Joe Biden skipping straight to the general election

Where in the world is Joe Biden? The 2020 Democratic primary frontrunner is missing out on all of the big parties. He was a no-show at the California Democratic convention and he’s also RSVP’d in the negative for some other major cattle calls. Rather than the early primary/caucus states, Joe is knocking around in the swing states. That’s prompting some people, like Seth Mclaughlin at the Washington Times to ask the question… is Biden hidin‘?

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden has left his fellow 2020 presidential candidates and local party leaders in early voting states miffed with his light and strictly scripted campaign schedule.

His latest no-show will come this weekend where he’ll miss the first big Iowa cattle call of the 2020 presidential election, which 19 other Democrats will attend. Last weekend, he skipped out on California Democrats’ convention, where 14 rivals spoke.

Instead, Mr. Biden is dictating his own schedule, with an eye toward the general election rather than the primary schedule.

Rather than California, he was in Ohio last weekend, headlining a Human Rights Campaign gala.

Allow me to take a stab at Seth’s question. In terms of whether or not Uncle Joe is “hiding,” that depends on who you think he’s hiding from and who is doing the actual hiding.

Biden most likely isn’t attending any of these big events because both he and his advisors know that there’s no real upside to showing up. When you’re this far ahead in the polls, jumping into the scrum with all of the third tier candidates who are down in single digits is fruitless. It’s punching down. They have nothing to lose by going after him and has very little to gain. All he would be doing is setting himself up for another chance to stick his foot in his mouth. (Reference his recent Hyde Amendment mix-up.)

By staying in lower traffic (but still very important) states, Biden gets to keep the stage pretty much to himself. And by sticking to a carefully scripted message and not winging it too much, he can probably avoid too many own goal moments. In terms of tone, the goal here appears to be allowing the voters to see a guy who has already moved past the primary scuffle and is running against Donald Trump in the general election.

Of course, you can definitely overplay that hand if you’re not careful. In ignoring the rest of the field, he’s also ignoring the Democratic voters in some key early states. If he’s not willing to show up and play, they may start looking at other options. Also, Biden shouldn’t risk coming off too cocky, as if he’s already got this thing in the bag. Voters don’t tend to go in for smugness.

Biden will have to show up somewhere to mix it up, even if it’s not until the debates. He’s sitting on a double-digit lead over everyone else at the moment and that’s great news for him. But it’s still not nearly a majority, and when a bunch of the others start dropping out, support will begin to coalesce around some non-Biden candidate. He hasn’t won anything yet.