The Front-Runner’s
Big Iowa Rally

Six months ago, I wrote about the mystery of the Joe Biden campaign—or, perhaps, “campaign” would be a better way to put it. According to polls at the time, Barack Obama’s vice president had roughly 30 percent of the Democratic electorate in his corner. Doing some simple math, and given that the population of the United States is 330 million people, and roughly 32 percent of them are Democrats, that translated to around 32 million Biden fans out there. With many nominal Independents typically voting for the Democrats (despite calling themselves “independent”), the back-of-the-envelope nationwide Bidenite count should have been in the neighborhood of 42-45 million people. 

The mystery, of course, was: where were all these people?

They sure weren’t showing up to see their favorite candidate on the stump. The audience for a typical Biden “event” (it is difficult to call them “rallies,” given the laughably sparse attendance) could fit into an Applebee’s. The Tuesday night bingo game at a nursing home attracts more attendees. Even events in bigger cities weren’t drawing big Bidenite crowds. The media, characteristically, were often complicit in hiding the true lack of enthusiasm for Biden. 

Virtually every print or TV outlet would publish images or show video of the events that made it impossible to estimate true crowd size—typically showing close up shots with just Biden and a few rows of people near him. But was that third or fourth row of seats, visible in the picture, with 15 people in it, the last row? Or were there 30 more rows behind them?

It would often take hours of digging on the internet to find a photo that enabled at least a guesstimate of the real crowd size. 

Perhaps someone younger and more persistent than me would have been more adept at quickly unearthing those images for Biden events that made it possible to judge the attendance. For myself, I found it too tedious to keep scouring the web for these images—and besides, the trend was fairly clear: in June, 100-200 people showing up to a Biden event was a pretty good performance for Grandpa Joe. There were quite a few events not even meeting that rather modest threshold—and the general pattern was unmistakable. 

Chaos on Capitol Hill Helps Trump

Fast forward to December. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. 

Since then, we have had the Mueller hearings, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller demonstrated to the entire world that he was a senile old doofus acting as a clueless figurehead of a farcical investigation into a crime that never occurred. 

We have had impeachment begin, sort of, in August, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) finally gave up her rearguard action and caved to the hard Left. 

We have had a vote on the “impeachment inquiry,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s sordid “hearings,” Jerry Nadler’s comical “hearings” before the House Judiciary Committee, the “solemn, prayerful, and sad” vote on impeachment, and the subsequent joyous celebrations in swanky D.C. restaurants by those same solemn, prayerful, and sad Democrats. 

Post-impeachment vote, we have had (and are still having) Pelosi’s bizarre gambit to blackmail Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by withholding the articles of impeachment from him. As someone pointed out by analogy to quantum physics, this has become the Shrödinger’s Impeachment, since Trump is impeached and yet at the same time isn’t actually impeached until the House delivers the Articles to the Senate. Like Shrödinger’s Cat, who is both alive and dead at the same time, Trump is impeached and not impeached simultaneously.

Now that Biden’s “No Malarkey” bus tour is taking Iowa by storm, surely millions of his voters are coming out of the woodwork . . .

The whole lunatic situation is reminiscent of “Blazing Saddles, when Cleavon Little threatened the racist town officials by putting a gun to his own head and warning them: “The next man who makes a move, the n—-r gets it!” Perhaps, at 79, the old girl is finally starting to lose it. But to Nancy’s surprise, Cocaine Mitch refuses to play the role of the “Blazing Saddles” morons, and has no plans to shout “Hold it, men! Nancy’s not bluffing!” 

While Biden struggles to articulate what exactly his son did for the $50,000-a-month paid to him by a corrupt Ukrainian gas company in a no-show job, thanks to the Democrats’ impeachment efforts, Trump’s numbers are on a clear upward trajectory. 

It is not just the media whose reporting we can no longer trust these days—yet another thing we lost since 2016 is trust in the very numbers themselves that the pollsters give us. CNN, ABC, the Washington Post and all their colleagues now see poll numbers as just another propaganda persuasion tool, which is why anchors and pundits regale us with near orgasmic excitement about “news” that “Biden is ahead of Trump by 10-15-20-30 points” in some poll. When someone digs into the poll internals and discovers pollsters grossly oversample Democrats from San Francisco and Manhattan’s Upper West Side, that barely rates a mention on one or two conservative websites. 

Even when Trump’s numbers at this point in his presidency are at least as good as (if not better than) Obama’s, Trump is uniformly described as “widely unpopular.” Obama, on the other hand, despite having the same or worse numbers, was always “broadly popular.” (In fact, even when Obama’s popularity was in the low 40s, well below Trump’s current numbers, he was always “personally popular”—yet Trump, somehow, is universally unpopular despite better numbers.)

Impeachment notwithstanding, Trump packs stadiums—photos and videos of packed Trump rallies, even as impeachment was grinding on in the House, are easy to find. Nevertheless, if a Trump rally is held at a 20,000-seat arena, and 150 of the 20,000 seats are empty, one can count on the media to focus on those 150 empty seats. 

No Longer the Front-Runner—and That’s No Malarkey

We should all be used to this by now—but this essay is not about impeachment or Trump’s polls as such, it’s about Biden. So what about Biden? With Trump on the ropes, with the walls closing in on him, with Trump staring into the abyss, with the turning point finally at hand, with the end of the road upon us, with Trump’s presidency (almost) finished, how’s Biden doing?

