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4 Mar, 2020 20:40

Fake JoeMentum: US media & Democrats are forcing a new pro-Biden narrative. Will it hold until November?

Fake JoeMentum: US media & Democrats are forcing a new pro-Biden narrative. Will it hold until November?

Rumors of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, if one believes the narrative that has sprouted around the once-fading candidate. But how much of ‘JoeMentum’ is a desperate con?

Biden has transformed in the past two weeks from roadkill to frontrunner in the eyes of the media, buoyed by a landslide (if expected) victory in South Carolina and bolstered by a sweep of the southern states on Super Tuesday. But this “JoeMentum,” as his supporters insist on calling it, is less an organic outgrowth of real political excitement than the product of careful stage-managing.

After cracking jokes about not being “dead,” Biden played the part of the grateful candidate bowled over by a groundswell of unexpected grassroots support on his Super Tuesday victory. Telling reporters that he was “really moved by all the people who just spontaneously without my asking them endorsed me in the last four or five days,” he was careful not to claim their endorsements had come without any special pleading from elsewhere.

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But seeing his former VP flailing in recent weeks, ex-president Barack Obama has reportedly rolled up his sleeves and plunged his capable hands deep into the flagging Biden campaign. The results, brimming with folksy appeal and heartfelt stories of heroism, are plain to see.

Blue-check True Believers have swarmed social media to help the candidate’s resurgence along, loudly dropping self-fulfilling prophecies (“people are making fan videos of Joe Biden!”  “the markets are soaring because of Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday win!”) accompanied by displays of NeverTrump bravado.

Touting a spike in fundraising and support, they’re determined to make the candidate who was declared DOA after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders swept the first three states seem viable once more – a mission helped significantly by the conveniently-timed exit of most of his centrist rivals from the race. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg were both pressured by party elites to drop out and support Biden, according to NBC. 

With little else to excite voters about the middle-of-the-road career politician, his supporters are reduced to digging up videos of Biden doing real-people things and making “moments” out of his wife and sister battling anti-dairy protesters as the candidate tried to give a speech in California on Tuesday night.

But the wellspring of enthusiasm rings false. Biden has suffered from an “enthusiasm gap” since day one, as even his mainstream media cheerleaders have admitted. Despite running for president twice before, he has never garnered significant support until the media agreed he was the “pragmatic choice” in 2020.  

Rank-and-file voters may be willing to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, but they aren’t swarming to rallies. Additionally, many of the states Biden won on Tuesday typically go to Republicans in the general election. 

Certainly his performance on the campaign trail - forgetting everything from the day of the week (Super Tuesday became “Super Thursday”), the state he’s in (several times), the name of his former boss, to the words of the Declaration of Independence  - has not inspired confidence. Even the moments his campaign rushes to package as saleable, like the altercation with the dairy protesters, are marred by what the media politely call “gaffes"...

And for every blue-check projecting the image of ‘JoeMentum,’ there are hordes of critics not buying the narrative.

Even more are concerned about his fitness for office - or at least concern-trolling.

The JoeMentum narrative is an effort to sell the idea of Biden’s popularity ahead of what is likely to be a brokered convention pitting party elites against rank-and-file voters, with all the ugliness that entails. Democrats didn’t learn much from their profound failure in 2016, but they know they can’t force another unpopular centrist down voters’ throats without the illusion of popular support. 

Obama’s involvement is thus manufacturing consent for the nomination of a rapidly-deteriorating candidate whose only hope is to serve as a frontman for the party elites really running things. Biden has based his entire campaign thus far on his tenure as Obama’s vice president, so it’s only fitting that his former boss should be the one to carry him to the nomination. Should Biden somehow survive a general election against an incumbent unafraid to highlight his myriad weaknesses, it is all but guaranteed that it would be Obama - not Biden - calling the shots from the Oval Office.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.