Candidates whose numbers are good enough can try to shoot the primary rapids without complying with any of the ideological purity tests. They treat the primaries like a general election, and concentrate on building a national image and winning over independents and centrists.
Joe Biden seemed like he had the numbers to do it. And his strategy seemed to be working.
But the idea that he could get through the primaries without taking a beating or having to pass any purity tests that will hurt him in the general election was always delusional. Democrats, the rank and file, would be okay with Biden, no matter what he did, because he appears electable.
But the party itself is the most radical it’s ever been and much of that radicalism has been fed by the media.
Abortion was bound to come up because it, and gun control, and one of the two major policies with mixed support in the ranks of the party, but universal backing among the media and political elites.
Biden was thinking centrist with the Hyde Amendment. And the media found a purity test that it could clearly flunk him on. It’s a stumble and one that he’ll regret because it alienates conservative Democrats and some independents who don’t want a ban on abortion, but also hate the idea of funding it.
It’s also the first of, likely, many similar stumbles as the media and his opponents will seek to draw blood on every talking point and issue.
Biden’s free ride just ended.