- Former Vice President Joe Biden’s fifth-place finish in New Hampshire is raising eyebrows among his supporters.
- “There’s blood in the water,” an organiser for black candidates told Politico.
- Through the summer and fall, Biden’s schedule in New Hampshire was light, drawing concern from local activists as other campaigns ramped up their organising.
- After making an “electability” argument for months, Biden heads to Nevada and South Carolina without a top-three finish.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When a former vice president finishes in fifth place in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, people are bound to start talking.
Joe Biden skipped town to hold an event in South Carolina as the results came in Tuesday night in New Hampshire, leaving his Granite State watch party cavernous and centered on a video call from the candidate.
Though this is Biden’s third time running for president, following attempts in 1988 and 2008, it was the first time he was able to make it as far as New Hampshire without dropping out.
He has long anticipated a lift in South Carolina, the fourth state to vote, where he has relied on a bedrock of strong support among African American voters that once exceeded 80%. The landscape could be changing, however, with some polls showing Biden losing his grip on the key demographic in the Palmetto State.
“There’s blood in the water,” Quentin James, the executive director of The Collective, a group backing black candidates, told Politico. “Black voters are starting to leave him now … A big reason lots of black voters were with Biden is they thought he was the best person to beat Trump.
“And they thought one reason for that is that he had the support of white voters,” he continued. “Now they see he has done so poorly with white voters and he no longer looks like the electability candidate.”
A Biden adviser who requested anonymity was even more blunt with Politico.
“This is horrendous,” the person said. “We’re all scared. I think we’re going to make it to South Carolina. I know we’re supposed to say we’re going to and we’re going to win. But I just don’t know.”
And in an interview earlier this week, the longtime Democratic strategist James Carville told The Washington Post that Biden “has never been a good candidate.”
“This is not his first rodeo, and he ain’t roped a cow yet,” he said.
Through the summer and fall, New Hampshire political observers raised questions over Biden’s light schedule in the Granite State.
After the leading organiser and fundraiser in Cheshire County told The Keene Sentinel that Biden was “missing in action,” the Biden campaign announced a visit to the city within half an hour of the story publishing.
A Biden spokeswoman subsequently said the visit simply wasn’t able to be made public before the “missing in action” headline was published.
Biden has made the “electability” argument for months, telling voters he is the steady choice and safe bet to beat President Donald Trump in November.
But the feeling he’s lost a step continues to loom large, with Carville saying the quiet part out loud to The Post.
“I’m 75, I know,” he said. “I’m thinking about how I’m going to get back in my car without tripping on ice.”