Biden has stumbled on a way out of his post-debate mess

by dorothystgeorge

It’s Joe Biden versus the world. And while that’s not great, it may be the last, best hope for the president.

Biden is enduring one of the worst periods of political turmoil imaginable, facing serious questions about his fitness for office from the media, furious Democratic lawmakers and party donors. His response has ranged from clumsy to insulting, further provoking those who badly want to defeat Donald Trump.

But Biden may have accidentally stumbled upon a way forward. In a Trumpian move, the president is now presenting himself as an underdog taking on the Washington elite.

Never mind that polls show voters have long had concerns about Biden’s age. Americans like a candidate with a chip on their shoulder. And whether it’s real or a put-on, Biden has long thrived in that role. Indeed, suddenly this week, the president appears to give a damn.

I have serious doubts about Biden’s ability to run a campaign and serve four more years. And there is obvious reason to be skeptical that he will be able to effectively communicate a winning message, even if he has hit upon one.  

But with every passing hour, Biden is more likely to remain the Democratic nominee. He holds all the cards and he is dug in. It is untenable to have members of his party publicly questioning his fitness for much longer.

Staying in the race is an enormous bet for Biden and the country. But to have a fighting chance, you need to be able to fight. And Democrats can only hope their antagonism has finally awoken Biden to the battle he faces.

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Brendan Buck

Brendan Buck is an NBC News and MSNBC political analyst. He was previously counselor to former House Speaker Paul Ryan and press secretary to former House Speaker John Boehner.

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