Former Vice President Joe Biden was in New Hampshire, which on one occasion he confused with Vermont when he made a rather arresting assertion when speaking at a rally. According to The Week, he said, “I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts.”
The article neatly places the odd comment in context:
“The obviously defensive comment comes after months of Biden stumbling over some pretty important details at campaign rallies, namely the locations of two mass shootings earlier this month.
There’s also the time Biden said: “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” in front of the Asian & Latino Coalition in Iowa. Yet the man who performed surgery on Biden three decades ago following two brain aneurysms agrees with the 76-year-old’s weekend comment, saying that he’s clearly ‘as sharp as he was 31 years ago.’”
As far as anyone knows, no major candidate for president of the United States has been obliged to maintain that he is not going insane.
President Donald Trump certainly has not, even though many of his enemies have maintained that he is nuts, if not in the clinical sense at least in every way it matters for a man with access to the nuclear button.
Biden’s main argument for gaining the nomination for the presidency is that he is steady and experienced enough to be electable.
He is not a flaming socialist like Bernie Sanders not does he have an off-putting, authoritarian bent like Elizabeth Warren nor too much of the tendency to flipflop like Kamala Harris.
However, as some analysts have pointed out, Biden’s tendency to the gaffe might eventually cause people to rethink the electability argument.
If the most recent Monmouth Poll is any indication, that reassessment has already started to take place. Politico explains:
“Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have surged to tie with Joe Biden atop the Democratic presidential field, according to a poll that suggests the three are solidifying their status as the top tier in the massive field.”
“The Monmouth University poll, released Monday, shows Sanders and Warren deadlocked among Democratic voters at 20 percent, with Biden a point behind, at 19 percent. No other candidate cracks double digits: Kamala Harris is in fourth place, at 8 percent. Compared with the Monmouth poll in June, Sanders has ticked up 6 points, and Warren 5 points. Biden dropped 13 points, from 32 percent in June.”
The Politico article notes that Biden has slipped across the board, whites and non-whites, men and women, the young and the old. He has dropped twice as much, by 18 percent, among moderates and conservatives as he has among liberals, by 9 percent.
Hot Air has three theories about why Biden has suffered such a slide and his two main rivals have started to surge.
First, the gaffes have started to catch up with Biden. Hot Air notes that Biden’s favorably rating has taken a hit as well.
Second, with the talk of an economic slowdown in the air, Democrats have decided that they might want to follow their hearts rather their head and take a chance on out and proud progressives. They are just divided on whether their person should be Sanders or Warren.
The third theory is that Biden may or may not be nuts, but the poll may well be. Hot Air quotes a Larry Sabato tweet:
“This new poll is based on 298 registered D or D-leaning voters. Big 5.7% margin of error. Monmouth is a solid pollster but polling averages are even better. Bet some polls around Labor Day show quite different results.”
The Real Clear Politics average still shows Biden on top by about 10 points. Hot Air notes that most pollsters want at least 400 respondents to get anything close to an accurate reading. On the other hand, the latest YouGov poll shows similar results to the Monmouth.
Two possibilities, therefore, present themselves, according to most analysts. Either the Monmouth poll is what they call an outlier, something that gives different results from everyone else, or it has picked up an early trend away from Biden and toward the more leftwing candidates.
Mind, pundits find a three-way race more exciting than Biden coasting toward an inevitable coronation. The scenario provides a more exciting thing to write about. Whether it has or will have any resemblance to reality remains to be seen.