Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out

Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out
© Greg Nash

Conventional political wisdom is often wrong.

But in all my years on the presidential campaign trail, I can’t recall a time when the accepted wisdom of the moment is so wrongheaded and damaging to one candidate.

To play on a line from Mark Twain, reports of Joe BidenJoe BidenCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin seeks 'adjustments' to spending plan MORE’s political demise have been greatly exaggerated.


Yes, the former vice president had a disappointing showing in the first two Democratic presidential contests — placing fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary.

But keep in mind Iowa and New Hampshire awarded less than two percent of the available delegates.

The consensus that Biden’s 2020 hopes are doomed is also being fueled by the barrage coming from the man who fears his candidacy the most — President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE.

Trump is so scared of facing Biden in a general election that the president got himself impeached for trying to get a foreign leader to damage Biden’s campaign.

Despite the ‘anything goes’ political tactics from Trump, Biden remains the Democrat who does best against Trump in most head-to-head general election polls.

Across the nation, Democrats have said defeating Trump is their number one priority. So, there should be no question about Biden’s standing as the candidate who meets the top criteria for Democratic voters.

Yes, Biden is one of several Democrats currently polling ahead of Trump in the general election. But those polls do not take into account that Biden has already withstood prolonged attacks from Team Trump.

Imagine how the polls might change if Trump’s attacks on Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (I-Vt.) or former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegFeehery: Why Democrats are now historically unpopular Harris, Buttigieg to promote infrastructure law in Charlotte 'Fox & Friends Weekend' hosts suggest new variant meant to distract from Biden's struggles MORE (D) — the top two finishers in Iowa and New Hampshire — had been as furious as his blanket assault on Biden.

It is the plain truth that no Democrat other than Biden has shown the ability to withstand a barrage of defamation by the president, as well as his personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani becomes grandfather after son welcomes child Press: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Former NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology MORE.

Just last week Trump was asked by Geraldo Rivera if it was “strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer?” in search of dirt on Biden.

Trump replied: “No, not at all,” and praised Giuliani as “one of the best prosecutors.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign remains alive, largely thanks to the fact that he is well-known to the most loyal Democratic voting bloc — black voters. As Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHead of North Carolina's health department steps down Appeals court appears wary of Trump's suit to block documents from Jan. 6 committee Patent trolls kill startups, but the Biden administration has the power to help  MORE’s vice president, Biden has a reservoir of goodwill there.

Recall that, in 2016, Sanders’s lack of support in the African American community cost him in the South. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE was able to leverage strong support among blacks to lock up the nomination.

Last week, the Quinnipiac University national poll of Democratic primary voters found Biden in first place among blacks with 27 percent support and Sanders trailing with 19 percent support.


All of this brings me back to the conventional wisdom that it is time to write off Biden’s campaign.

In Nevada and South Carolina, the next two states to vote, and both with large minority populations, The Washington Post polling average has Biden leading.

In Nevada's caucuses, he is ahead with 25 percent support versus 19 percent for Sanders.

In South Carolina, the Post’s average of polls shows Biden with 38 percent support while Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (D-Mass.) are tied at 13 percent.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls also shows Biden leading in two big prize Super Tuesday states: Texas and North Carolina. The polling aggregators also show Biden trailing Sanders in California by less than five percentage points.

“I wouldn’t trade positions with anybody else in the race,” Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBiden says 'consumer spending has recovered' to pre-pandemic levels Build Back Better is a 21st century New Deal Black Caucus eager to see BBB cross finish line in House MORE (D-La.), a co-chair of the Biden campaign, told the Washington Post. “Let’s imagine if the states were in the reverse order...This whole conversation would be different. So I don’t believe that the momentum here relates and carries forward, because we’re in different states, different demographics.”

The congressman is right.

The media narrative that Biden is not long for this race is wildly unfair and does a tremendous disservice to voters who have not yet made up their minds.

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong in two months if Biden drops out.

But there is something fundamentally unfair and undemocratic about the media driving a Trump message as conventional wisdom to damage Biden.

Biden is still in it. The media celebrated one “comeback kid” 28 years ago when Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMaxwell accuser testifies the British socialite was present when Epstein abuse occurred Epstein pilot testifies Maxwell was 'number two' in operation Federal judge changes his mind about stepping down, eliminating vacancy for Biden to fill MORE — who also lost Iowa and New Hampshire — went on to win the nomination.

Perhaps history will record Biden as the comeback kid of 2020.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.