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No to Biden, Part the Zillion

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Joe Biden is an obvious nonstarter for the Democratic nomination and I have no real doubt that his early leads in polls, which are meaningless at this point, are about nostalgia for Obama and name recognition and will disappear rapidly once the campaign gets started for real. There are lots of reasons we shouldn’t support Biden, but his campaigning for Republicans in swing districts is right at the top.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. swept into Benton Harbor, Mich., three weeks before the November elections, in the midst of his quest to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats. He took the stage at Lake Michigan College as Representative Fred Upton, a long-serving Republican from the area, faced the toughest race of his career.

But Mr. Biden was not there to denounce Mr. Upton. Instead, he was collecting $200,000 from the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to address a Republican-leaning audience, according to a speaking contract obtained by The New York Times and interviews with organizers. The group, a business-minded civic organization, is supported in part by an Upton family foundation.

Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

The remarks quickly appeared in Republican advertising. The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.

The greatest impact of Mr. Biden’s speech, however, was outside the lecture hall. His remarks about Mr. Upton ricocheted through Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. Mr. Upton alluded to Mr. Biden’s praise in a debate with Mr. Longjohn the next day, and his campaign sent out a mailer stressing Mr. Upton’s bipartisan streak, including Mr. Biden’s description of him as “the reason we’re going to beat cancer.”

A business-backed Republican group, Defending Main Street, ran digital ads on Facebook showing a grinning Mr. Biden and the crucial quote — “Fred Upton is one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with” — above a mock version of the former vice president’s signature.

I get why people don’t like that Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. But isn’t this kind of thing far worse? Same with Beto–openly supporting Republicans because they are your buds is not the politics we need. And while Upton won by 4.5 and so Biden probably didn’t quite make the difference, O’Rourke’s support of Will Hurd may well have. This is completely unacceptable and neither should be the nominee in 2020.

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