Joe Biden and the Phantom “Electability” Argument

Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad-City Times via ZUMA

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Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan thinks the press is being too easy on Joe Biden:

As Iowa journalist Robert Leonard talks to voters around his state, he finds himself baffled at the national portrayal of Joe Biden’s dominance in the presidential campaign….He shakes his head at the extensive coverage and commentary that depicts Biden as almost a shoo-in for a nomination that’s more than a year away.

I keep hearing this, but I’ve never seen it. Can someone please give me an example of Biden being treated as a shoo-in?

One example: CNN’s morning briefing newsletter recently called Biden “the most formidable threat” to President Trump’s reelection chances.

CNN is far from alone. It’s common across the national media to see Biden pegged as the safest candidate for Democrats to put up to unseat Trump. He’s got that secret sauce: electability.

Saying that Biden, the frontrunner in all the polls, provides the most formidable threat to Trump is not even close to calling him a shoo-in, nor does it say anything about his electability. So where does this come from?

I’m pretty sure I’ve read at least a dozen pieces complaining about Biden’s supposed electability for every piece that actually says Biden is the most electable candidate. In fact, let’s check that out. Here are the top results from a Google search for “Biden electable”:

You’d think that in a column headlined “Joe Biden and the ‘electability’ delusion,” Sullivan could manage to provide at least one example of Biden being called the most electable candidate, but she can’t. Or doesn’t. Or something. Like everyone else, she complains about this phantom argument, but can’t really point to anyone making it.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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