Do nice guys finish last in presidential races? Joe Biden hopes not

By Francesca Chambers and Alex Roarty, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

Biden in recent days has played up his working-class roots to undercut Trump's popularity with those voters, including noting that he did not attend an Ivy League college unlike most recent presidents.

"You close the door on me because you think I'm not good enough, guess what? Like all you guys, I'm going to bust down that door. My guess is a lot of you feel the same way about a lot of slights you've had because of our standing," Biden said during a speech in Manitowoc, Wis., last week. "I say it's about time that a state school president sat in the Oval Office because you know what? If I'm sitting there, you're going to be sitting there too."

Kellyanne Conway, who was until recently a senior counselor to the president at the White House, said that Biden's everyman argument would be more effective if he had not spent more than four decades in Washington.

"If likability is a personal attribute, the professional attribute is competence and delivery and production and he lacks that. That's why they're saying he's a nice guy - because he hasn't been a very effective one," Conway said.

Trump has also spent considerable time making the argument to suburban voters that they "will not be safe in Joe Biden's America" because the Democrat would allow violent demonstrators and anarchists to run roughshod.

"They've also realized that to the extent that he has a plausible path to victory, it is through fear," Reines said of Trump's approach to Biden.


But voters are seeking a candidate who will feel their pain, as former President Bill Clinton once put it, amid a health crisis and racial unrest, GOP pollster Frank Luntz said.

All but six% of voters have already made up their minds based on the issues, the pollster assessed, and for the remaining undecided voters, the perception of the candidates and their personalities will be the only differentiating factor.

Luntz said the upcoming presidential debate will provide voters with an important opportunity to directly contrast the two candidates.

"The polling is accurate, Joe Biden is winning right now, but Trump is not out of it," he said.

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