I’m still not quite sure if Biden can reach the convention floor given the obvious deterioration of his mental capacities – capacities already never impressive in their capabilities to anyone except Joe Biden.
But for now let’s suppose his doctors can continue to keep him barely functional until August.
One of Biden’s few advantages in the election is that he can’t be easily labeled an extremist.
Biden is a vintage 1970s Democrat; always more of an elected lobbyist on the hunt (or Hunter) for dirty money, getting “hands on” with secretaries, and perks, than a hardcore ideologue. Even Biden’s home of Delaware itself resembles a corporate tax haven more than a state.
But in a way, his penchant for dealmaking could be turned into an advantage for Trump that he would not have to exploit with a purer Progressive.
This is on account of the coronavirus making decoupling American supply chains from China the central issue of the campaign. The issue will be especially prominent in the crucial Rust Belt states where the electorate is most receptive to well designed messages on industrial strategy.
The history of Biden being chummy with China’s leadership has led to Trump labeling his opponent as “Beijing Biden”.
This is the correct line of attack, but it needs to be supported by, first, labeling Biden a crooked DC insider, and then emphasizing the “Beijing Biden” angle.
By highlighting the fact Biden will do anything for lobbyist money, the “Beijing Biden” followup attack is enhanced because “Biden the Lobbyist” adds credibility to “Biden the Mandarin”.
Emphasizing crooked deals for his drug addicted son will raise Biden’s negatives.
When Biden’s negatives jump as his son Hunter becomes more visible, voters will be more likely to concur with the “Beijing Biden” label because they will associate Biden’s well demonstrated willingness to accept favors from corrupt foreign nations like Ukraine with Trump’s argument that Biden is, basically, a K Street lobbyist for Beijing.
If Biden is willing to do dirty deals with Ukraine, Rust Belt voters will reason, it becomes more believable that Biden will sell them out to China, no matter his protests otherwise.
But pursuing the Beijing Biden angle WITHOUT first emphasizing Biden’s DC dealmaking (especially for his corrupt sons) is a mistake. In that case Biden can respond by saying that he was engaging in diplomacy with China, not accepting deals, and that he will promise the Rust Belt to “get tough with China on trade”.
But if Biden is ALREADY tarred with being the Senator from K Street, with his son Hunter serving as his unofficial running mate, the Rust Belt will be much more suspicious of Biden’s inevitable denials that he won’t sell what is left of Rust Belt manufacturing out to China as he did in the past with Clinton and Obama era trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Obama and Biden endorsed and Trump withdrew from.
Framing Biden as a lobbyist may also depress turnout for Biden among the radical activist demographic. The turnout decline would not be large, but it only takes a decrease of a few percentage points with the base of any Party to swing Alexander Hamilton’s Electoral College.