Are the wheels starting to come off the Joe Biden campaign? Up to this week it seemed certain that the former Vice President was on route to become the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, taking on Donald Trump in November. With the leadership of the Democrats and allied news media thwarting a second anti-establishment effort by Bernie Sanders to secure the party’s nomination, and with the great and the good of “liberal America” fuelling the Biden machine in money and publicity, the United States seemed destined for a particularly nasty contest between two elderly millionaires for the occupancy of the White House. The incumbent, representing upstart hard-right populism and wilful incompetence, and the opponent, representing the pacifying right-leaning centrism of the American political and corporate establishment.
However Joe Biden’s status as the presumptive nominee of his party has been the subject of external criticism and some ridicule for several weeks now, not least because of the ex-senator’s obvious struggles with the rigours of the nomination process. Suggesting to some that he would be overwhelmed by the combined war effort of the Republican Party, Fox News and Trump during the election campaign. Now we have the liberal component of the US press slowly but surely being forced into airing the allegations of sexual misconduct against their supposed saviour by Tara Reade, a former staff member at his US Senate office in the early 1990s. The Guardian has done a good job of gathering the various stands of the story together, along with the initially and very deliberately muted reaction of the nominally progressive commentariat. But with the conservative media making space for the accusations against Biden the potential scandal is one that can no longer be ignored or dismissed.
Joe Biden may become the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party at its forthcoming convention but just about the only thing that can save his future electoral bacon is Trump’s disastrous mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis in the United States.