Dan Balz of the Washington Post consulted with Ann Selzer about the 2020 Iowa caucuses. Selzer conducts the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register and, in this cycle, for CNN. According to Balz, she is considered the best pollster of Iowa politics.
Among Selzer’s observations, as reported by Balz, is that “Iowa’s Democratic electorate might not be quite as liberal as characterized.” I suspect this is also true of the Democratic electorate nationally.
If so, why is Joe Biden pandering so much to left-liberals? Why does he adopt the left’s absurd and deeply divisive view that our legal system constitutes “white man’s law.” Why did he abandon his long-held stance against federally funded abortions? Why did he embrace the framework of the Green New Deal, and support the phase out of coal?
I assume that some of these positions poll very well among likely Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers. Maybe all of them do. But few of them are popular with the broader electorate.
Nor, it seems to me, does Biden need to embrace these left-liberal positions in order to win the nomination. Biden is the sole serious Democratic presidential candidate in the non-radical lane. He also has very strong support among African-Americans.
Combine non-hard left White Democrat with a large percentage of Black Democrats — whether hard left or not — and Biden should have the votes he needs to secure the nomination, assuming his gaffes and his age don’t do him in.
So, again, why is Biden pandering so much to the left?
I put this question to an astute observer of the political scene. He answered that Biden wants to run as the candidate of a unified Democratic Party. I can’t think of a better explanation.
Biden, though, is seeking unity at the cost of creating openings for President Trump. If Biden is the nominee, the president will be able to portray him, accurately, as outside of the mainstream on important issues.
I suppose Biden is willing to assume this risk because he doubts Trump’s appeal to centrist voters. He probably believes that Trump has lost suburban women and much of his support among working class voters in big industrial states. If so, all Biden needs to do is hold his party together, including its hard left faction.
Or maybe Biden simply wants to make sure he can prevail in the primaries and caucuses if he ends up in a one-on-one battle against, say, Elizabeth Warren. Maybe he calculates that moving to the left will ensure victory in such a scenario. After that, he’ll worry about looking moderate.
I’m confident that Biden and/or his handlers have thought this matter through. Whether they have analyzed it correctly remains to be seen.
ONE MORE THING: Biden’s desire to maintain party unity will cause him to keep pandering to the left if he’s elected president.