It's going to be fascinating to watch how Bernie World grapples with the beating he took on Super Tuesday -- in which he slid from being the likeliest delegate frontrunner heading into the convention, to gasping for oxygen and tracking to once again finish in second place. Sure, he has some friendly states upcoming, but the math is looking strained:
On the campaign side, Sanders is unleashing a series of issue-based attacks, ranging from the Iraq war to entitlements:
And here's Bernie attempting to co-opt some of the Obama coalition with a 30-second spot:
That's going to be a tough sell, considering how Biden -- and you may have heard this before -- was Obama's Vice President, and that Sanders had to be talked out of primarying Obama in 2012. If rumors are to be believed, Obama was starting to privately warm to Biden's candidacy, with some public evidence of that emerging in the immediate lead-up to Super Tuesday. How are Bernie's surrogates taking their losses? Not well. They're railing against coups and conspiracies, wallowing in denial about what just happened. One prominent Sanders supporter -- who got crushed in his Congressional primary -- tore into the Democratic establishment on his 'The Young Turks' online network, predicting that Bernie will come back and win the nomination. Part of his extremely blunt message is that Biden's cognitive abilities are deteriorating, and that he would lose the general election to Donald Trump (content warning):
“Biden is either near senile or actually senile. Watch any of the tapes! His mental faculties are under question...”
This issue, like it or not, has been a proverbial elephant in the room for months. It's unseemly to go after Biden for his age, but it's hard not to notice that he is...not sharp much of the time, and seems to be slipping. His Democratic rivals have mostly ignored it (I can think of one exception), as has the press, for the most part. But does anyone believe Donald Trump will have any compunction whatsoever about loudly and brutally pointing out what voters can clearly see for themselves? It's not hard at all to picture Trump, in the middle of a presidential debate, casually saying that Biden's brain is pudding and he needs to be in a home, not the White House. That sort of direct insult could rub many voters the wrong way, but it would play to serious underlying fears about Biden's capacity to do the job.
Parting Thought: In many respects, Trump's theatrics, pettiness and rudeness are baked into the cake. It's just 'Trump being Trump,' in the eyes of millions of Americans. Could mental freezes, forgetfulness and gaffes be Biden's version of that phenomenon -- ie where it's an underlying expectation, and therefore not necessarily damaging? Possibly, but I'd imagine that feebleness and (at times excruciating) mental slowness is something that a lot of people would have trouble simply shrugging off when selecting a commander in chief. I'll leave you with what I think is an unfair hit on Grandpa Joe on this front. He obviously knows the difference between his sister and his wife. They were standing behind him and he pointed the wrong way, then realized the mistake made a joke about it: