Has Joe Biden already wrapped up the 2020 Democrat primary?

Joe Biden might want to inform the president he's trading in nicknames: no longer so somnolent, the avuncular V.P. is swapping out eye crust for Kevlar.  Call him Teflon Joe now.

As of May 2019, Biden has pretty much wrapped up the Democratic primary contest, a full half-year before the first vote is cast.  Even as the candidate field expands further into the horizon, with New York City's unpopular mayor joining the fray, all that's left is the coronation in Milwaukee.  The war's over before nary a bullet is shot.

Don't expect fundraising to cease for the hopeless, however; re-election campaign tills need replenishing after being raided for far-fetched White House bids.

Biden's polling lead is practically insuperable at this point, with Bernie Sanders, alone among the field of twenty-odd challengers, pacing as a far-behind runner-up, nearly 20 points behind.  Not only does the former V.P. lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he has a commanding lead in South Carolina — the fourth primary contest — capturing 46% of support from likely Democrat voters.  More impressive is Biden's standing among black South Carolinians at an indomitable 58%.

He may not share the same skin melanin as Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, but Biden's association with Barack Obama is still paying electoral dividends.  Voters easily forget facts and figures from past presidents — what they remember is the feeling they had when their guy ascended to the Oval Office.

Biden is still riding the wave of awe black Americans felt watching Obama elected president.  Like another 2020 Democrat candidate, Biden isn't ashamed to engage in racial appropriation.

With his road to the nomination all but uninhibited at this point, it's a wonder why more campaigns aren't putting the screws to Biden to justify his less than progressive record.  Unlike most of his rivals, the Old Joe has been in higher office since Richard Nixon's mug graced federal buildings.  There's a surfeit of material that would ordinarily drive liberals batty.  Yet we only hear katydids.

Here's a shortlist of Biden's blasphemy against liberalism: opposition to busing that targeted racial segregation, accusing Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill of "lying," support for the 1994 incarceration-happy crime bill, stumping for a House Republican last year, disregard for female personal space, voting for the Iraq War.

There was once a time — the year 2008 days of yore — when support for the Iraq War was a disqualifier for Democrats running for president.  Hillary wiped that standard clean in 2016 by assiduously ignoring our overstretched Mesopotamian adventure.

The same could be said for the '94 crime bill, which, although Clinton took heat for it during her own quest for the Oval, didn't cost her the party's nod.  In most cases, Hillary's progressive perfidy was excused as long as voters thought she could win.  And we all saw the results of such presumptive thinking.

Some Democrats are wising up and realizing that letting Biden slide probably isn't the best way to cut into his lead.  But their criticism has been, at best, tepid.  On Biden's defense of the crime bill, former prosecutor Kamala Harris, no dummy when it comes to locking up malefactors, offered this mild objection: "I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Joe Biden, but I disagree."  Those ain't exactly fightin' words.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg went a slight step farther than Harris, describing the bill's effect on his town of South Bend: "The crime bill didn't make a community like mine more safe."  You can almost hear the whiffle blowing past Biden's leathered pate, not even disturbing his silvery hair.

Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who isn't shy about castigating the Democratic establishment, won't say Biden's name out loud when upbraiding him for dithering on climate change.

Democrats are wary or attacking Biden too harshly for fear of turning off Obama, who still enjoys high approval ratings from the party faithful.  Far-left groups like Justice Democrats are still taking shots at the V.P., but they aren't leaving a mark.

There's a simple reason Biden is running ahead of the pack.  Biden's campaign is focused on one thing and one thing only: defeating Donald Trump.  His announcement focused squarely on the president and the embarrassment he brings the country, offering pablum about restoring hope and zilch on policy.

It's working.  Democrats value, above all, beating Trump in 2020.  If it takes a war-supporting, minority-incarcerating, segregation-defending white male with a penchant for groping, so be it.

This kind of clear-eyed realpolitik is admirable because it's so honest.  But it doesn't ensure victory.  Biden beats Trump in most one-on-one polling, but then, so did Hillary Clinton.

