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On Friday July 5 2019 CNN aired segments of Chris Cuomo’s ‘one-on-one’ with Joe Biden (in a cafe, the kind of place Biden likes to be seen). The same segments were introduced in the afternoon (by Dana Bash in for Jake Tapper) and at eight o’clock (by Jim Sciuto, in for Chris Cuomo).

Earlier in the same week (Monday) a CNN poll seemed to show that Harris had gained a surge in popularity after the debates of the previous week and was now not far behind Biden. The next day, a Quinnipiac poll gave further cause for concern to the Biden campaign, with Harris narrowing the gap on the ‘front-runner’ (media did not mention that three fifths of those polled said they might still change their mind prior to the Democratic nominee election).

Some relevant facts were not mentioned by CNN in their sensationalist coverage of polling throughout the first week of July, after the first Dem debates. First, although the CNN poll suggested that Harris’s surge was caused by her debate performance against Biden, the same poll showed that 36% of respondents had not even watched much of the debates but instead closely watched news coverage of them later on. Of course, such coverage just focused on Harris and Biden, colored with the opinions of CNN ‘experts’.

One conclusion can be drawn - it was misleading of CNN to say that Harris’ surge was a result of her debate performance with Biden, since too many people (36%) might have formed their view about Harris based on CNN coverage of the debate, not the debate itself. To a significant extent, the poll may just reflect CNN’s propaganda about the debate. Ditto regarding people’s views on whether Biden sexually abused (not just harassed) Tara Reade. Many just accept the analysis put out by the corporate media which is actually not at all convincing (pace Elizabeth Warren who claims she finds Biden’s response to the Reade allegations “credible and convincing”). Now that Warren is being considered in the media as a possible VP pick for Biden she is now backtracking on her previous pro #metoo movement claims e.g. regarding Michael Bloomberg in the debates).

If one thinks the term ‘propaganda’ is too strong, consider that on the next day (Wednesday) two new polls came out which had Bernie in second place behind Biden nationally. These polls were conducted by ABC news / Washington Post and Reuters / Ipsos. The former had Bernie at 23% and Biden at 29%, with both Warren and Harris at 11% each, yet no segment was shown about either poll on CNN all day Wednesday or subsequently.

Similarly, the first poll that emerged after Biden formally announced his candidacy on Easter Friday 2019 surprisingly showed that Biden was the new front-runner over-night, significantly ahead of Bernie. It later emerged that the poll in question excluded the views of respondents under the age of 50 (Bernie is much more popular with younger voters than is Biden). Of course such a poll seems rigged in favor of the preferred corporate candidate (reminding us of how things were rigged in favor of Hillary in 2016, with super-delegates, media bias etc.).

With their corporate candidate Biden in a bit of trouble, the media attempted to do some damage control by airing the interview with Biden twice on Friday. An attempt to obfuscate about the obvious intention of damage control was admirably but unsuccessfully undertaken by Jim Sciuto who reminded us that Joe Biden rarely gives one on one interviews. Of course, he was doing CNN a favor in granting the interview, his wife Jill mysteriously calling in the background to bring proceedings to a close towards the end of the piece, behind tables at the back of the cafe in question (much like her mysteriously having called Joe away during a post-debate interview the previous week).

Unfortunately for Joe, the attempt at damage control hasn’t worked. Regarding the main point of damage i.e. Biden’s position on busing in the 70’s, the fact that Kamala Harris post-Debate has changed her position to be more in line with Biden’s doesn’t show that her original criticism was invalid. Biden’s reference to yet another Harris flip-flop post debate or town-hall (re Medicare for all / whether felons should have the right to vote) doesn’t make him look any better, it just brings Harris down to his level.

Interestingly Biden did not mention Harris’ initial criticism of him during the debate, regarding his amenable relationship with segregationist senators from which Harris segued into her Biden being anti-federally mandated busing criticism. (Remember Biden was also in the news around this time for changing his position overnight on the Hyde amendment to Roe v Wade - the amendment prevented federal funds from being used to finance abortions thus penalizing women of color). Arguably his ‘segregationist gaffe’ is more politically damaging to his campaign now than the busing issue since his comments in the former context seem more confused and incoherent than his comments on busing.

Biden rather pathetically kept on saying “come on, man!” people know me etc. (which even prompted Jim Sciuto to joke that Biden should have a “come on, man” bumper sticker). He desperately tried to play up his ties with Obama (despite having made racist comments about the man whilst running against him for president) and play up the general election pantomime caricature of a playground fight between a bully (Trump) and another picked on kid (Biden). No one likes a bully, but do they like a Democratic nominee with no inspiring policy ideas? Biden claimed a president shouldn’t fight: a president should persuade, yet he characterizes himself as being someone who would like to fight bully Trump. (Biden’s ‘come on man’ sounds suspiciously like Trump’s ‘believe me’.)

Another more telling implicit contradiction in Biden’s remarks in the Cuomo interview concerned the modern direction of the Democratic Party and his place in it. He claimed he is centrist left, not ‘way left’ (like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez who was brilliant but had just won a primary - she wasn’t running in a general election). This was baffling since Hillary Clinton was ‘centrist’ (right) moved by Bernie a bit left yet still lost to Trump in the last general election.

Furthermore, he claimed he has big policy ideas. Regarding health-care he rejects single-payer Medicare for all, supports going back to an Obama style individual mandate etc. Senator Jayapal (whose version of Medicare for all involves a two year roll out rather than Bernie’s four year roll out) sharply criticized Biden’s health-insurance comments in the Cuomo interview. Commondreams.org reported Sen. Jayapal as arguing that Biden’s claim that unions fought hard for employer health insurance for employees is an antiquated (and bogus) position. According to Commondreams.org:

“During an interview with CNN that aired Friday, as Common Dreams reported: "Biden suggested he supports allowing Americans to buy in to Medicare instead of going all the way to Medicare for All, which he slammed as disruptive and costly despite studies showing it would save the U.S. trillions of dollars in overall healthcare spending."

"If they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get, a lot of people like theirs, they shouldn't have to give it up," Biden said. "If you don't go my way and you go their way you have to give up all that. What's gonna happen when you have 300 million people landing on a healthcare plan. How long is that going to take? What's it going to do?"

Sharing the relevant clip from Biden's interview, Jayapal tweeted Saturday, "This argument that 'unions broke their neck to get employer-based insurance' is an OLD argument that isn't relevant today."

The congresswoman listed some of the labor unions supporting her Medicare for All bill—including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and National Nurses United (NNU)—and argued that these organizations "understand" the benefits of transforming the country's for-profit healthcare system through proposals such as hers.

For example, Jayapal wrote, unions understand that "workers are paying more and more for their employer-insurance because for-profit insurance companies are raising premiums hugely for employer healthcare as well."

"Unions understand that when they have to bargain for healthcare, they give up money that should be used for wages," the congresswoman continued. Labor unions also "understand solidarity and standing with [the] least amongst us," she added. "They're ready to fight for ALL OF US."”

Similarly Biden’s big idea regarding climate change is to go back to Obama policy and rejoin the Paris climate accord, despite the fact that scientists tell us we have just twelve years to try to prevent irreversible life threatening change to the Earth’s climate (a distinct concept from weather). That’s not a big idea, it’s a minimally required idea (and was so before the coronavirus pandemic).

He was Vice President whilst Hillary Clinton was sending children back to Honduras, supporting fracking, supporting Wall Street, supporting Obama’s Dakota Access oil pipeline (which Jill Stein and others protested against) etc. These are the kind of big ideas that Biden wants to bring us back to. The world can’t afford Joe Biden or Donald Trump as next President.