up on progressive Twitter Thursday night was packaged by the president’s official rapid-response director. On Saturday, Trump himself called out Biden’s “truth over facts” flub.
Electability is in the eye of the beholder. I’m far from convinced that there’s a tradeoff between how progressive a Democratic candidate is, and how likely he or she would be to prevail next November. Bernie Sanders is something close to a known commodity at this point, and he still polls quite well against Trump. Elizabeth Warren is proving herself a far stronger campaigner than many skeptics had predicted. That said, those in the market for a conventionally “electable” moderate have plenty of safer bets than an Iraq War supporter in ostensible cognitive decline. Amy Klobuchar consistently wins elections in Minnesota by a wider margin than the state’s partisan lean would predict. Cory Booker is an amiable orator with a gift for inspiring documentaries about himself and rescuing freezing dogs. Beto O’Rourke came within a couple points of beating an incumbent senator in Texas (and he’s starting to get really good at cursing). Steve Bullock has managed to win elections as a pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-gun safety Democrat in Montana. And Pete Buttigieg is easily the most lifelike android that Democratic consultants have ever manufactured.
None of these candidates inspire euphemistic whispers about whether they’ve “lost a step.” None has a half-century worth of controversial congressional votes that Trump’s henchmen can cynically exploit.