In politics, the easy win isn't always so easy.

Joe Biden might want to inform the president he's trading in nicknames: no longer so somnolent, the avuncular V.P. is swapping out eye crust for Kevlar.  Call him Teflon Joe now.

As of May 2019, Biden has pretty much wrapped up the Democratic primary contest, a full half-year before the first vote is cast.  Even as the candidate field expands further into the horizon, with New York City's unpopular mayor joining the fray, all that's left is the coronation in Milwaukee.  The war's over before nary a bullet is shot.

Don't expect fundraising to cease for the hopeless, however; re-election campaign tills need replenishing after being raided for far-fetched White House bids.

Biden's polling lead is practically insuperable at this point, with Bernie Sanders, alone among the field of twenty-odd challengers, pacing as a far-behind runner-up, nearly 20 points behind.  Not only does the former V.P. lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he has a commanding lead in South Carolina — the fourth primary contest — capturing 46% of support from likely Democrat voters.  More impressive is Biden's standing among black South Carolinians at an indomitable 58%.

He may not share the same skin melanin as Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, but Biden's association with Barack Obama is still paying electoral dividends.  Voters easily forget facts and figures from past presidents — what they remember is the feeling they had when their guy ascended to the Oval Office.

Biden is still riding the wave of awe black Americans felt watching Obama elected president.  Like another 2020 Democrat candidate, Biden isn't ashamed to engage in racial appropriation.

With his road to the nomination all but uninhibited at this point, it's a wonder why more campaigns aren't putting the screws to Biden to justify his less than progressive record.  Unlike most of his rivals, the Old Joe has been in higher office since Richard Nixon's mug graced federal buildings.  There's a surfeit of material that would ordinarily drive liberals batty.  Yet we only hear katydids.

Here's a shortlist of Biden's blasphemy against liberalism: opposition to busing that targeted racial segregation, accusing Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill of "lying," support for the 1994 incarceration-happy crime bill, stumping for a House Republican last year, disregard for female personal space, voting for the Iraq War.

There was once a time — the year 2008 days of yore — when support for the Iraq War was a disqualifier for Democrats running for president.  Hillary wiped that standard clean in 2016 by assiduously ignoring our overstretched Mesopotamian adventure.

The same could be said for the '94 crime bill, which, although Clinton took heat for it during her own quest for the Oval, didn't cost her the party's nod.  In most cases, Hillary's progressive perfidy was excused as long as voters thought she could win.  And we all saw the results of such presumptive thinking.

Some Democrats are wising up and realizing that letting Biden slide probably isn't the best way to cut into his lead.  But their criticism has been, at best, tepid.  On Biden's defense of the crime bill, former prosecutor Kamala Harris, no dummy when it comes to locking up malefactors, offered this mild objection: "I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Joe Biden, but I disagree."  Those ain't exactly fightin' words.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg went a slight step farther than Harris, describing the bill's effect on his town of South Bend: "The crime bill didn't make a community like mine more safe."  You can almost hear the whiffle blowing past Biden's leathered pate, not even disturbing his silvery hair.

Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who isn't shy about castigating the Democratic establishment, won't say Biden's name out loud when upbraiding him for dithering on climate change.

Democrats are wary or attacking Biden too harshly for fear of turning off Obama, who still enjoys high approval ratings from the party faithful.  Far-left groups like Justice Democrats are still taking shots at the V.P., but they aren't leaving a mark.

There's a simple reason Biden is running ahead of the pack.  Biden's campaign is focused on one thing and one thing only: defeating Donald Trump.  His announcement focused squarely on the president and the embarrassment he brings the country, offering pablum about restoring hope and zilch on policy.

It's working.  Democrats value, above all, beating Trump in 2020.  If it takes a war-supporting, minority-incarcerating, segregation-defending white male with a penchant for groping, so be it.

This kind of clear-eyed realpolitik is admirable because it's so honest.  But it doesn't ensure victory.  Biden beats Trump in most one-on-one polling, but then, so did Hillary Clinton.

In politics, the easy win isn't always so easy.