Clyburn stands up for America, backs Joe Biden

Still from a video posted on Biden's Twitter feed today.

Still from a video posted on Biden’s Twitter feed today.

You think I’m being overly dramatic there? I’m not. This is a dangerous moment for our country, and only thing that will save us from it will be Joe Biden winning on Saturday, and going on to do well on Super Tuesday.

And this is now about much more than me liking Joe Biden. It’s now increasingly about the alternative.

I thought Tom Friedman put it well in his column today (more about that column later; it was a really good piece):

If this election turns out to be just between a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath, we will be in a terrible, terrible place as a country. How do we prevent that?

That’s all I am thinking about right now…

Me too, Tom. Me too.

So it matters that Clyburn stepped up at long last today and endorsed Joe. By the way, I’m not complaining when I say “at long last.” I really think his endorsement came at the best possible time. If he had given it months ago when everyone else (and I mean everyone else who’s anyone among S.C. Democrats) was endorsing Joe, it would have been forgotten by now. Now, whatever effect it will have is amplified.

Before we get into a big debate about whether endorsements matter, let me just head that off with this observation: If endorsements matter at all, can you imagine anyone’s mattering more than Clyburn’s at this moment? I can’t.

The AP story today claimed that “It had long been expected that Clyburn, the House majority whip, would support Biden.” Really? Then how come I didn’t know it? If you’d made me bet, sure, I would have said Jim would back Joe. But I also would have said we wouldn’t be calling Bernie Sanders a front-runner at this point, and that Donald Trump wouldn’t have been the GOP nominee in 2016.

So I don’t rest easy with conventional wisdom these days. And as an American and a South Carolinian, I’m very grateful to Jim Clyburn for what he has done this day.

There was some suspense over this, at least for me. Just a couple of days ago, The New York Times had a prominently-played story that suggested Clyburn might have a liking for Tom Steyer. It was another one of those stories about Steyer’s efforts to buy the black vote here (something I remain very concerned about). It quoted Clyburn as telling CNN, “I think Steyer is doing an incredible job.” Which is far short of an endorsement, but it still made me nervous.

Anyway, Jim Clyburn has done a fine thing today — for Joe Biden, for the Democratic Party, for South Carolina, and for America. And I appreciate it.

7 thoughts on “Clyburn stands up for America, backs Joe Biden

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    More encouraging news, if it’s accurate:

    Bill Kristol’s taking encouragement from it, saying “Perhaps the center will hold, and mere anarchy will not be loosed on the world?”

    Let’s hope so. Because it can’t be denied that these days, “the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, he was there. Joe endorsed Joe months ago.

        As has every person Democrats have supported statewide over the past 20 years: James Smith, Vincent Sheheen, Jim Hodges, Inez Tenenbaum, Dick Riley.

        It’s sort of crazy to think of anyone who supported those people voting for anyone but Joe…

  2. Kathleen

    I caught most of the endorsement announcement on CBSN. His remarks about Trump were absolutely on target. I sincerely hope his endorsement and remarks will have a positive effect on voter turnout.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, I hope so. The trouble is, people need to SEE it.

      My concern right now is that it’s not getting very good play. For instance on the Post and Courier site right now, you have to know it’s there and hunt for it to find it. And on national sites such as the NYT and Washington Post, you’ve got to do the same, despite the fact that the SC primary is right now the nation’s biggest political story.

      On the other hand, it’s getting centerpiece play at So that’s encouraging…


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