A white can still win the Democrat presidential nomination. So can a male. So can a senior citizen. And a heterosexual. And so can a non-socialist. But an old, straight Caucasian guy from the party’s current ideological center cannot.
And all these attributes may be beside the point anyway if that same septuagenarian, white, cisgender male is a full-fledged member of the Washington establishment going back to the early 1970s.
Joe Biden squeaked through to his first election to the U.S. Senate, as an unknown underdog, the same year Richard Nixon was re-elected President, over 46 years ago. And he’s been Amtraking into and out of the Beltway from nearby Delaware until becoming Vice President in 2009.
It may well be true that of the overcrowded Democratic field of candidates, Biden has the best chance of defeating President Trump, because of his ability to connect with many of the disaffected white working-class voters Trump captured in 2016, his connection to the twice-re-elected President Obama, and Biden’s success with black voters.
But this is not your father’s Democratic Party. It’s not even your older brother’s. It’s more like your disowned counter-cultural cousin’s.
Obama Era Scoffed At As ‘The Good Old Days’
Consider that on the Skullduggery podcast earlier this month, Rep. Alexandria “AOC” Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), for all intents and purposes the leader of the party’s new left, referred to Biden’s impending candidacy as “this idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s Vice President…but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”
“Change We Can Believe In” is now discarded as “the good old days.” Translation: even Obama was too conservative, now dismissed as a fossil from the distant past.
How can the gaffe-prone 76-year-old Obama foot soldier possibly navigate such waters to the nomination? Authenticity-challenged is an understatement considering Biden’s 1988 plagiarism of a humble origins speech riff by then-British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.
How, in the era of #MeToo, will Biden excite the party’s grassroots feminist women, just four years after they fully expected the election of the first female President, when there is endless video of him repeatedly letting his hands, face, nose and mouth wander into the personal space of uncomfortable-looking women during public events? Or considering that mere weeks ago Anita Hill refused Biden’s long-time-coming pseudo-apology for his tough grilling of her at the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings he chaired?
The party establishment symbolized by Biden – every bit as much as by Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House who was unexpectedly defeated by Ocasio-Cortez in the primary last year – cheated Bernie Sanders out of the Democrat presidential nomination, and likely gave Donald Trump the presidency, in the strongly-held opinion of many grassroots Democrats.
“We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden declared in his video announcement on Thursday. But fellow White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren just said “Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies” on bankruptcy legislation, a charge she’s been making pretty much since 2002. Can the party’s most energetic young foot soldiers, self-identifying as socialists more than ever before, be convinced that Joe Biden even agrees with them on what the soul of America is in 2020?
“We Don’t Need White People”
Biden just hired as senior adviser the radical 29-year-old black ex-Bernie Sanders aide-turned-cable-pundit Symone Sanders (no relation), and the irony couldn’t be thicker. After Trump’s election in Nov., 2016, Sanders, who had left the Vermont independent socialist’s campaign in the summer under undisclosed troubled circumstances, said on CNN, “We don’t need white people leading the Democratic Party right now.”
Who will appear less real? Biden, the white creature of the establishment who criticized school desegregation, made racially clueless cracks about Obama and Indian immigrants, and is now seeking the mantle of the party of AOC? Or his senior aide, who is miles to the left of Biden and resents white privilege?
Appealing to an ideological party base to secure a nomination, then pivoting to get swing voters in the general election, is a difficult-enough task. For Biden, the first part will be next to impossible. It’s a trick more likely to be successfully executed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose homosexual marriage is a constant visual advertisement to Democrat primary voters for the new over the old. Buttigieg, who has shockingly risen from obscurity to third place in the polls, will presumably have much more room within which to move than Biden.
Indeed, the mayor proved just that this week when he effortlessly outflanked Bernie Sanders and opposed Sanders’ unpopular idea of allowing incarcerated criminals to vote.
In a party that keeps intensifying identity-based politics, what it says on Joe Biden’s ID will hurt him more than his high name-ID can help him.
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