Why Biden's Trail Isn't About Trump

The polls show Biden is behind, and it's not because of the polls, the media, or the incumbent reflex. It's because of anger at Biden and despair at the country's direction. Here's why I think that is:

  1. The economy is in worse shape than in midterm years when Democrats did well, and Biden's recovery is stronger than Reagan's or Obama's at this point in their second terms. Yet Biden is polling worse than Reagan and Obama were at this point. What explains this anomaly?
  2. Trump is challenging Biden to two debates, and Biden accepted. On the same day, Biden withdrew from three other debates scheduled for September and October. A Biden campaign aide explained the move by telling Axios that Biden "fully expects Trump to be totally unprepared and to blow himself up." That's a strange strategy. Why would Biden make a point of avoiding debates, then issue a challenge he believes will help him win?
  3. Biden is behind, and his campaign is in denial about it. They're making little effort to win over voters, assuming they'll turn to Biden when the time comes. But voters who dislike Biden aren't turning to Trump; they're just staying home.
  4. I think it's time for Democrats to consider an open convention, with the possibility of a new nominee. I say this with no idea of who that nominee should be, but Biden's age and vacillation seem to be doing him harm, and Democrats need to at least be thinking about a new face.
  5. Voters think Biden is too liberal. The Biden administration has worried about shoring up its left flank, particularly since the war in Gaza Strip. But Biden is bleeding voters who describe themselves as moderate and conservative. A move to the center could win Democrats some voters, provided they do it authentically and avoid simply flipping positions to appeal to Trump voters.
  6. Voters think Biden is too old. Polls routinely find that majorities of as much as 70-80% think Biden is too old to be president. I argued that Democrats should consider nominating another candidate at an open convention. But Biden gave a zesty State of the Union in which he seemed livelier and frankly younger than he had in years. That quieted his doubters, at least for a time. But Biden has good days and bad days on the campaign. His State of the Union was strong. His recent interview on CNN was weaker. A lot of voters see Biden only through the occasional clip, and particularly if they're getting their news through social media or YouTube or TikTok, they're seeing a lot of clips from Biden's worst moments. Biden's age also shows up in the absence of great moments ricocheting across social media. If you compare his interviews and speeches with those of Obama or Bill Clinton before him — or especially with the Biden of the 2012 vice-presidential debate or the 2016 convention — his slippage as a campaigner is clear. Communication skills aren't everything, but they aren't nothing, either. The optimistic take is that the bar for Biden is low and a strong debate performance or two will win him an unusual amount of support. The June debate will be his best opportunity. Doubts about age are really doubts about capability, and all Biden needs to do is convince enough voters that he is more capable than the erratic criminal defendant across the stage, who turns 78 next month. But if the debate goes poorly, or if Biden's numbers deteriorate further, Democrats will need to decide between a Biden-Harris ticket that is very likely to lose or an open convention.

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Prospective observational study of peripheral intravenous cannula utilisation and frequency of intravenous fluid delivery in the emergency department: convenience or necessity?

Introduction Over one billion peripheral intravenous cannulas (PIVCs) are inserted worldwide each year. Insertion of PIVCs is associated with pain, phlebitis, occlusion, and medication extravasation as well as the risk of catheter-associated infection, with an associated cost to departmental resources. Previous studies have not assessed if intravenous (IV) fluid delivery