This is just how dire things got for the Biden campaign in early 2020. Plus, just how much damage Trump did by hiding his COVID vaccine, and Colorado’s voting model.
How did Joe Biden manage to eke out a presidential win after washing up in fourth place in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire?
Co-host Molly Jong-Fast still wants to know. “I’ve spent much of the week talking about being wrong about Cuomo, but I would like to take a minute to talk about being wrong about Biden,” she tells NBC News’ Jonathan Allen, co-author of the new book Lucky: How Biden Barely Won the Presidency, on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.
While Jong-Fast and others were writing Biden’s political obituary in February 2020, his staffers were suggesting the former vice president refinance his house to put money into his dying campaign, Allen says.
“It's not the most unheard of thing for a candidate to do it,” he says, but “a presidential candidate doesn't do that. And the subtext of going to him to tell him that is that it might be time to just wrap up the campaign. To Joe Biden's everlasting credit, he believed in himself.”
Allen talks about how Biden’s key endorsement from South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn came about—and another key to his win, the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID hits and Biden is taken off the trail and he is able to be scripted know for his entire career, been disciplined and reporters love him because they'll talk, but he's on disciplined. And now his campaign has the ability to control his message and choose when he talks and how he talks to who he talks to. Um, and he's able to make those discretionary decisions along with his advisors. And meanwhile, Trump is on the stage at the white house, telling people to inject disinfectant, to combat COVID.”
Allen also talks about whether Biden will be able to unify the country and get any Republican votes to get legislation passed. “I think that there are things on which a Biden will be able to get votes from model Republicans. Um, it sort of independent thinking Republicans, you know, the converse is some of these bills are going to be incredibly difficult for them to vote against. I mean, think about voting against the COVID relief bill that's already made, you know, an entire campaign's worth of ads for an opponent. Marco Rubio is going to vote against this COVID relief bill, and he's going to have a democratic opponent next time. There's several that are thinking about getting in, including Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Florida.”
Also in the episode, Jong-Fast is joined by Eric Topol, cardiologist scientist and author and the founder and director of the Scripps research transitional Institute, who talks about how the vaccinations are going and how hard the U.K. variant will hit.
The U.K. variant, he says, will hit hard in Florida, California, and Texas, but he’s not so worried about the South African and Brazilian variants, which “ don't seem to be nearly as infectious.”
How are vaccines going? The U.K., he says “can go much faster since they're not giving the second doses right now. We've actually been pushing for that in the US to get ready for this variant that we're going to be hit with there that you gave variant, but there isn't receptivity at the white house, uh, yet, or we're Tony Fauci. We think that just for a month to go with the one dose, uh, you know, and then get these, all these people get their second dose a little bit delayed would be really advantageous, but we haven't had success in pushing for that.”
HE also says it’s a travesty Trump's decision to cover up the fact that he was vaccinated.
“We have politicization of the vaccine of vaccines. We have a remarkable global gap...
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