Former Vice President Joe Biden is desperate to achieve success in Iowa — so desperate, in fact, that he’s embarked on a cross-state listening tour, the “No Malarkey” tour, to interact with Iowa voters and convince them he’s the only frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination that has a chance to beat President Donald Trump.
It’s not going well.
As the Daily Wire reported earlier Sunday, the “No Malarkey” tour — and its bus — met with derision on social media. Biden was mocked for his slogan, called a “boomer,” and teased for his clear inability to connect with the Millennial voter. He also got tagged for stealing President Barack Obama’s “fired up, ready to go,” tagline for his official “No Malarkey” tour announcement.
He should have stopped the bus before it even got on the road, though. As Biden rolled through small town Iowa, voters delivered the message Biden had already been receiving on social media in person.
Sunday morning, Biden made a stop at the all-important Corn Stalk Cafe, a spot regularly visited by presidential candidates seeking to interact with the “real people” of flyover country for the few weeks a year they become essential to their success. Joe Biden tried valiantly to speak with the real Americans of the Corn Stalk Cafe but, as reporters on the ground documented, they mostly ignored him.
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) December 1, 2019
Asked later why he didn’t say hello to Biden, the “average American” said he didn’t know Biden and didn’t want to.
“I ask the guy if he just wasn’t a fan of Biden’s and he says ‘who?’” reporter Natasha Koreki wrote. “I say the former VP. The man, who farms in the Missouri Valley says he’s never heard of Joe Biden.”
“He says ‘are you serious?’ When I say he was Obama’s veep, I get an ‘ohhhhh. I’m not an Obama fan. This is Republican country,'” Koreki documented.
Fortunately for Joe Biden, Koreki’s photo, at least, made the rounds on social media — but perhaps not the way Biden would have liked.
— Jack (Hammer Time!) Martens (@JackMartensite) December 1, 2019
When Biden kicked off his “No Malarkey” tour, he noted to the Des Moines Register that he planned on talking to those voters who “tend to be ignored.”
“Half of winning is showing up. We want them to know how much we want their vote, and we’re going to compete for it and how seriously we take it,” Biden said. “And this is just a more fun way to do it.”
It turns out, those voters are just fine not interacting with the former Vice President.
Biden is on a collision course with a loss in Iowa, which would put him at a disadvantage right as the 2020 nomination fight kicks off. He once held a commanding lead, but has now cycled for first place with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who nearly won Iowa after a surprise surge in 2016, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and, now, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Biden, the most well-funded and well-known of the potential 2020 nominees, should be winning in Iowa, but he waited until now to pull together an Iowa operation, putting him months behind Buttigieg, who has been building an Iowa operation since February, in the hopes that an early win there could propel his campaign to further wins later on.
Regardless, the “No Malarkey” tour rolls on.