What is Going on with the Attacks on Biden and Warren?

The Biden attacks began circulating first.

It was understandable. Despite how the Establishment pundits have universally proclaimed him as likable and easily-electable, he’s neither. He’s a gaffe machine. He’s one of the rubes who voted for the Iraq War. He’s a clueless old fool who still entertains decades-dead notions of bipartisanship, so he’d be an ineffectual president. He’s basically the Hillary v.2.0 candidate, and we all know how well Hillary v.1.0 failed against Trump. As such, he’s a far riskier candidate than the conventional wisdom proclaims.

These are all valid reasons to be concerned about the possibility of a Biden nomination. They are all valid points to be brought up by the other primary candidates.

Then I noticed something curious: with only a few rare exceptions, the attacks were not coming from the Sanders campaign, the Warren campaign, or the campaign of any other Democratic candidate. Most of them were coming from no easily-identifiable source whatsoever. The ones that had a source attribution tended to come either from obscure sources, or from right-wing sources allied with Trump. And the attacks were often really vicious, the sort of things that would be difficult to recover from later should the attacked candidate be the eventual nominee.

Then the attacks on Warren began. Those were even stranger. Why was the No. 3 candidate, one who also had strong progressive credentials, suddenly getting so much hate in progressive circles? Wouldn’t Harris or Klobuchar have been more logical targets, given their past as tough-on-crime attorneys general? It just didn’t make sense. Why be so divisive against someone ideologically close to you, someone whose people you will probably have to kiss and make up with later on? And again, the attacks weren’t coming from any of the other campaigns. They were coming from the same sketchy sources as the anti-Biden attacks.

Well, consider Exhibits A and B.

Exhibit A. Polls over time.

Exhibit B. Party loyalty.

Put those together and what does it mean? First, like it or not, Biden is probably going to be the Democratic nominee, for the simple reason that he’s consistently been the leading candidate. Second, every nominee needs a running mate. Third, nominees frequently choose their running mates to broaden their appeal. Fourth, of the votes he has a chance of attracting, Biden’s biggest appeal problems are on the left (he already appeals to moderates and to disaffected Republicans, and he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of appealing to hardcore Trumpers).

So, if he is smart, Biden is likely to choose a running mate that will help him appeal to left-leaning voters. Who is he most likely to choose?

First of all, not Sanders. Sorry, Bernie Bros. Sanders isn’t even really a Democrat. That is, of course, one of the things that makes him appealing to those of us on the left, but get real: party loyalty is a thing, and Biden will use it as a reason to punish Sanders. It’s harsh, but it’s the truth.

That leaves Warren as the most obvious choice. Unlike Sanders, Warren did run as a Democrat for her political career, so she has the party loyalty checkbox ticked. Plus, she will be a help from the identity politics standpoint, carrying appeal as only the third female vice-presidential candidate in US history. Another box ticked.

Well, look at that. Those mysterious attacks, mostly coming from identifiably pro-Trump sources, or coming from no identifiable source at all, are being targeted precisely at both the most likely candidates and the Democratic voters most likely to sit the election out as a result of those most likely candidates getting the nomination. How convenient. Convenient for Trump, that is.

And remember, the Trump campaign is well-known for its social media savvy.

It’s all enough to make one go “Hmmmm.”

Remember, whatever their warts, having Biden and Warren in the White House is vastly preferable to having Trump and Pence there for four more years. If you can’t realize that, you’re not my ally. You’re a fool and a rube, and approximately as much a danger to the continued existence of an open and free society as the gang in the red hats.

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