Donald Trump has branded Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe.” That came as something of a surprise to me, as I expected “Creepy Joe,” based on Biden’s well-publicized creepy invasions of female personal spaces.

But who am I to second-guess Trump when it comes to branding political opponents. Every time I see Jeb Bush, I still think “Low Energy Jeb.” And “Crazy Bernie” just seems to fit so well I barely remember his last name. “Crooked Hillary” did the trick.

The branding works when there is a basis in reality for the caricature. And with Biden, “sleepy” may be more persuasive than “creepy” based on how Biden is running his campaign (though I’m still expecting a “creepy” comeback).

Biden is far ahead in the polls at this early stage. Big League.

But his campaign is, well, sleepy:

Biden hasn’t held a public campaign event since his large kickoff rally in Philadelphia on May 18. Since then, he’s only headlined a top-dollar fundraiser in Nashville, Tenn., and two more in Florida.

And while a bunch of his rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination are stumping this holiday weekend, Biden’s off the trail.

“Joe Biden has no public events scheduled,” read a release from his campaign.

Biden and his wife Jill plan to return to the campaign trail on Tuesday after Memorial Day, when they will team up with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten for a town hall in Houston.

And next week, on June 4, Biden returns to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

But as of now he’s not scheduled to appear at California Democratic Party convention, which kicks off on Friday, or the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame celebration a week later. Both of those gatherings will attract plenty of the 2020 Democrats.

Biden also isn’t exactly generating enthusiasm when he does show up. Politico reports, Joe Biden is the front-runner by every measure — except big crowds:

He’s dominating in the polls, his fundraising is going gangbusters and he’s showing broad support from key political players in the early presidential states.

So where are the big energetic crowds, the lines around the block to get into Joe Biden’s events?

The question is no small matter in a party still recovering from a bitter 2016 defeat — a loss marked by a lack of enthusiasm for an establishment nominee in several critical states.

Attendance at the former vice president’s launch rally paled next to some of his rivals. In his first Iowa visit, he didn’t match the crowds that greeted Elizabeth Warren or even the less well-known Pete Buttigieg in their initial visits. So far, he’s kept his events to smaller venues where there’s little danger of empty seats.

In the eyes of Biden’s progressive critics — as well as President Donald Trump, who has publicly mocked him for it — the seeming lack of excitement or teeming masses at his events is a leading indicator of a lack of passion for his candidacy.

“I started to think the polls were wrong about Biden because it’s not what we’re seeing on the ground,” said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, a national network devoted to promoting women of color.

This all sounds familiar, a reminder of Hillary’s sense of entitlement and lackluster campaigning.

But it’s early. Perhaps Sleepy Joe is just resting, figuring Democrats never will nominate Crazy Bernie, and beyond Bernie, there aren’t any candidates with star power. Beto looks like a goner, Mayor Pete probably had his moment too early, Warren has inched up but she needs to eat Crazy Bernie’s left-wing lunch, and that won’t be easy. Kamala Harris is a possible challenger to Biden, but she also hasn’t shown any great political skills so far.

So maybe Sleepy is enough, for now.

 
 
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