As if Joe Biden weren’t looking brittle enough these days, Democrats and the national media are firing up the tried and true Russian-interference machine, warning voters that the former vice president’s reputation is under threat of further erosion by a smear campaign led by none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post this week have published stories about how Russia is getting wild on social media by amplifying President Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and on his Democratic rival and how a Russian agent is giving Republican lawmakers information related to Biden’s son Hunter’s questionable overseas business.
Those stories have been picked up by CNN and MSNBC to create more alarm about Russian interference. The calculation here is that it’s politically beneficial to turn the Democratic nominee into a victim of unfair circumstances because Democrats love nothing more than a victim. I’m just not sure it plays well in a presidential election.
Evidence actually suggests that feigning victimhood isn’t the strongest path to victory. In the final days of the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton and her team whined about being the victim of sexism, James Comey, and of course, Russia. It didn’t convince anyone that the deck was stacked against her. It made her look weak and full of excuses, which is to say, it made her look like the ideal Democratic voter.
Liberals might counter that Trump pretends to be a victim more than anybody. He’s always moaning about the “fake news media” and the “witch hunt” and the “rigged” election.
True, but people have seen for themselves the astonishing number of stories written about the president or his associates that turn out to be untrue or, at minimum, lack crucial context and are riddled with errors. Leading Democrats in Congress said from the start of Trump’s presidency that they would be sniffing for any reason to impeach him.
On the point of the election, Democrats are saying just as often that Trump is fixing the election by messing with the United States Postal Service, a claim backed by not a shred of evidence. We can call that one a draw.
And in any event, let’s not pretend that a double standard doesn’t apply here. Trump is still essentially one man positioned against the Democratic Party, the entire national media, the Washington bureaucracy, and even elements within his own party. By contrast, Biden has the support of all of those things, and yet voters are seriously supposed to be bothered that Russia is spreading the devastating rumor that the former vice president is — extended drumroll here — corrupt.
It’s not as if Putin has invested millions of dollars in a campaign to convince people that Biden is compromised by a foreign power and that there may be a video showing him with prostitutes who urinate on a hotel mattress. Now that would be wild.
No, according to the Washington Post, U.S. intelligence has simply identified one Russian agent, who freely walks around in Washington telling lawmakers and White House officials that Biden’s son Hunter engaged in seedy activity in Ukraine.
Well, even if that information is coming from a Russian agent, we’ve known about it since at least six years ago when the media started directly asking Biden about it.
Democrats can make Biden out to be a victim if they want to, but they might consider that not everyone believes that being victimized is an outstanding quality in a presidential candidate.