Trump is doing Biden a big favor

Posted Wednesday, 23 October 2019 ‐ CNN

Joe Lockhart was White House press secretary from 1998-2000 in President Bill Clinton's administration. He co-hosts the podcast "Words Matter." The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN. (CNN)Reports of former Vice President Joe Biden's political demise have been greatly exaggerated. So says a new national poll taken by CNN. Instead of losing ground, Biden has again separated himself from the field with a substantial lead over his nearest rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Polls are an imperfect snapshot of where the race is at any particular moment. They certainly don't predict at this point who will win the nomination and face President Donald Trump next fall. But there is a lot I believe we can learn from this poll.The poll underlines the looming influence of President Trump on this race for the Democratic nomination. The news unfolding daily of President Trump's abuse of power on Capitol Hill underlines the focus Democrats have on removing Trump -- if not through impeachment, then at the ballot box. The President's continuing to put his own interests before the country's makes electability the crucial issue for most Democrats. National polls as well as polls in battleground states show Biden as the strongest candidate against Trump, and as impeachment talk ramps up, Biden's status only improves. As much as some Democratic voters may like the more radical policy proposals of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Trump's increasingly erratic and corrupt behavior has helped Biden's message that beating Trump is the first and only thing that matters.This new CNN poll also shows that the President's attacks on Biden and his family have boosted Biden's candidacy. Only weeks ago, it was unclear whether the baseless and false attacks were going to damage or boost Biden's fortunes among Democrats. The poll begins to answer that important question. Many Democrats have come to Biden's defense and understand that Trump is attacking him in this way because he is the candidate the Republicans most fear. No one likes to be told who should run and who they should vote for. They particularly don't like to be told those things by the opposing party.Some Democrats are also still extraordinarily bitter about how Hillary Clinton was subjected to misinformation and false and baseless charges in 2016. That sense of injustice among Democrats has proved to be critical insulation for Biden.The second thing the poll tells us is you don't have to win the debates to win the nomination. While Biden has sometimes come up short on the style points on stage, he has given enough Democrats enough to work with to continue supporting him. The debates over the last few months have been much more important to the second tier candidates, determining who can stay in the race and who needs to drop out. Neither Biden, Sanders nor Warren has significantly boosted nor hurt their chances for the nomination in the debates -- and that's likely to stay the same until the debates are winnowed down to just a handful of candidates.We also see in this poll that moderate and conservative Democrats, who lack a prominent presence on Twitter and at the big campaign rallies, have stayed with Biden Most Democrats around the country have not fully tuned into this race and even in Iowa, the site of the first in the nation caucus, nearly 75% of respondents to the most recent statewide poll, showing the race a dead heat, said they had not watched the CNN-NY Times debate in Columbus Ohio. If they're not watching yet in Iowa, you can bet there are large portions of Democrats waiting until next year to fully tune in to the race. Finally, I think this poll dispels the idea from some observers that Democrats are looking for more candidates to enter the field. Biden's strength in this poll and in the various head to head polls with Trump in battleground states should put to rest the story of discontent with our candidates that repeats in almost every election cycle for the Democrats.So, here's what the poll doesn't tell us: who's going to win the nomination. I have no doubt the poll accurately reflects Biden's strength nationally, as well as the strength of both Sanders and Warren. But national numbers have often proved less than predictive in the Democratic nomination process. The race is a dynamic one -- what happens in Iowa will impact New Hampshire and what happens in New Hampshire impacts what happens in Nevada and so on. The new numbers are not insignificant however. After Nevada and South Carolina we quickly move into large, multistate Tuesday primaries where national standing has much more impact. The race remains wide open for those in the top tier and even a few in the second tier. But it reminds us to take with a grain of salt any predictions about the demise or the rise of any particular candidate and to wait until the voters have their say to decide this contest.

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Google's new Stadia gaming service is hot — in more ways than one.Some gamers accessing the new cloud gaming platform through a Google (GOOG) Chromecast Ultra dongle are reporting that their devices are crashing and overheating...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

David A. Andelman, executive director of The RedLines Project, is a contributor to CNN, where his columns won the Deadline Club Award for Best Opinion Writing. Author of "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today," he was formerly a...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Tess Taylor is the author of the poetry collections "Work & Days" and "The Forage House." She has two forthcoming books of poetry about California, "Rift Zone" and "Last West." Views expressed in this commentary are solely hers. Read more opinion...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Igor Fruman, the Soviet-born South Florida businessman at the center of a federal campaign finance probe involving the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, said he put more than $300,000 in political donations on company credit cards in...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)An inmate who escaped from a Missouri jail in September has been caught in a Delaware bunker he made of foliage around a fallen tree, according to the US Marshals Service.Drake Kately was found near New Castle on Tuesday, marshals said, after he...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Anne Sabol's cul-de-sac in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is fairly quiet. Well, it was, until a dog hopped in its owner's running car, kicked it in reverse, drove in circles for an hour and smashed a neighbor's mailbox before safely exiting the...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)American regulators voted to impose new restrictions on subsidies for American telecom companies Friday. The ruling is designed to constrain Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE.The FCC's decision will prohibit American...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Three years after chants of "build that wall" became a rallying cry for the candidacy of Donald Trump, his administration is engaged in an increasingly aggressive land grab along the Southwest border to make a new wall a reality, a CNN review of...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Christopher Bail is the director of the Polarization Lab at Duke University. Follow him on Twitter @chris_bail. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN. (CNN)As Republicans and Democrats continue to sort themselves...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Bumble Bee Foods filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, blaming its "recent and significant legal challenges." Taiwanese fish supply chain company FCF Co. plans to put in a $925 million bid for the assets. The deal is expected to be...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

London (CNN Business)An Indian cafe chain popular for its chai drinks is under fire for using facial recognition software to bill its customers, with some taking to social media to express their anger at what they say is a loss of privacy. Nikhil Pahwa,...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)On a recent Friday afternoon in West Philadelphia, two police officers arrive at the corner of 52nd and Market Streets. A loud commotion ensues, attracting the attention of passers-by. A crowd gathers, some taking photos and video with their...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Rock-bottom interest rates have pumped up stock prices, knocked down mortgage rates and supported the creation of countless unicorns in Silicon Valley. Savers, on the other hand, have been crushed by near-zero rates.Some of those...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump suggested Friday that he's open to his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, leaving the administration to pursue a Senate seat in Kansas "if he thought that there was a chance of losing that seat."Trump told "Fox and...

Posted Friday, 22 November 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It's rare to find an almost-perfect copy of Marvel Comics' first comic book, aptly named "Marvel Comics 1." But one in near-mint condition just sold for a record $1.26 million.It's the "finest known copy" of the comic book, according to Heritage...