The Road to 1,990: Is It Bernie's Race to Lose?
The temptation to write off Joe Biden's chances of winning his party's nomination is just like the temptation to order a second martini at lunch on a workday: You know you shouldn't, but it feels so right.
I wrote a pre-post-mortem (that's a thing now) on Biden's campaign on Monday even before New Hampshire voted, and the results were worse for him there than even I'd imagined. I figured 10%, maybe even 12%. He came in at about 8.5%, only five points better than Andrew Yang, who "suspended" his campaign Tuesday night.
ASIDE: Why do candidates say they're "suspending" their campaigns when everyone knows they're quitting?
Polling is weak in both Nevada (which caucuses a week from Saturday) and South Carolina (which holds its primary the Saturday after Nevada). None of the numbers you'll find fully reflect Biden's fourth-place finish in Iowa and his fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, but the stink of death hovers over his campaign. The Las Vegas Sun hedged its bet on Biden, endorsing both the former veep and Senator Amy Klobuchar earlier today. In an overwrought editorial, the paper warned that "Democrats see an urgent need to defeat Donald Trump and save our nation from an autocrat," but a "Sanders candidacy simply guarantees a Trump second term." Maybe Biden can pull it off in Nevada, giving him the boost he needs to win bigly in South Carolina. But he was polling ahead of Sanders in Iowa as recently as five weeks ago, so it seems Democratic primary voters really like Joe right up until they have to vote for him. So for the sake of this column, I'm going to go ahead and give in to that temptation to write off Biden's chances.