Ukraine Scandal Highlights Biden’s Young Voter Woes
By Mariana Barillas, Sinclair Broadcast Group
Wednesday, October 23rd 2019
WASHINGTON (SBG) –Joe Biden’s frontrunner status for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination appears increasingly shaky in the wake of an impeachment inquiry was launched after President Donald Trump asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on the former vice president.
The elder Biden was the Obama Administrations “point man” for Ukraine policy while his son Hunter secured a board position for a gas company in the country despite lacking any energy expertise. Both Bidens have denied any wrongdoing, but have struggled to respond to the impressions of impropriety.
Democratic strategist Scott Ferson argued that though the “unseemly” revelation may not be enough in itself to sink the campaign as primary voters outside of the Beltway are more concerned about issues like health care and booting Trump out of office “I think Ukraine is the latest in a long line of problems that Biden has had.”
“I would argue that [Trump’s] issues with Ukraine are actually more substantively serious than Joe Biden’s because he might be impeached over it. If [Biden] were just the former vice president, I don’t know if he would be asked about this every day but he’s running for president,” said Ferson in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Even before the scandal, Biden’s years of experience in the nation’s capital have persistently been used by his more green competitors on the Democratic debate stage to paint him as a swamp creature. And that impression, especially among the young adults who are predicted to be a key voting block for Democrats this election cycle, has only been reinforced by the Ukraine revelations.
Eduardo Neret, a correspondent for conservative watchdog group Campus Reform, found that when he talked to the University of Miami students that most were unsurprised that those close to the former vice president may have personally benefited from their connections to him.
Weekly poll Chegg/College Pulse Election Tracker shows that among college students Biden has persistently trailed behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., suffering a major drop over the summer corresponding with a rise in support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. That suggests Biden’s problems, especially for this demographic, are deeper than what he and his son did or didn’t do in Ukraine. Compared to previous generations young adults are much more cynical of not just political leaders but of the system itself, according to a major Pew Research Survey released in August.
Michael Cohen, chief strategist for Republican campaign consultants WPA Intelligence, argues that the anti-establishment mood of the country is why Trump’s approval rating hasn’t been noticeably impacted by the Ukraine scandal. Although the number of people who support his impeachment and removal has grown to about half the country, their responses are still largely along partisan lines.
“You have to understand that a lot of Trump voters are not very political,” said Cohen. “They don’t really follow every minor or major scandal. On top of that, they are very loyal and defensive of him.” Cohen asserted that if Democrats don’t move their inquiry quickly toward impeachment and a real trial to make their case to the American people, they risk the many voters in key regions tuning them out.
“The president is not going to be removed unless something dramatically changes here. The rest of this is just giving him an opportunity to say ‘yep, they tried to beat me at the ballot box, they tried to beat me by impeachment and I’m still here working for you,’” said Cohen.
Ferson said that a “Democrat has won the popular vote in the last six of seven presidential contents; we only lost the popular vote in 2004. So we don’t have a voter appeal problem among Democrats, we have an electoral problem” in areas of the country Trump took in 2016. Ferson said the election is going to be about whether a Democrat “make the case of being a reasonable alternative to the majority of voters against President Trump.”
“Ultimately, I think the vote-whether he wins or loses-is going to be a referendum on Donald Trump, which is probably exactly what he likes since it would be about him,” said Ferson.
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