Sunday, June 30, 2019


At The New York Times, it isn't just opinion writers -- Bret Stephens, David Brooks, Ross Douthat -- who despise the non-centrist Democrats in the 2020 presidential field. It's also -- unsurprisingly -- reporters such as Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin on the politics desk.
The Democratic debates this past week provided the clearest evidence yet that many of the leading presidential candidates are breaking with the incremental politics of the Clinton and Obama eras, and are embracing sweeping liberal policy changes on some of the most charged public issues in American life, even at the risk of political backlash.

... But with moderate Democrats repeatedly drowned out or on the defensive in the debates, the sprint to the left has deeply unnerved establishment Democrats, who have largely picked the party nominees in recent decades. They fear that advocating a government-run health care system could alienate suburban and upper-income voters who are otherwise eager to eject Mr. Trump from office, while the most progressive immigration policies might turn off the working-class white voters who backed Mr. Trump after twice supporting former President Barack Obama.
Kamala Harris impressed many voters in last week's debates by taking on Joe Biden, but the word from the flagship newspaper of the so-called liberal media is that she and other non-moderates might kill the party.

Harris and the other Democrats who challenge Biden from the left are unsettling -- but do you know who impresses the Times? The guy who made this:
For much of the last three months, the most popular Joseph R. Biden Jr. website has been a slick little piece of disinformation that is designed to look like the former vice president’s official campaign page, yet is most definitely not pro-Biden.

From top to bottom, the website,, breezily mocks the candidate in terms that would warm the heart of any Bernie Sanders supporter: There are GIFs of Mr. Biden touching women and girls, and blurbs about his less-than-liberal policy positions, including his opposition to court-ordered busing in the 1970s and his support for the Iraq war. Pull quotes highlight some of his more famous verbal gaffes, like his description of his future boss, Barack Obama, as “articulate and bright and clean.” The introductory text declares, “Uncle Joe is back and ready to take a hands-on approach to America’s problems!”
Biden's progressive challengers are a real threat, but this site -- created by a 30-year-old GOP operative named Patrick Mauldin -- is "slick" and done "breezily." Mauldin is a "mischievous" "rising star" who's "on point":
Inside the campaign, Mr. Mauldin, 30, is seen as a rising star, prized for his mischievous sense of humor and digital know-how, according to two people familiar with the operation. He also appears to be very much on point in his choice of targets: Mr. Biden is the Democrat polling strongest against Mr. Trump and has been repeatedly singled out on Twitter by the president.
In fact, as the Times story (by Matthew Rosenberg) makes clear, the site hasn't actually been working very well:
Mr. Mauldin boasted in the interview that he had fooled people into thinking his Biden website was the real campaign page. Some offered to donate money, he said, and others wanted to volunteer.

... One person wanted Mr. Biden to speak at her son’s school. Another suggested the former vice president look to an old soul group, the Fifth Dimension, for his campaign song.
If the point of your site is to deter people from supporting Joe Biden and they're responding to it by requesting a personal Biden appearance or offering to volunteer for the campaign, you're failing.

Also note that the site has been up for three months and Biden has remained at the top of the Democratic polls throughout that period, while he's contnued to crush Trump in head-to-head polling.

It's Harris who seems to have damaged Biden in the polls:

But she and the other liberal and progressive Democrats are a menace, whereas Maudlin, despite a certain wariness about his spoofing, is humanized so thoroughly by the Times that you'd think he was a neo-Nazi cooking pasta:
Sipping a Crown Royal and Coke at a bar in downtown Austin, Mr. Mauldin bore little resemblance to the boasting troll he played on Reddit. He is slight, and has boyish features....

Mr. Mauldin grew up in eastern Texas, and described his political views as “closest to libertarian.” He studied marketing at Texas A&M, and taught himself digital design skills, building on a childhood love of drawing.

He and his brother founded Vici after helping a family friend win a state representative race. Their big break came in June 2016, when the Trump campaign’s digital operation, short of manpower and scrambling, hired Vici.

Mr. Mauldin quickly impressed. His specialty was making the kind of viral videos that riffed on pop culture and were relentlessly pumped out on social media by the Trump campaign.
He's so creative! And boyish!

Unless Biden or another left-centrist manahes to take the nomination, all the "liberal" media coverage is going to be like this between now and November 2020. A left-leaning Democratic nominee will have to beat the mainstream media as well as Trump.

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