Joe Biden Is Democrats' Safety School

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Political scientist Daniel Schlozman, who has a new book out about social movements and political parties that I’m eager to read, on how Republicans and Christian conservatives first got together.

2. Brendan Nyhan on Donald Trump as the Green Lantern candidate. No disagreement -- although we can’t emphasize enough that Trump’s high polling numbers are primarily about name recognition and massive media coverage. Nyhan, however, identifies another good reason why there’s little resistance to an amateur with improbable claims about what he would do in office.

3. The Boston Globe on Joe Biden as a “safety school.” Goes with my “perpetual trial balloon” and “running for understudy” and Nate Silver’s “Schrödinger’s Cat Campaign.” We’re all on the same page -- which raises the question, obviously, of whether that’s the page Biden thinks he’s on.

4. Ariel Edwards-Levy notes that polls still show Hillary Clinton as an overwhelmingly strong nomination candidate. I don’t think that would protect her in the unlikely event that the party deserted her -- but it’s one of the reasons they’re unlikely to do so.

5. Annie Lowrey worries that the United States government won’t have the tools to fight the next recession, whenever it shows up.

6. Kevin Drum’s suspicions are correct: Studies of the effects of contested primaries on the general election have had mixed findings, but either way the effect is small. That is, it doesn’t seem to matter much whether primaries are Secretariat’s Belmont or Affirmed/Alydar in the Belmont (translation: whether they’re basically uncontested or bitter fights).

7. Interesting reporting on Republican governors and the presidential contest from National Journal’s Karyn Bruggeman.

8. And Josh Kraushaar highlights the enormous press coverage Trump has received: “Would be fascinating to see how much money all the Trump airtime would be worth in paid 30-sec ads. Guess wld be in the billions...”

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Jonathan Bernstein at

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