Members Only | October 25, 2019 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

QT: Why is Biden polling so well?

The worse Trump gets, the better Biden will get. Maybe.

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I have a pet theory about Joe Biden I want to share. It builds on the conventional wisdom, which is that a former vice president is going to get the lion’s share of the attention, and that Democrats of color are being shrewd in siding with him early as the best way of defeating an authoritarian president bent on whitening up America.

My pet theory is this: Biden’s popularity among Democrats in inversely proportional to Donald Trump’s unpopularity in the general electorate. And indeed, no matter how many gaffes old Joe produces, his standing in the polls hasn’t diminished significantly. That might be because the incumbent is terrible, most Americans know it, and they are searching for an alternative, the most obvious of which is a former vice president.

I like this theory because it’s simple and elegant. Simplistic? Perhaps. I suppose we’ll find out, as Trump continues to lie, telling anyone who will listen that the Democrats, including Biden, undermined his 2016 campaign while in cahoots with Ukrainian saboteurs. He wants everyone to believe the opposite of what’s true, which is that his campaign worked with Russian saboteurs to kneecap Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

It could be that the more Trump lies about Biden, the more Biden’s standing will rise. As I said, it could be. I don’t know. My pet theory is going to be tested over time.

—John Stoehr

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  • Ronald Klain says Clarence Thomas’ rumored retirement could supercharge 2020.

  • Jennifer Rie explains why monopolies are illegal. It’s about more than size.

  • Akintunde Ahmad analyzes how right-wing media props up a weak president.

  • Karl Evers-Hillstrom says PACs have spent $20 million on Trump properties.

  • Catie Edmonson and Emily Cochrane report on nervous-nellies in the Senate.

Plus a new feature!

  • Many have asked for an option at the Editorial Board by which you can subscribe for any amount of money you wish—something besides the monthly and yearly choices. Today, you can! Click on the red button and you’ll see an option for “founding member” where you can type in the amount you want to contribute. Super thanks for the first person to spend $1,000,000. (Just kidding—or am I?)

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition open and available to all. Find him @johnastoehr.

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