Is the American electorate stupid, or do Democrats just think it is? We'd like to believe it's the latter.
Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination have spent the past few months spinning out fanciful ideas that are unlikely to come to pass any time in the near future. Their hope is not only that many of their low-information voters will buy ideas like Medicare for all, free college, a Green New Deal and open borders but that such ideas also will attract enough low-information independents to give them a victory.
But the older hands at campaigns already may have realized a large portion of the American electorate is not buying what their more socialistic candidates are selling. So those who listen to more traditional party members like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for advice recently got a couple of new stories to chew on.
If they hear the stories often enough, even though they have no basis in fact, some voters will begin to believe them. It's certainly not a Democrats-only tactic, but it is one they have perfected.
Clinton, the Democrat vanquished in the 2016 presidential election, returned recently — in the wake of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report — to one of her previous excuses for defeat. The election, she told audience members at one of her recent conversation tour stops, had been stolen from her.
Meanwhile, Biden, at a weekend campaign appearance, suggested President Donald Trump in his re-election bid will say mean and hateful things about his family. The former vice president, who has his own electoral liabilities, knows some not so savory facts about his son have surfaced as matters of public record. If he can make people believe Trump is somehow responsible, he's hoping millions of voters will hold that against the president.
But first to Clinton, whose make-a-buck tour with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is getting more surreal each time they speak.
At their "Evening with the Clintons" event in Los Angeles, she said, "You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you."
Although Russian operatives targeted her campaign (and Trump's), and some stolen emails were leaked to the public, numerous investigations showed the activity did not have an effect on the 2016 campaign. In addition, a two-year, $30-million investigation probe that looked into the Russian meddling cleared Trump and his campaign of colluding in that effort.
Since the election, Hillary Clinton has blamed Russia, sexism, misogyny, the FBI and the National Rifle Association, among other reasons and organizations, for her defeat. But the Mueller report, which left open the question of obstruction of justice by Trump, has given her new life to make the desperate claim.
But perhaps she and her husband have a private contest to see who can make the most outrageous claims.
At a tour stop in Las Vegas, Bill Clinton bizarrely suggested the investigation into unsubstantiated rumors of sexual assault by then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last summer were somehow payback for work Kavanaugh did for independent counsel Kenneth Starr during Clinton's tenure as president.
"He didn't have any problem making us put up with three years of Vince Foster nonsense that was a total charade," Clinton said.
Foster was the deputy White House counsel who took his own life amid one of the Clinton scandals in 1993, but Kavanaugh convinced Starr several years later the death might have been a murder and that the matter needed further investigation. In 1997, Kavanaugh also concluded Foster's death was a suicide, but Clinton never forgave the future jurist.
Hillary Clinton, of course, has said she won't make a third try at the presidency, but Biden is all in with his third try.
And over the weekend, he tried to point a finger at a future source for discussion about his family, which in recent months has seen his son admit an affair with his late brother's wife and the revelation that same son, while on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch, stood to benefit in 2016 from the firing of the country's prosecutor general (a move Biden supported while vice president).
"This guy [Trump] is going to go after me and my family," the former vice president said at a fundraiser in Columbia, South Carolina. "My generic point is they [his grandchildren] know how tough it's going to be."
Shamelessly using one of his grandchildren to tie any news about his family to Trump, he said one grandchild told him, "Pop, I know it's going to be mean, they're going to say bad things about Daddy. Mommy and Daddy had a divorce, and they're really going to go after that."
The president, who has been married three times and has his own peccadilloes, has plenty of other ways to skewer Biden.
Democrats may be desperate to regain the White House, but the new claims from Clinton and Biden just make them seem personally desperate.