From the moment he announced his run for the Democrats’ 2020 nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden has been widely heralded as the clear frontrunner and presumptive nominee, based largely upon his name recognition and a belief that his reputation as a centrist gave him the best chance out of all other candidates to prevent the re-election of President Donald Trump.
That assumption has changed for many on the left over the past few months, however, in light of Biden’s gaffe-prone tendencies and swirling rumors of corruption and scandal. Now, staunchly anti-Trump liberal comedian Bill Maher has admitted that even he is losing confidence in Biden’s ability to defeat the president in 2020, Newsweek reports.
Who holds the center?
Maher’s remarks on Biden came on Friday during an episode of HBO’s Real Time, in which he sat for a one-on-one interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a low-to-mid-tier candidate who is still looking to gain traction as a more moderate centrist candidate in a field comprised mainly of radical progressives.
That moderate centrist lane in the Democratic primary race has, from the start, been clearly occupied by Biden, although on certain key issues he has made attempts to appease the far-left base of his party.
“I think, to get back to the center-left argument, I think you are probably more in the — again, center-left, not far-left — and it’s going to come down to one candidate from each,” Maher said to Klobuchar of the race as he saw it.
“Now, right now it’s Joe Biden who is the leader of the center-left part,” he added, noting that only one person had applauded at that statement.
Confidence in Biden is “waning”
“I’ve always said I like Joe. He’s never (been) my favorite, but if he’s the guy to beat Trump, I was like, ‘Let’s not kill him,'” Maher said. “But, I must say, my confidence that he can beat Trump is waning. He looks like a depreciating stock to me.”
Maher added that he typically shies away from engaging in judgemental “age-ism” in general as a mode of criticizing older candidates and suggested that age should only be raised as an issue on a case-by-case basis when clearly warranted.
“Elizabeth Warren is 70, she looks 50, and acts 20. She took selfies with 4,000 people. I don’t even know if I trust someone who wants to be president that much,” Maher said. “Joe? I don’t know. Bernie, you know, just had a heart attack.”
The comedian went on: “I think, you know, I’m not trying to get Joe out, but we do need someone in the center who is, say, younger and female-er — honestly.”
Should Biden’s campaign falter — either due to his age, health, inappropriate gaffes, or rumored scandals — the more moderate center-left lane will be wide open for someone such as Klobuchar to occupy in order to secure the nomination, though that in itself is no small task, given the incessant leftward lurch of much of the party’s base.
Given that it looks increasingly likely that Biden will fall short of winning the Democratic nomination, he should no longer be viewed as the candidate with the best shot at defeating Trump — a grim reality for liberals and one with which Maher has apparently come to terms.