From “Biden Thinks Trump Is the Problem, Not All Republicans — Other Democrats Disagree,” a 5.4 N.Y. Times story by Shane Goldmacher:
“[The Trump miasma] ‘is not the Republican Party,’ Joe Biden stated yesterday in Dubuque, citing his relationships with ‘my Republican friends in the House and Senate.’
“There is no disagreement among Democrats about the urgency of defeating Mr. Trump. But Mr. Biden’s singular focus on the president as the source of the nation’s ills, while extending an olive branch to Republicans, has exposed a significant fault line in the Democratic primary.
“Democrats, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, see the president as a symptom of something deeper, both in a Republican Party overtaken by Trumpism and a nation cleaved by partisanship. Simply ousting Mr. Trump, they tell voters, is not enough.
“It’s a debate that goes beyond the policy differences separating a moderate like Mr. Biden from an insurgent like Mr. Sanders, elevating questions about whether the old rules of inside-the-Beltway governance still apply. And it has thrown into stark relief one of the fundamental questions facing the Democratic electorate: Do Democrats want a bipartisan deal-maker promising a return to normalcy, or a partisan warrior offering more transformative change?”
On the other hand…
From Andrew Sullivan: “[Biden] has also been able to reach non-college-educated white men in ways few other candidates could. That’s a big fucking deal in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — and if Biden can carry those states, he’ll be the next president. He’s a union man, and always has been. In what was a brilliant ad-lib, Biden began a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers by making a joke about the excesses of #MeToo — ‘I had permission to hug Lonnie,’ the union leader, he quipped. Later, as he brought some kids onstage, he joked again, as he put his hands on the shoulders of a boy: ‘He gave me permission to touch him.’ The crowd’s reaction both times was bellows of laughter.
“Yes, this might be seen as insensitive, or tone-deaf. It is certainly politically incorrect. But what Biden’s joke did is tell the white working class that he has not defected to the woke, white urban elites. This matters.
“In a recent poll, 80 percent of Americans say ‘that political correctness is a problem in this country.’ Hostility to new speech codes from elites was one factor that drove support for Trump in 2016. Americans do not want to abolish all differences between men and women, do not support reparations, and view college campuses as strange, alien pockets of madness. Any Democrat in 2020 has to reach that ‘exhausted majority’ who are sick of all that. Biden has already done it.”
Except Pete Buttigieg is talking the same game. He doesn’t radiate p.c. fanaticism. He’s a folksy Indiana guy with a conservative demeanor.