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I hope Josh Marshall is right

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Josh Marshall is pretty much my favorite OG blogger outside of LGM. He’s generally extremely sharp, level-headed, and well-informed, so I sure hope this take on that thing that you don’t want to read another post about (feel free to skip this one; there’s no court order saying you have to read it, really) proves to be correct:

One TPM reader told me, “I think this may not have that big an impact. But like every editorialist is saying Biden should step down. How do you undo that? How does he repair that?” I don’t think that matters. My strong sense is that this goes in the following way. If over the next week to ten days the shape of the race doesn’t materially change, everything just moves forward. But if over some interval the bottom drops out of Biden’s support, I think people in his campaign will tell him that and he will decide to leave the race. This really isn’t about public polls. Campaigns have access to much more granular information, about key groups, etc. etc. I think that is what determines all of this. That’s what will determine Biden’s future. If the bottom falls out, then those pundits will be validated. Or, maybe not really validated — but it will be a predictive win. If not, what they said won’t matter. People ask a lot, why isn’t anyone saying Trump should drop out? Because Trump and Republicans won’t care. Democrats will. That’s worth thinking about. Worth thinking about regardless of what happens here.

Josh make another point which I believe is almost certainly right, which is that if Biden is forced out of the race by external pressure, that by itself would be a really catastrophic development in purely political terms. (Think Thomas Eagleton times a million. I just realized the kids under 55 will have to Google that name but . . . ). So I think his take — I’m interpreting here — is that it only makes sense for Biden to drop out if the internals strongly indicate that the race has shifted into the it really looks terrible now territory and Biden’s withdrawal can look at least reasonably volitional and statesman-like. That’s a super tough lift, but one thing that definitely won’t help it is every other liberal pundit under the sun continuing to scream from the rooftops that Biden has to withdraw right now, while vilifying the very suddenly Lady Macbeth-like Jill Biden for supposedly screwing his courage to the sticking place etc.

Nobody pays any attention to me of course, but if I could give any advice to Michelle Goldberg et, al. it would be, in the most humble and respectful possible terms, to back the fuck off for a little while and see how things shake out. This election will be decided not by a one or two point shift in the national polls toward Trump, which is so far what we’re seeing post-debate (very similar to the shift we saw toward Biden after Trump’s first criminal conviction), but by how all this plays with suburban white women in Pennsylvania and intermittent Latino voters in Arizona. Those are the kinds of numbers the Biden campaign will be tracking in the next few weeks, and it’s still seven weeks until the Democratic convention, which is D-Day for these purposes. Until then, we’ll just have to wait to see what develops.

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