Democrats’ Dilemma

9 min readMar 14, 2020

Joe Biden was near the bottom of my preferences for a Democratic nominee for 2020. But my preferences are not really relevant now that Democratic voters around the country have spoken. It seems clear that Biden, barring some unforeseen calamity, will be the Democratic nominee in 2020. However, it says something about our sclerotic, gerontocratic political and electoral systems that the election that may very well determine whether democracy survives in this country will be a contest between two men in their mid to late 70s who are both experiencing visible cognitive decline. Be that as it may, the contrast between these two men can not be clearer, creating a contest between democracy and autocracy, competence and chaos, service and selfishness, commonweal and corruption, compassion and contempt, stability and uncertainty, decency and division. For all those reasons, every Democrat must put their preferences aside and rally to support the Biden campaign.

Biden’s rout of Sanders in Bernie’s supposed midwestern strongholds seems to be far more indicative of an aversion to Clinton in 2016 than to any particular Sanders’ strength back then. How much of that was simply Clinton hatred and fatigue, (and that includes Bill), and/or outright misogyny we will never really know. But it does appear that Biden has been able to rebuild major parts of the so-called Obama coalition of blacks, suburban voters, and disaffected working-class whites.

Biden is basically running on a campaign of “stability”, a “return to normalcy” that echoes Warren Harding’s 1920 campaign in the aftermath of World War I. Biden is promising a return to status quo ante Trump, where the President doesn’t make news every day and spends most of the time trying to build consensus, to unite us and not divide us. It is, in its own way, a nostlagia campaign. That return to normalcy is echoed by Biden’s seemingly fanciful assertions that congressional Republicans will have some kind of “epiphany” after Trump is gone and be willing to work with Biden and Democrats in addressing the country’s problems. His promise to wealthier suburban voters is the same one he delivered to the donor class, “No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change”. In that regard, his policy proposals are primarily focused on incremental changes to existing policies, with the public option probably being his…


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