Biden has big lead but is not home-free

Will the left pull defeat from the jaws of victory?

They’ve done it before, and they can do it again!

Polls show Joe Biden with a commanding lead over President Donald Trump, including a 14-point lead in a CNN poll. That’s significant with 2020 at the halfway point less than five months before the election.

Yes, Hillary Clinton also had a lead over Trump at this same time in 2016. But she never topped 50%, as the former vice president has now.

Clinton also had a high unfavorability rating, something Biden is not dealing with in this election. He has been around for a long time, taking office as a senator in 1973 when Richard Nixon was president, for heaven’s sake.

Biden ran for president in 1987, dropping out before a single vote was cast in the 1988 primary/caucus battle, and again in 2008, although he was quickly eliminated that time, too.

He contemplated a run in 2016 and may have missed a golden opportunity. If he could have defeated Clinton for the nomination, he might have beaten Trump.

Now, in his advanced age — if elected, he would be 78 when sworn in and become the oldest president ever — Biden has been on an impressive streak. After a slow start to his campaign, with some calling for him to drop out, he won the South Carolina primary, primarily by rallying black women to his side.

Then, he received the support of several mainstream Democrats who quit the race and endorsed Biden, eliminating Sen. Bernie Sanders’ hopes that he could become the oldest president ever.

Biden, who clinched the nomination last weekend, has kept a low profile this spring as the pandemic forced him to remain home and avoid most campaign appearances. He has done several interviews and has attempted to remain as visible as possible.

Biden has been wise to stand back as Trump has damaged his re-election chances with reckless comments and a staged photo-op outside a Washington, D.C., church that he rarely attends.

Never get in the way of your opponent self-destructing, as generals and politicians say.

Trump is being blamed for the truly terrible year we are experiencing. The pandemic that he said would vanish without a serious impact has killed nearly 110,000 Americans.

More than 35 million Americans lost their jobs and it was announced Monday that the country has been in a recession since February.

Yeah, we noticed.

The murder of George Floyd two weeks ago was the spark that ignited long-simmering racial tensions in the country. America has burned and marches have been held across the land.

It’s been a very imperfect storm of events, and Trump, despite saying he is not willing to accept responsibility, is the man in charge. All this happened on his watch.

That’s why Biden has such a large lead in the polls and why Republicans have started to slide away from Trump. If he goes down, they don’t want to be caught up in the wake.

So how can Democrats, especially liberal ones, throw this all away? Simple — they have a lot of practice.

They had leads in 1988, 2000, and 2016 and found ways to lose. President Obama was unable to pass a health-care bill in his first term despite having Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

Yes, the Democratic Party can struggle organizing a two-car parade. If there is a way to fail, they have found it.

One troubling pattern has emerged recently of protestors rejecting anyone who does not completely agree with them, and even some who do.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed and taunted a rally held Saturday, June 6, because he would not agree to defund the police department. A speaker reminded the angry crowd that Frey, who was clearly uncomfortable, was up for re-election next year.

Still, he refused to buckle under and walked away through a hostile crowd. “Go home, Jacob,” they sang.

Mind you, Frey is a liberal Democrat. He agrees with the call for serious reform in the police department. But because he did not yield to the crowd, he was rejected and publicly shamed.

I see it on social media. People will agree or comment on a Facebook or Twitter post but are attacked. One man whom I saw add a comment on a post was told to go away, since he was a white male and had insulted the woman by daring to add his thoughts.

I get it, and so does Mayor Frey. People are angry now, their passions inflamed. The murder of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of police have angered hundreds of millions of people across the planet.

The tremendous economic disparity in this nation, mixed in with ongoing racial strife, has created a pool of gasoline and Floyd’s murder dropped a match into it, igniting a firestorm that will burn for days, weeks, maybe months.

Biden and other top Democrats have to tame the flame while keeping the heat building until Nov. 3. Most have rejected the call to defund the police, aware that it will not play well with moderate voters who will decide this election.

They want the support and need the passion of the left, but they cannot accept its most extreme positions. It’s a fine line, and one that a political veteran like Biden should be able to walk.

Much could change between now and Election Day, as Trump proved four years ago, but Biden has a significant lead and could be able to build on it, creating a wave election that washes Trump and Senate Republicans out of power.

We see prominent Republicans, including South Dakota Sen. John Thune, willing to differ with Trump in recent days. They are creating a bit of distance from him.

The biggest risk to Biden may be from the left wing of his own party and liberals who would otherwise support him. Many are still longing for Bernie and not thrilled with Ol’ Uncle Joe, with his long, muddy record to sift through and find faults.

They are touchy right now, angry and empowered. They don’t want to be told what to do or think, saying centrist Democrats have done little to reverse the damaging course we have been on in recent years.

But for that to change, Trump must be defeated and Biden elected. To do so, he needs to open the flaps and invite millions into his tent, not just those who enter from the left.

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