Former Vice President Joe Biden, in 2019, is a candidate who cannot carry his water. He is leading most Democratic primary polls so far, but much of his support is a product of our willingness to ignore what is before our face.
And I’m not talking here about policy knowledge or political experience. (In the first department, he’s fine. In the second, he’s among the best in the field.)
I’m talking about soft skills and combative tact, force of personality. Biden may see himself as a lion of a man — but he’s no Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, or Lyndon Johnson. He doesn’t remember your mother’s name, or (comparably) feel your pain. He’s run twice before but never won the presidency with shine enough to inspire the neologism, “Biden Republicans." There’s no evidence he can decisively connect with Southern Democrats.
If his attributes had been on par with those of his former superior, Biden would not have become Barack Obama’s “second banana." Not to mention, he licked his wounds after the pounce of Kamala Harris in the first debate.
Biden is handsome, warm, (highly) tactile, and confident, with the competitive itch to publicly declare his desire to take Trump “behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” His effortless smile bares teeth without apprehension.