While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren strategically wooed Bay Area voters this weekend, notably absent Joe Biden received some armchair analysis of his battleground state odds courtesy of a random graffiti artist.
This weekend’s California Democratic Party State Convention, a sort of Comic-Con for Democratic establishment political nerds, attracted no fewer than 14 candidates for president. But the whole thing made very little news, outside a manbun bro grabbing the mic from Sen. Kamala Harris and a late disturbing report of a homophobic hate crime against two Contra Costa attendees. But alleged Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden was nuzzled and shoulder-rubbed with some pointed graffiti criticism, as NBC Bay Area reports that someone sprawled “Biden Can’t Win Michigan” on a southbound Highway 101/280 junction sign.
Spotted a love note to @JoeBiden driving south from #SanFrancisco after #CADEM19: graffiti reading, "Biden can't win #Michigan." True, don't ya know. And apparently he doesn't need to appear in #California either. #SMH pic.twitter.com/K0y7uASme0— Cari Templeton (@cari_templeton) June 2, 2019
For what it’s worth, current Michigan polling for the 2020 election shows Biden winning Michigan by a larger margin than Bernie Sanders, Harris, or Elizabeth Warren. Early polls are of course unreliable name recognition contests, and the state has not been polled in a couple of months. Still, there is plenty of non-graffiti evidence to consider Biden a heavy favorite over Trump in Michigan.
But Biden’s no-show at the convention, and his focus on mega-bucks private equity donor fundraising over actual retail politicking, certainly plays into the storyline of an entitled Wall Street candidate who values campaign cash over constituents. CNBC reported last week that Biden does plan to visit the Bay Area, but for a series of $2,800-a-ticket fundraisers in the private residences of wealthy CEOs and tech investors.
NEW: The gathering included the likes of Richard Blum, an investment banker and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, trial lawyer Joseph Cotchett and Steve Westly. The group discussed Biden's Bay Area fundraising tour and how much each bundler has raised. https://t.co/MaCyuO84fQ— Brian Schwartz (@schwartzbCNBC) June 3, 2019
Biden’s lack of availability to non-billionaires drew some veiled, subtweet-level criticism from other major Democratic candidates. Sanders told the convention crowd during his Sunday speech, “There is a debate among presidential candidates who have spoken to you here in this room and those who have chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room about the best way forward.”
It’s uncertain that Biden’s presence at a fairly obscure, inside-baseball California Dem confab would have even registered a blip in this twenty-plus-candidate Democratic race. (Biden spent the weekend campaigning in Ohio, which is something more of a battleground state than is California). But we will see a serious recalibration of presidential candidate attention to our state, as next year’s California primary is moved up to the March 3 “Super Tuesday” slot, and Californians can vote by mail starting on the same day as the Iowa Caucus (Feb. 3). Parenthetically, the Michigan primary comes exactly one week after California’s, at which point we will have a better sense of whether Biden can win Michigan.