For years, there’s been talk of a so-called “invisible primary” that opens and closes long before the real political primaries begin. These primaries are held not in front of the voters, but behind closed doors with big-money political donors who decide who among the crop of potential candidates is the one they want to throw their money behind. These invisible primaries result in one candidate who will be far ahead of the pack in terms of money and media attention, two of the most important considerations when making a run for president.
In 2016, the two winners of the invisible primary were obvious: Hillary Clinton on the Democrat side and Jeb Bush on the Republican side. Hillary went on to become the nominee, but only after nearly having her campaign derailed by an email scandal and – perhaps just as importantly – the unexpectedly popular rise of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, Bush was DOA the moment Donald Trump entered the race. Not only did he fail to use his $100 million war chest to become the nominee, he was barely even competitive.
The year, one can assume that Joe Biden was the winner of the invisible primary. Unfortunately for him, we may have crossed into an era where that doesn’t really mean as much as it used to. Biden is well out in front of most national polls, with the aforementioned Bernie the only one even close to his tail. Conventional wisdom would suggest that, the moment he finally declares his candidacy, he’ll easily blow through the nine hundred other Democrats trying to make a name for themselves by running.
As it looks right now, though, his campaign may be over before it officially begins.
Liberals have been casting doubts about Biden’s viability for months now. His first sin: In a big social justice moment for the left, he’s a white, straight man. Strike one. But even if Biden can get beyond that, there are other, more specific problems. Democrats don’t like the way he handled the Anita Hill hearings in the early 90s. They don’t like his mixed record on abortion (to wit, Biden never voted to let a viable baby die in an abortion clinic). They don’t like the way he’s flirting with centrism at a time when Democrats should be hoisting the Communist flag loudly and proudly.
Could Biden have gotten through all of that purity testing? Maybe. But now he’s in danger of being #MeToo’d right out of the race.
A woman named Lucy Flores published a first-hand account of an encounter she had with Biden in 2014, in which she described the then-vice president of some uncomfortable behavior. She felt Biden “get closer to me from behind” at a Nevada political event. “He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.”
These kinds of “ew” moments are not out of the ordinary for America’s creepy Uncle Joe, but they may have caught up with him at a time when liberals have no patience for any male behavior that smells even vaguely of predation.
With his apologies to Anita and his condemnations of “white male culture,” Biden could pander his way past all of these left-wing concerns.
Or he could wind up being this year’s Jeb Bush, careening towards irrelevance before his campaign can even properly start.