Trumps compares himself to Emperor Nero as Biden cements lead in primary
Chris Hawke
U.S. President Donald Trump. /Xinhua

U.S. President Donald Trump. /Xinhua

Editor's Note: Chris Hawke is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a journalist who has reported for over two decades from Beijing, New York, the United Nations, Tokyo, Bangkok, Islamabad, and Kabul for AP, UPI and CBS. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The Democratic establishment is unclenching its pearls and exhaling a sigh of relief. The primaries are turning out just as the party elders originally expected, with a candidate clinching the nomination, who is literally promising no change to the status quo.

After a series of upsets that left the candidacy of their favored candidate on life support with an order not to resuscitate, former vice president Joe Biden is back from the dead.

Voters have come out in record numbers — but not the hordes of newly engaged young people that Bernie Sanders needed to clinch the nomination.

Rather, it was people — many disengaged from the primary process and suspicious of politics — who personally fear and despise Donald Trump.

This is not because of his particular policies, but because of his racism, his belligerent tweets and the discord he has brought both nationally and internationally.

Late-deciding voters chose a familiar face and an obviously decent man, Biden, as an antidote to the toxic body politic under Trump. Voters made this choice even though polls show Democrats mostly agree with the policy goals of Sanders.

The specter of a contested convention has apparently vanished, and it would take an unprecedented turn of events for Biden to lose the nomination.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump appears to be fiddling as the COVID-19 pandemic burns out of control.

Trump is betting big league that COVID-19 will be a bust. He is telling people not to worry, and spending his time golfing and attending fundraisers.Trump believes the media and Democrats will end up looking like "Chicken Little," and COVID-19 will fade from memory before the November elections, like the 2009 swine flu and the Y2K bug.

But if he's wrong, no face mask will protect people from lies minimizing the risk and urgent need for preparation for a deadly disease outbreak.

Trump is focused on ensuring that fear of the virus does not put the fevered economy into the intensive care ward. If the economy tanks, many Republicans who find Trump personally distasteful would lose their only rationale for voting for him.

If the virus infects Trump's last year in office, the White House door would seem wide open for any Democratic candidate to enter. However, Democrats seem to have a genius for electing the exact wrong candidate.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a rally in Philadelphia May 18, 2019. /Xinhua

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a rally in Philadelphia May 18, 2019. /Xinhua

Biden is doing best in states that he has not visited. In the early states, where people actually paid attention, he flopped. Why is that? The average voter, who is only tuning into election politics now, will soon find out, when Biden and Sanders debate.

Biden has long been notorious for verbal gaffes and meandering speeches. Voters can live with this. It humanizes candidates, and can even be part of their charm.

In response to a whisper campaign maligning the 77-year-old's mental acuity, Biden's supporters say what looks like an inability to find words or finish sentences is in fact the manifestation of a lifelong struggle with stuttering.

Biden has been caught on video cursing at people who challenge him on gun control and controversy around his son Hunter.

Biden was always loquacious. He also recently told a story several times in which he claimed he was arrested trying to visit Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Biden was not, but he has always made gaffes.

Biden was also caught on tape recently referring to "Super Thursday" and forgetting the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women created by the... you know, you know the thing!”

This Sunday, voters paying attention for the first time will be able to judge Biden's fitness for themselves, when Biden and Sanders debate one-on-one in a hall with no audience.

Sanders had clinched the nomination, until he hadn't. Now Biden seems to have it nailed, but as the former VP might say, "It ain't over until the… you know, you know the thing.”

However, short of a collapse as unlikely as Biden's rise, the math for clinching the primary strongly favors him following a strong showing during Tuesday's primaries, including a win in Michigan, a key battleground state that favored Sanders then Trump in 2016.

Trump, who is 73-years-old, still forms strong sentences, but has been increasingly unable to string them together at his rambling press conferences, which can wander from comments about Fox News ratings, speculation about his own natural gifts in medicine to astonishment that the common flu kills people.

Despite signs of losing their edge, a presidential debate between Biden and Trump promises to be more dramatic than a typical visit to an old age home. We can expect Biden to challenge Trump to a push-up contest. Trump will bring up Hunter Biden's consultancy job at Burisma Holdings and boldly accuse Joe Biden of nepotism. Biden will call Trump a "liar" and the two will settle things outside "behind the barn."

Well, that's in the future.

For now, Trump has tweeted a meme of himself playing the violin behind an orange and white graphic, overlaid with the text, "My next piece is called… nothing can stop what's coming." While retweeting, Trump wrote, "Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”

The chattering classes snickered that this was an obvious reference to Emperor Nero as Rome burned.

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