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 BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel 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 John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary 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 SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.) or former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention 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 GiulianiFeehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Coronavirus concerns emerge around debates Giuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group 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 ObamaUS blocking private charter flights to Cuba Biden, Harris to address Democratic convention from Chase Center in Delaware Kamala Harris is now under the protection of Secret Service: report 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 ClintonUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Gloria Steinem: Selection of Kamala Harris recognizes that 'black women ... are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party' 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 WarrenChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Markey riffs on JFK quote in new ad touting progressive bona fides Howard Kurtz: Kamala Harris 'getting walk on water coverage' by media after VP pick 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 Levon RichmondHillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Lawmakers introduce bill designating billion to secure state and local IT systems Experts warn mail-in voting misinformation could threaten elections 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 ClintonOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech It's Harris — and we're not surprised The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate 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.