News came this morning that the Vice President will not be running for president. The people that are most relieved by this are Bernie Sanders' pitchfork-Left followers.
As the media over the past week or so obsessed over the will-he-won't-he speculation, an interesting phenomenon developed in the existing primary battle: Hillary Clinton seemed to be unaffected by the Biden speculation and continues to build a national campaign. Gung-ho Bernie Sanders supporters - mostly the mantle-claimers of "progressive" media - however were losing their collective minds the possibility of a Biden candidacy.
This piece is an attempt to examine why.
On Monday, The Nation's Joan Walsh wrote a hit piece against Biden, claiming that Biden's candidacy would be an "insult to the man who made this a race", referring to Sanders, and claiming that were Biden to enter the race, it would have helped Clinton since Biden could split the "working-class white men" vote with Sanders.
Thanks for the dog whistle, Joan.
As if to follow on cue, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviewed David Sirota - yes, the racist one - about 20-year-old bones they have to pick with Biden on bankrupcy law and the 1994 crime bill.
So what's the reason for this pre-emptive attack on Biden from the Pitchfork Left's loudest voices, whose candidate is ostensibly running against Hillary Clinton?
There is only one possible reason for Sanders-fans to be afraid of Joe Biden. They know that Sanders himself has very little bast of support. He's running to "provide an alternative" to the presumptive front-runner, Hillary Clinton and a good chunk, if not a large majority, of his support comes from those looking for the most viable challenger to Clinton within the Democratic primary. Right now, that's Sanders.
Biden's entrance would have changed that math. Biden may not have immediately skyrocketed to comfortably challenging Clinton, but his entry would have undoubtedly signaled to the Democrats who were clinging to Sanders as the only viable alternative to Hillary in the primary that an established, seasoned alternative was available. Bernie's devotees were worried that those voters would flock to Biden instead, and whether Biden could actually mount a serious challenge to Clinton or not, his entry, they fear, would have finished off the revolutionaries' White House pipe dream.
Now that the Vice President won't be running, Sanders fans' relief may only be temporary. Because - and I want to stress this - although many Sanders backers would have defected to Biden, those who were holding off for Biden even with him not in the race yet (myself included) were definitely not going to flock to Sanders as our goal is to continue the president's traditions and retain the White House in Democratic hands, and we lack the irrational hatred of Secretary Clinton.
A lot of voters who were toying with the idea of "not Clinton" which defaulted to Bernie Sanders will now have to seriously consider that the field is essentially closed and whether Sanders would make the best candidate and president on his own, not just as an alternative to Hillary Clinton. That may already be starting to happen. As national polls observe Clinton rising after the first Democratic debate, yesterday's PPP poll in New Hampshire spells disaster for Sanders, putting Clinton up by 10 points over Sanders in a total 17-point swing (with Biden out) since before the debate.