AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Nate Silver Drops Truth Bomb on White House for Trying to Hide Biden’s Cognitive Decline

Statistician and writer Nate Silver now says he “crossed the Rubicon” in November about Joe Biden running for reelection, suggesting that the besieged president should “stand down” if he’s incapable of running a normal reelection campaign. Meaning, he says, activities like conducting a Super Bowl interview.

Needless to say, that ship sailed long ago. 

In a Silver Bulletin on Monday, titled “It’s Time for the White House to Put Up or Shut Up,” Silver said the first time his “internal needle” began to shift was in late summer when “Biden’s approval numbers remained poor even as the economy was improving.” At the time, Silver blamed Biden’s advanced age.

Biden turned 81 in November (Trump is 77) — an enormous problem for voters and one that Democrats weren’t going to be able to spin away. Still, as of late September [2023], I thought that it had become too late for a full-fledged primary challenge to Biden, and  Biden voluntarily announcing that he wouldn’t run for a second term was a close call but probably failed a cost-benefit test for Democrats.

Silver then said what we all know: “Since then, Biden’s situation has become considerably worse.” He then dropped one of several truth bombs on the White House and the Democrat Party:

If you’re someone who would rather not see Trump re-elected again or who cares about the election for other reasons, it’s time to face the facts. You need to adjust to the new reality and not be mired in anchoring bias by your previous impression of the race.

That’s good advice — for both sides of the aisle.

Silver listed three issues that have considerably worsened for Biden, writing in part:

First, the president’s approval ratings do have some meaningful predictive power at this stage as compared with a year ago. And with the general election matchup all but locked in, Biden’s head-to-head polls against Trump provide some meaningful signal, too. So it’s no longer safe to ignore that Biden has consistently trailed Trump in polls both nationally and (more importantly) in swing states. Or that Biden’s approval rating is just 39 percent and shows no signs of improvement, well below the threshold that would ordinarily make a president a favorite for re-election.
Second, to borrow the poker term, Biden no longer has as many “outs” — meaning, contingencies that could improve his situation:
In the Republican nomination process, Trump is probably going to win all 50 states; he hasn’t gotten bruised up or exposed new fissures within the GOP base.
Trump’s various criminal trials are (perhaps predictably) facing delays and the Georgia one is a mess, fairly or not, because of an alleged improper romantic relationship between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and another member of the prosecution team. Yes, Democrats still have some upside if Trump is eventually convicted of something. But so far Trump’s favorability ratings have only improved.
And the economy? Well, it has gotten better and both consumer and investor moods have turned more optimistic. I’ve argued there was never really a gap between economic reality and economic perception in the first place, but if there was, it’s pretty much gone now. And yet Biden’s standing has not improved. On balance, that ought to be a concerning fact for the White House. It implies that Biden’s poor position is not the result of something fixable (the economy) but rather something that very much isn’t — the fact that he’s 81 and getting older every day.
Third, yes, it’s become even clearer that Biden’s age is an enormous problem for him. As many as 86 percent of Americans say he’s too old in one poll, though numbers in the 70-to-75 percent range are more common — still an overwhelming majority in a bitterly-divided country. There’s also been recent bad news for Biden on this front. In the past couple of weeks:
A special counsel report characterized Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”;
In response to the special counsel report, Biden conducted an impromptu press conference in which, defending himself against allegations of memory loss, he confused the names of the leaders of Egypt and Mexico and was defiant with reporters in a way that — yes, this latter part is subjective — I doubt many impartial observers would say came across well.
Biden also declined to do a Super Bowl interview that might have allayed public concerns — something that President Obama did all eight years in office, Trump did three times, and Biden did in 2021. The White House skipped the interview last year when the Super Bowl was carried by Fox, part of a general pattern of Biden avoiding Fox News. But with the game on CBS this year, there were no such excuses.

To be clear, Silver is no fan of former President Donald Trump. But, he argues, “the fact that Trump also has a number of disqualifying features is not a good reason to nominate Biden.” Rather, he says:

It is a reason for Democrats to be the adults in the room and acknowledge that someone who can’t sit through a Super Bowl interview isn’t someone the public can trust to have the physical and mental stamina to handle an international crisis, terrorist attack, or some other unforeseen threat when he’ll be in his mid-80s.

I suspect that Silver knows as much as the rest of us that the Democrat Party is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The more the White House tries to shield Biden from the public, the louder the outcry. On the other hand, the more the White House trots the guy out, the more confirmation that he’s clearly incapable of carrying out the duties of the presidency.

Perhaps with the above thoughts in mind, Silver tossed out “a simple challenge to the White House.”

Here’s what I’d propose. Over the course of the next several weeks, Biden should do four lengthy sitdown interviews with “non-friendly” sources. “Non-friendly” doesn’t mean hostile: nonpartisan reporters with a track record of asking tough questions would work great. A complete recording of the interviews should be made public. The interviews ought to include a mix of different media (e.g. television and print) and journalistic perspectives. For instance, Biden could pick these four:
A lengthy sitdown interview with the Washington bureaus of the New York Times or Washington Post.
An interview with 60 Minutes, making up for the interview Biden ought to have done with CBS during the Super Bowl.
An interview with some sort of center-right print or digital outlet. This could be say the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, or even a team of writers at The Dispatch.
Wild card. Take your pick. Bonus points for Fox News, though I doubt Biden would do it. Go on Ezra Klein’s podcast? Go on Rogan? Just kidding, I think. But Bernie Sanders did it.

Spoiler: No way in hell is Biden going to do any of the above. And even if he wanted to, his handlers would lock him in the basement and throw away the key.

The Bottom Line

Before the release of the Hur Report, I thought there was at least a 50-50 chance that the Democrats would ride Biden to the Democrat Convention in August and on to the election in November — if for no other reason than because they have no viable Plan B.

But now? 

If Biden doesn’t drop out of the race between Super Tuesday and the convention, they’ll kick him to the curb faster than you (he) can say: “I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Constitutional Carry on the Agenda for Louisiana Special Session on Public Safety

JD Vance Defends ‘Future President’ Trump at Munich Security Conference