‘The Answer Is Not Joe Biden’: The Nation Magazine Issues Official Anti-Endorsement

By Commoner Call (11/7/19)

While claiming it’s still too early to make a choice between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, The Nation—among the oldest amd most widely-circulated progressive magazines in the U.S.—went public early Thursday morning with its “anti-endorsement” of the third top-tier candidate in this year’s Democratic primary race: former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Biden’s long record of poor judgment—on everything from the 1994 crime bill that fueled mass incarceration to his botched handling of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas to his defense of Bill Clinton’s brutal welfare cuts to his support for the Iraq War to his role as cheerleader for Wall Street deregulation,” argues The Nation editorial, make Biden a uniquely weak opponent to put up against President Donald Trump, “whose reelection poses a clear and present danger to America’s survival as a constitutional republic.”

“Stumbling through the primaries,” the editorial states, “Biden’s zombie campaign crowds out worthier challengers, handing Trump a free pass on the very issues that should be his Achilles’ heel.”

Making muddy

In 2016, The Nation was the first national publication to endorse Sanders in the Democratic primary. And while editor D.D. Guttenplan explained in a recent editorial why We Don’t Have to Choose Between Warren and Sanders Yet,” the magazine believed it was time to take a firm position on Biden—running a campaign that is making “muddy what should be a devastatingly clear choice.”

Some readers responded by saying the call for Biden to withdraw is clearly undemocratic at this stage of the primary process.

But, according to The Nation, there’s a strong case to be made that Biden could help repeat history and allow Trump four more years in the White House.

“Like Hillary Clinton in 2016, Joe Biden offers the promise of picking up where the Obama administration left off: a restoration of business as usual for the K Street lobbyists and Wall Street speculators whose prosperity the 2008 financial crisis did little to disturb. Indeed, as Joseph N. DiStefano reports in this issue, the man posing as “middle-class Joe” has built his career and his family’s wealth on an eagerness to serve not the many Americans crushed by credit card debt but the very banks whose hands are around their throats. The candidate who insists Medicare for All is too expensive for Americans is also the candidate who, like Clinton, endorsed NAFTA, China’s admission to the World Trade Organization, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership—all of which have savaged U.S. manufacturing and workers. Clinton’s record cost her the industrial heartland (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan) and, with it, the election.”

For these reasons, and others, the editorial board calls on “Biden to put service to country above personal ambition and withdraw from the race.”

While Biden continues to lead most national polls, his grip on clear frontrunner status has slipped as both Warren and Sanders have gained ground.

A new national Monmouth poll released Wednesday showed Biden with the slimmest of leads overall at 23%, but in a statistical tie with Sanders and Warren who both received 20% in the survey with +/- of 5.3%.”

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