is joe biden the “new hillary”?
October 1, 2019
The Democratic Party is in fear and it’s affecting their decision making as a party. Think of a basketball player holding the ball, his team down by one, seconds to go, he’s open for the winning shot, and he’s scared out of his mind to shoot. That’s not the strong mindset needed to win, and certainly not what’s needed going into the unusual battle that is campaigning against the magnetic, repulsive, dishonest and immoral stump style of Donald Trump.
Trump may be a horrible leader but he’s an effective campaigner: he knew just what buttons to push to excite his electorate like no other group of voters in decades. Where most campaigns struggle to create one catchphrase that sticks, Trump had many. And he’s a bully who’ll fight in any way he has to in order to win — if we were in a schoolyard, he’d be the one who throws dirt in your eyes to blind you, then knocks you out while you can’t see. In a Presidential context he’ll lie about you in insidious ways and seek information about you from other countries and try to personally destroy you in ways that are corrosive for the nation, everything is OK so long as he wins.
Republicans are fine with tearing everything down — they believe government is the problem, so destroying government is OK to them. Democrats believe government can be effective at solving big problems’ so in the race for leadership, they don’t want to destroy the government and the country, which leaves them at a potential disadvantage.
Democrats are afraid of another term of Trump and they should be. He is the greatest threat this country faces today. It is critical to the future of the country that we stop Trump, but the question is how. For the majority of Democratic voters at the moment, the answer is Joe Biden. He’s leading the latest NBC/WSJ poll with 31% to Warren’s 25% and Sanders’s 14%. Many say they view him as a safe choice, they say he’s the most electable, but in this cycle, I feel like electable truly means “white man.” Or at least “person who I think white men in the Rust Belt would vote for.” I think there’s an expectation that Biden will win over some Trump voters, but I don’t think it makes sense to nominate a Democratic candidate for President based on what some Republican voters might do. Doesn’t that mean that Republican ideas are winning before we even start? Why not nominate a Democrat who excites Democrats?
But Democratic voters are afraid of making the mistake they did in 2016 when they nominated a life-long politician in a race where people were mad at government. A candidate who was moderate at a time were the fringes were demanding to be heard. A candidate who wasn’t that exciting to a lot of voters in a race where the other candidate was an evil rock star. Those are some of the mistakes of 2016, but for many Democrats, the lesson from that election seems to be: don’t nominate a woman. I think that’s absurd.
I totally reject the notion that a woman can’t win the Presidency this cycle. I don’t see why people in the Rust Belt, or in the swing states, won’t vote for a woman. Biden is much more like Hillary than Elizabeth Warren is. He’s another life-long politician at a time when people are still uneasy about government, and a moderate who many Democrats are not excited about voting for. Nominating someone like that should scare Democrats much more than nominating a progressive that millions are passionate about.
There’s a massive enthusiasm gap between Biden’s people and Warren’s people, and therein lies the truth about the appeal of those candidates. Every major human decision, from buying a car to buying a beer, is ultimately an emotional decision. We try to be logical but so often we do things because it feels right. Presidential candidates are chosen because it feels right. The party that nominates a candidate who they’re not excited about voting for, usually regrets it. In 2016, Republicans were thrilled to vote for Trump just as Democrats were thrilled to vote for Obama in 2008. I don’t think Biden will ever create that sort of excitement. He’s winning out of fear — fear that he’s the only one who can beat Trump. I refuse to believe that he is.
The core of Biden’s support is the large cluster of Black voters standing beside him. Among white voters, Warren and Biden are in a statistical tie — Warren 28%, Biden 27%. Among Latinx voters there’s similar numbers for Warren (29%) and Biden (23%) though 25% of Latinx voters support Sanders. But the true kingmakers of the Democratic party are Black voters, who make up a quarter of the party, and generally choose one candidate overwhelmingly. Biden has a commanding lead among Black voters with 49% compared to Warren’s 13%, Senator Kamala Harris’s 10%, and Sanders’s 5%. Biden has more of the electorate than the next three combined. This is largely because of older Black voters, who love him largely because he stood by Obama.
But I can think of no policy that this Joe Biden campaign is proposing that would merit his dominating slice of the Black electorate. Is he promising to give out reparations? Is he pledging to end poverty? Is he saying he’ll end the War on Drugs? The one he helped build? Oh there’s that, too. But hey, he was standing beside Obama for eight years so he’s got his Black card, right? C’mon.
I hope the Democratic party doesn’t choose someone out of fear and out of a hope that he might be able to steal some Trump voters. I hope the Democratic party realizes that the path to a winning candidate is the one who can win over the largest number of Democratic voters. We need someone Democrats will be excited to vote for. I want Dems to end up with a candidate they love.
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