June 6, 2019

Biden 2020 Update

“Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, released a climate change plan on Tuesday that would pour $1.7 trillion of investment into achieving 100% clean energy and net-zero emissions by 2050, in part using revenues from reversing Trump administration corporate tax cuts.” Reuters

On Wednesday, “his campaign confirmed that he supports [the Hyde Amendment] a four-decade-old ban on federal funding for abortion that much of his party has vowed to overturn.” Politico

A recent poll of likely Michigan voters “found both former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders leading Trump by 12 percentage points if the vote were to be held today.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left credits the progressive movement for making climate change a top issue for candidates, and criticizes Biden for his stance on abortion and overall moderate leanings.

The very fact that Biden felt the need to release a climate plan near the start of his policy rollout shows the influence and success of Ocasio-Cortez and her allies in the climate movement.”
Ella Nilsen, Vox

“Both [Biden’s] plan and the Warren plan—and the Inslee climate plan, and O’Rourke’s proposal—adopt [the Green New Deal’s] theory of change, emphasizing that gushing federal investment can help the U.S. economy solve the problem of climate change. All four proposals, to varying degrees, promise a new age of plenty, a dawning era of renewed American dauntlessness. And they show how the window of political possibility has already moved significantly… Even if neither Biden nor Warren becomes president, their proposals demonstrate how the Green New Deal seems to be winning the battle of ideas among Democrats, at least for now.”
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

Regarding Biden’s support for the Hyde Amendment, he “has given two different answers on a key abortion rights question in recent weeks, and the more recent answer, the official one coming from his campaign, is the wrong one.”
Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

“The rationale behind the Hyde Amendment is that taxpayers should not have to fund things to which they are privately opposed… This position privileges the moral objections of certain Americans over the basic human rights of others, and ignores the simple fact that in any system of government, elected officials will spend some money on some things which some constituents do not think are in the public interest. The ability of conservatives to carve out women’s health care for special treatment, turning the provision of basic medical care into a heated political debate, is a testament to how easily latent misogyny still permeates the policymaking process.”
Jay Willis, GQ

“In 2016, a poll of voters in key battleground states found that 76 percent of voters agreed with the following statement: ‘However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage for it just because she’s poor.’ Sixty-two percent agreedthat ‘when Medicaid covers pregnancy care but withholds coverage for abortion, we’re taking away a low-income woman’s ability to make important personal decisions based on what is best for her circumstances. ’ And a recent poll commissioned by a consortium of women’s health groups found that 9 in 10 women of color believe ‘that a woman being able to control if, when, and how to have children provides both individual and societal benefits.’ If Joe Biden wants to carry the banner of a party that claims to champion, protect and uphold the inalienable rights of black, brown and poor people, he must reverse his support of the Hyde Amendment and follow the lead of his fellow Democratic candidates.”
Danielle Campoamor, Washington Post

Critics of the candidate argue, “Want to defeat Trump? Attack Biden… Many progressives are understandably fearful that attacking the presumptive frontrunner might weaken him and give Trump ammunition for the general election. But challenging Biden’s record is important. For example, his core base of support – older Democrats – needs to know what an unreliable defender of Social Security and Medicare he is. By challenging him on his record, especially in the eyes of older, traditional Democratic voters, progressives could break the myth of Biden’s ‘electability’. (A strange trope given that Biden has tried and failed to be a presidential nominee since the 1980s.)… Anyone angling to be the Democratic nominee should espouse a real progressive agenda – just being ‘anti-Trump’ isn’t enough.”
Bhaskar Sunkara, The Guardian

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

The right criticizes Biden’s climate plan, and argues that his current position on abortion is in line with popular opinion. They see him as a formidable opponent against President Trump.

The right criticizes Biden’s climate plan, and argues that his current position on abortion is in line with popular opinion. They see him as a formidable opponent against President Trump.

“Biden’s theory seems to be that tariffs to protect U.S. jobs are bad, but tariffs to combat climate change are good. Somehow I don’t think that will fly in the heartland. That fact blows a hole in Biden’s main selling point, that his purported moderation and working-class background will help him regain votes among the blue-collar Democrats whose defection elected Trump. A climate plan such as this one easily lets Trump argue that Biden may have been born like you, but he left you for the D.C. liberal swamp long ago.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

“Biden got one thing right in his proposal. The fastest and safest way to reduce our reliance on carbon fuel sources is through the use of nuclear power. But the rest of the plan that focuses on high-speed rail, electric vehicles, massive government investments, and increasing government regulations and reporting requirements on corporations is taking us in precisely the wrong direction. Especially since his plan to pay for it is to raise the corporate tax rate, once again making America less competitive for investment than other nations. As of today, it seems all of the [Democratic] candidates for the Presidency are bent on implementing policies that lead to catastrophic economic upheaval.”
Stacey Lennox, The Resurgent

Regarding Biden’s support for the Hyde Amendment, he “seems to back the same hesitant tolerance for abortion as a last resort that half of the country holds… Since Roe v. Wadewas decided, roughly 20% of the nation has remained solidly pro-life under all circumstances. The hardline pro-choice coalition has oscillated ever so slightly, now composing nearly 30% of the population. Half of the country is caught in the middle, and polling indicates that their ethos on the matter lies somewhere between ‘safe, legal, and rare’ and the acceptance of abortion as a necessary evil that ought to be avoided…

“Yes, 6 out of 10 Americans support legal abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, but nearly the same amount support the Hyde Amendment. Contrary to the loudest voices in the primary and the media, even most Democrats do not view abortion as a positive good. Just 44% of Democrats oppose the Hyde Amendment, and fewer than 1 in 5 support legalizing third trimester abortion, which multiple presidential candidates have endorsed… Biden may be blasted for inconsistency, and he'll certainly come under fire from the far left, but he may be more in line with the average American on abortion than any other candidate in the race.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

Regarding his candidacy overall, “There’s a lot of conventional wisdom in Washington that the early front-runner always loses. And that’s true except when it isn’t… in 1999, George W. Bush dominated the polls and, except for a brief scare from Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, essentially cruised to victory. A key part of Bush’s early success, not just in polls but in fundraising, stemmed from the fact that he was promising a Bush restoration…

“He was offering a referendum on the incumbent president and the scandals and partisanship that defined the end of his administration. He vowed to restore ‘honor and dignity to the Oval Office’ and to be a ‘uniter not a divider.’ The very different context notwithstanding, this is pretty much Biden’s campaign message. The ideological, activist, and Twitter-obsessed base of the Democratic party may not like Biden’s pitch. But it sure looks like rank-and-file Democrats do.”
Jonah Goldberg, National Review

He “is taking heavy fire [from second-tier candidates]… How Mr. Biden parries these assaults will be his next big test. If he goes into August bloodied but unbowed and returns the campaign’s focus to his strengths—he is a steady, likable choice who matches up best against the president—Mr. Biden will have bought time to deepen his organization before the opening contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”
Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

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