Politics with Amy Walter: What Have We Learned on the Campaign Trail?

September 06, 2019

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Amy Walter's take:

There’s something of a consensus-building within the so-called mainstream political media that it’s only a matter of time before Biden’s Teflon shield is deflated. His debate performances have been shaky. He is not as quick on his feet as the other candidates. And, he’s spent most of the campaign on defense - either explaining past votes, or changing long-held positions on policy. 

But, it also seems to me that many in the political class may be underestimating the staying power of a flawed - but popular and well-known - candidate. In 2016, for example, the assumption among the political elites - me included - was that once the summer ended, so would Trump’s hold on the lead in the GOP race. Voters would start to get serious about electability and stability and would reject this unorthodox candidate. Obviously, we know that didn’t happen. 

This isn’t to say that Biden’s destined to win the nomination. But, just that his staying power may be more durable than we think. He’s built up a lot of goodwill over his many years in office that no one else can claim. 

Guests:

Annie Linskey, National politics reporter for The Washington Post

Josh Jamerson, National politics reporter for The Wall Street Journal

Elaina Plott, White House correspondent for The Atlantic

Matt Paul, Democratic Strategist based in Des Moines