After a lackluster debate performance on Tuesday, Joe Biden has fallen from his once-clear frontrunner status in the 2020 primary race. The former vice president now trails behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Hill reports.
Worse, as Democrat and Fox News contributor Donna Brazile pointed out, Biden has burned through more of his cash than other candidates, and isn’t replacing it as fast anymore; he only had $9 million on hand as of the end of the third quarter. Spending more than you are bringing in is never good, and that’s exactly what Biden did in recent months.
The slide in the polls and lack of cash are showing that Biden may not be destined to take on Trump after all, and other, more progressive (read: far-left) candidates are beginning to overshadow him as the primaries grow closer.
Why is Biden floundering?
Biden has been hit hard in recent weeks as he has at times made gaffes or seemed not to know where he was or what year it was. Voters may have begun to wonder if Biden has the mental fitness to withstand another year or more of campaigning, let alone the presidency if elected.
Just as those questions began to recede a bit, the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump unwittingly began to cast a shadow over Biden by raising questions about his handling of the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor — and whether that had anything to do with his son Hunter’s job at a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings.
Biden has insisted that he did not withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine because the prosecutor was investigating Burisma, but calls for more investigation of that situation have begun to grow. Now, it looks like Biden could have been the one engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine, and that hasn’t been good for his campaign.
What about the money?
Biden’s campaign woes and lack of a breakout debate performance on Tuesday are just a part of his recent fundraising problem. Biden’s entire campaign infrastructure may be teetering, and he doesn’t have much time to reverse it before primary voting begins.
Some donors and fundraisers have said that while they heard from Biden’s campaign early on, there hasn’t been the follow-up needed to continue to fill campaign coffers. And strategists have begun to suggest that Biden’s early strengths — name recognition and more moderate policy ideas — may have become bigger liabilities as the campaign goes on.
“He missed some real opportunities to own the whole narrative,” an anonymous Democratic strategist said. “Their response seems a little off at times.”
Biden’s support continues to be strong in South Carolina, but if another candidate takes Iowa or New Hampshire, that momentum could also hurt Biden’s chances elsewhere, as well as dampen fundraising.
The start of primary season is fast approaching. Biden has become more aggressive in the past week or two, telling Trump to “release your tax returns or shut up” about investigating him and his son, but it may be too little too late for voters who would rather vote for a candidate who hasn’t been tainted with questions about his past.
If Biden can’t turn his campaign — both its optics and fundraising — around in the next month or so, he may have to kiss his dreams of the White House goodbye.
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