People always talk about Joe Biden’s special connection to the white working class, those vaunted lost voters throughout the industrial Midwest whom Democrats are desperate to get back if they want the White House again.

No one has any proof that this connection gets anyone to vote for Biden, or vote at all.

The idea that he can win white working-class votes is part of every calculation about Biden’s likely 2020 run, in public and among his inner circle. It has become automatic filler in conversations and news stories about how he’d measure up against the rest of the Democratic field and how he might perform against Donald Trump, or which states he’d put in play. It was part of why Barack Obama put him on the ticket in 2008 and how Hillary Clinton deployed him in 2016, and it defined which districts he was asked to campaign in during the 2018 midterms.