The 2020 presidential election is a good way off and the pivotal 2018 midterms are this year, but it’s never too early for the regressive left to start griping about the 2020 Democrat frontrunner.   Former Senator (D-DE) and former Vice President Joe Biden is the Democrat voters’ early pick to go up against President Trump.

This is great news for President Trump, but the Democrat base is less than happy that yet another elderly cis gender white male with a penchant for groping women and girls is in the lead in this #MeToo moment.  His being a bit gaffe-prone is apparently not a concern, but his leading role in and continued defense of the 1994 Clinton crime bill contributes to the disgruntled murmurings from the Democrat base.

Earlier this week, Politico reported:

Joe Biden, who leads the Democratic 2020 presidential field in early polls, has all the markings of a front-runner. He possesses a sterling résumé, access to a donor base, name recognition and eight years of loyal service to a president who’s loved by the party base. There’s just one problem: He’s also a deeply flawed candidate who’s out of step with the mood of his party.

As we’ve noted here at LI, the Democratic Party has lunged so far left that it’s all but unrecognizable to many Americans, including traditional Democrat voters.

This leftward lunge is likely to create problems for Biden, should he decide to run.

Politico continues:

The bigger issue is whether there’s a place for him atop the Democratic Party that’s taking shape after the ruinous 2016 election cycle. This new iteration is unsentimental and unforgiving, and Biden has more than a few conspicuous Senate votes that demand a reckoning in the Trump-era Democratic Party.

One of them is the bankruptcy reform bill that he championed for years, until it finally passed in 2005. The political taint from that law—favored by credit card companies because it made it harder for consumers to get debt relief through bankruptcy—shows no sign of subsiding on the left. It surfaced as a thorny issue during Biden’s vetting as Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008, and reappeared nearly a decade later to haunt Hillary Clinton during her 2016 Democratic primary.

. . . .  The 1994 crime bill is another ticking time bomb from Biden’s past. As Obama’s vice president and a key member of an administration that sought to reorient criminal justice policy, Biden was never truly called to account for his leading role in passing a Clinton administration measure that many in the party believe exacerbated an era of mass incarceration that disproportionately affects racial minorities.

But there’s no dodging it in the next Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton was confronted on the 2016 campaign trail by Black Lives Matter activists merely for advocating the crime bill’s passage as first lady. Biden, meanwhile, has proudly referred to it as “the 1994 Biden crime bill.”

One point made in the Politico article is that Biden’s “handi-ness” with women and girls is mitigated by the infamous Access Hollywood recording.

Trump would also provide cover for another often-discussed Biden drawback: the overly familiar mannerisms that seem terribly out of place in the #MeToo era. Next to Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tapes and the litany of sexual misconduct charges levied against the president, Biden’s hands-iness barely registers.

This is short-sighted on the left’s part.  Disciples of Saul Alinsky should know that the rules for radicals include holding their target to the target’s principles, not to those of his opponent.

Ultimately, though, Biden is unlikely to make the cut for the new socialist Democrats.

Salon, a leading progressive outlet, is infuriated by the very idea of a Joe Biden candidacy when there are so many progressive women far more well-versed in SJW rhetoric chomping at the bit to vie for the Democrat nomination.

Predictions that former Vice President Joe Biden will emerge as the party front-runner only enhance the frustrations of many Democratic activists. Despite admiration for Biden’s bona fides and appreciation of his charisma, they object to his political record of support for the now-notorious crime bill passed in 1994 under Bill Clinton, along with his consistently soft approach to issues of economic justice.

The ease and clarity with which Pam Eanes explained the progressive platform should shame any self-proclaimed Democrat who stumbles and sputters when facing policy questions.
“I would like to see the Democratic Party turn their focus back to representing the people,” she said when I asked her about her hope for the future of the party. “Create fair labor laws that pay a living wage. Charge a tax on artificial intelligence and robots. Have big business pay their fair share of taxes. Allow free health care for all. Pay more for education, tech schools and college. Help people pay off college debt. Support the Dreamers, give them a path to citizenship. Raise Social Security pay so seniors can enjoy retirement. Pass laws that protect the environment.”

In just a few sentences, Eanes managed to advance a stronger and more accessible pitch for the Democratic Party than many of its national leaders and consultants can muster after months of campaign strategy meetings.

The Democratic Party civil war has only just begun, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.  Will the leftist wing and most vocal, active members win the day or will establishment types hold on for another election cycle or two?

Meanwhile, President Trump seems unlikely to face a primary challenge from the GOP.  At this time (i.e. before we know what happens in the midterms and whether or not Trump will face impeachment charges from a potential Democrat majority in the House), even CNN argues that a primary challenge against the president is unlikely.

Several Republican lawmakers have said it is too early to answer whether they’ll back President Donald Trump in 2020.

Yet barring some seismic event, Trump will most likely be their only viable choice.
Trump right now is adored by the Republican base. His favorability ratings among Republican voters are up significantly from before the 2016 election. His job approval rating (which is slightly different though tied to his favorability rating) in the latest monthly Gallup numbers is 85% among Republicans. Those numbers are quite strong and not predictive of a primary challenge.

Now, it’s not a perfectly linear relationship between approval ratings and primary difficulty for an incumbent president. The dividing line seems to be a 70% to 75% approval rating within your own party. Those above it do significantly better in primaries than those below it. It seems that when a president has an approval rating above the 70% to 75% line, prominent challengers are more likely to pass on the race.

Trump, of course, is well above the line right now. He actually has a higher approval rating among Republicans than Barack Obama did among Democrats just before the 2012 New Hampshire primary. That’s probably why there aren’t any potential challengers being named who really have too much of a future in the Republican Party.

The only person CNN can envision posing a real challenge to President Trump is . . . failed 2016 presidential candidate, Ohio governor, and outspoken Trump critic, John Kasich (R).  They then point out why Kasich is not a serious threat.

The biggest name is Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich could potentially make some hay in New Hampshire, though there’s no reason right now to think he could actually threaten Trump’s chance at the nomination. He only won his home state in 2016 primary season and struggled to win many votes outside of college-educated moderate voters in the northern part of the country.

At this point, I don’t see how a Trump v. Biden matchup is bad for Trump.  Biden’s not going to capture the Democrat base who are invested in pulling the Democratic Party to the left, and he’s going to be an easy target for Republicans.