Biden is no longer the front-runner in Iowa and New Hampshire (the “No Malarkey” bus bouncing around Iowa doesn’t seem to be helping matters all that much)—and if current poll numbers are representative of the final vote shares, he is headed for a third-place finish in those two states, or perhaps fourth place finish if he is not so lucky—a rather peculiar position for a putative frontrunner. By that measure, Ben Carson, who came in fourth in Iowa in 2016, should have counted as the 2016 Republican “front-runner.”

I admit Biden’s staying power is not something I expected. Given the never-ending stream of stupid, moronic, witless and half-baked utterances that come out of Biden’s mouth, I really did expect that the Biden candidacy would find its way to the dustbin of history by November. 

And yet, in the national polls, Biden is still the supposed front runner among Democrats, hovering around 28 percent—which translates, using the simple math above, into perhaps 40-42 million alleged Bidenophiles out there. It is true that 40-42 million Bidenophiles is fewer than 42-45 million, but still, that’s a hell of a lot of Bidenophiles, even if they are only alleged. They were shy back in June, but perhaps no longer? Now that Biden’s “No Malarkey” bus tour is taking Iowa by storm, surely those Biden voters are coming out of the woodwork?

I thought it was time to revisit my thinking from the June article, and see how Biden is doing when it comes to retail politics. After all, every media outlet known to man (and a few that aren’t) tells us every chance they get that Biden is highly likeable (unlike Trump), has working-class pedigree (unlike Trump), is a middle-class fella (unlike Trump), occupies a special place in the hearts of Democratic voters (unlike Trump, obviously), and cares about the working people (unlike Trump). And so, we don’t need to search very hard—Biden had an “event” on December 21 in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Ottumwa is a town of 25,000 people, in Wapello County (pop. 35,625). By my estimate, there should be about 4,000 Bidenophiles in and around Ottumwa—and if there is any state where people routinely come out to “kick the tires,” so to speak, when presidential candidates come calling, it’s Iowa. Given that Biden’s poll numbers have been sagging for some time now, let’s call it 3,000 Wapello County Bidenophiles. 

Here is a tweet with a photo of the event—luckily, for once, we see the whole room:

Now, the American Mirror says there are 98 people in that photo. Not to doubt their counting skills, but I decided that Reagan’s “trust but verify” should apply, and personally counted every head I could find in that photo. 

I count 83 heads. It is possible that I somehow missed one or two heads, or that someone’s head was completely blocked by another person’s body, or two heads look like they merged into one. I am nothing if not open-minded—so let’s call it 85. 

Yes, someone has to man the video cameras seen at the very bottom of the photo, but I don’t think we should count cameramen, who are there to do a job. Perhaps there are a handful of people in seats just beyond the bottom left and bottom right, who didn’t make it into the photo—so let’s generously add another 10 people. But we should also subtract the sign language interpreter on the left of the photo. Also, surely at least three or four heads in that photo belong to Biden staffers. It hardly needs saying that we shouldn’t count the Biden staffers among those elusive enthusiastic Iowa Bidenophiles.

When all is said and done, I see 90 Ottumwa Biden supporters showing up for a Biden event. Whether quibbling over 90 versus 98 is worth the effort is a philosophical question—but the fact remains, with only a few weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Biden managed to draw 90 people, out of 3,000 potential supporters. I find it difficult to see that as good news (for Biden). There are no longer 24 Democratic candidates in the race—we’re effectively down to down to four or five, perhaps six, if we count former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who is not competing in Iowa).

The national polling is reflecting a gradual turn from a referendum on Trump personally to a choice between Trump’s policies, actions, and achievements on the one hand, and the certified insanity promised by the Democratic candidates on the other. So long as Trump was competing against himself, his numbers were typically in the low to mid-40s. 

But a flurry of recent poll numbers show that Trump is either close to even with Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg or ahead of them, particularly in swing states. Keep in mind that most of these poll numbers come from highly partisan leftist sources, so I suspect a neutral pollster, if such a person exists, would find even better numbers for Trump.

Biden still, somehow, does better against Trump than the others—giving him, and the media, their electability argument in favor of Ol’ Grandpa Joe—or, more likely, an argument for the abject weakness of the others as general election candidates.

The photo from Biden’s Iowa rally should be a good counterargument. A guy who can barely get 90 people to come listen to him talk is up against a guy who can fill sports arenas. A guy who can barely get 90 people in Iowa to come and see him is up against a guy for whom supporters wait hours, and sometimes days, before the rally—sometimes despite the heat, the cold, the rain, or the humidity. And this is right after the impeachment vote, the entire purpose of which was to taint Trump as “the impeached president.”

Take a look at that photo again. Do you honestly see a Biden victory there?

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About George S. Bardmesser

George S. Bardmesser is an attorney in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area. He is the author of Future Shot and Distance to Target, as well as a contributor to The Federalist and American Greatness. He is sometimes heard on the "Inside Track" radio show on KVOI in Tucson, Arizona, and sometimes seen discussing politics (in Russian) on New York’s American-Russian TV channel RTVi and the Two Cats Video Productions politics podcast.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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