Biden pivot to the center: Too little, too late or helpful?

"This is the first time, at least in my professional adult life, that I've seen a Democratic candidate take a massive, leftward lurch after securing the nomination," said Jason Miller, a senior Trump campaign adviser.

Published: September 9, 2020 1:15pm

Updated: September 9, 2020 11:23pm

Typical presidential campaigning orthodoxy holds that a candidate moves left or right toward his or her respective base during the primary and pivots back to the middle for the general immediately after securing the nomination.

But Joe Biden took a hard left turn lasting months, even after he'd won enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination, and is only now making a belated pivot to the center, argues the Trump campaign. 

"Joe Biden has moved considerably leftward over the summer since securing the Democratic nomination," Jason Miller, a senior Trump campaign adviser, told reporters on a call last week. "This is the first time — at least in my professional adult life -- that I've seen a Democratic candidate take a massive, leftward lurch after securing the nomination. This is because Joe Biden is so worried about his liberal, progressive base that he will do anything that they ask."

Biden has in recent days rejected the violence, looting and rioting that has raged in many cities over recent months, after presiding over a Democratic National Convention that was silent on the issue.

"Clips of Biden saying things like, 'If you elect me, your taxes are going to be raised, not cut,' are now seared into voters' memories," Miller said. "As a result, Biden has been outed as someone who is beholden to this radical left wing mob that is controlling his campaign, and someone who's unable to stand up to the more extreme elements of his party."

The Biden campaign did not respond to request for comment from Just the News. However, in Pittsburgh on Aug. 31, for example, Biden tried to burnish his centrist credentials. 

"You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family's story," Biden said. "Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really? I want a safe America, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear: safe from four more years of Donald Trump."

Miller said Biden's leftward move for months prior to his more recent move toward the middle puts Biden's team on defense heading into the general election, as evidenced by Biden's substantial TV ad buys in four states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016: Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

"Look at how Joe Biden, after finally reemerging from the basement, is making Minnesota one of the first places where he's going," Miller said. "So for all of the talk of the Biden camp being on offense, actually, they are in many ways very much on defense. If you look at the the pathways to victory, of where we stand right now, you have to look at the fact that as long as we hold on to Florida and do well in the states that we believe that we are — like Arizona and North Carolina —Joe Biden has to shut us out and go four for four in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Think about that for a moment. As long as we hold on to Florida, they have to go four for four in those states — something that we just don't think is going to happen."

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