After riding the powerful boost of his big victory in the South Carolina primary to an impressive series of subsequent primary wins, former-Vice President Joe Biden was on a clear trajectory to capture the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, he is stuck at home in Delaware.
Talk about losing momentum. Like the majority of Americans dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden is practicing social distancing, which means no campaigning in the traditional, press-the-flesh-at-a-big-rally style. He can still use his phone to call donors and ask for money. He can check in for cable- news interviews on his computer. What he cannot do is deal a final blow to the campaign of his last rival for the nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Most of the remaining primaries have been delayed until June. And now the National Democratic Convention where Biden expects to become his party’s standard bearer has been bumped from mid-July to mid-August. No candidate has faced a quandary quite like this. In the end, will it hurt his candidacy or help?
Given that Biden lacks the charisma and eloquence of past successful Democratic nominees like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, a long break from direct contact with the electorate might not be the worst thing. Voters will be left to just think of his better qualities, like experience in governance and grasp of complex policy; attributes that are glaringly lacking in the incumbent president as the coronavirus spreads across the country and changes everything, including our politics.
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