Former Minnesota Sen. Rudy Boschwitz used to have a pretty cute, pretty smart saying about politics. Quoting it from memory it went: “Politics is the only business where you have to make all your sales on one day.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden (who was in the Senate before, during and after Boschwitz’s tenure there) should borrow that wisecrack.
Having gone from prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic nomination to fourth-place finisher in Iowa to fifth place in New Hampshire, to when-will-he-drop-out territory, Biden made a lot of “sales” on Super Tuesday and is suddenly the front-runner again, based very heavily on voters who made up their minds at the last minute.
Biden didn’t suddenly become a silver-tongued devil last week. (In fact, he had to overcome a serious stutter to make it in politics.) Amazingly, he won Tuesday in many states he had never visited and in which he didn’t even run any TV ads.
The punditocracy is arguing at the moment (and I don’t disagree with this analysis, although I don’t claim to understand this amazing turnaround) that Biden benefited substantially from a panic among moderate and liberal-but-not-radical Democrats that if they didn’t unite behind Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders might run away with the nomination. That fear was tied to the fear that the country is not ready to elect a president who calls himself a socialist, even a “democratic socialist,” as Sanders always does, although he has never called himself a Democrat, which is pretty unusual since he seeks that party’s presidential nomination.
The race for the nomination isn’t over, but it sure changed a lot in a single day. Or perhaps we should say it changed back, since Biden, after a political near-death experience, has only regained the front-runner status he had for most of 2019.
A remark, often erroneously attributed to Yogi Berra, holds that “predictions are hard, especially about the future.” The new future, of a likely Biden-Trump matchup, is an old future that went away and has now come back. We’ll see.
For a guy who doesn’t make predictions, I’ll make this one: The Burisma story will make a big comeback in Trump Twitter-land.
And by the way, Boschwitz also liked to say that he was the only member of the Senate not running for president, a wry observation based on the fact that he had been born in Germany and was therefore the only member of the Senate constitutionally ineligible to be president.