Primary season has wrapped up and, as I sit in the isolation of my apartment, combing through the news and social media, I can’t help but think how much better off we would be if former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders had decided not to run for president. To put it lightly, the Democratic Party’s bid to win the election in November is a mess. Had these men realized it was better for the country to pass their respective batons to other candidates, we more than likely would be in a far better situation heading into the general election.
After a month of high profile endorsements, Tara Reade’s credible accusation is threatening to sink Joe Biden’s campaign, as well as the credibility of the Democratic Party, should they continue to not talk about it as they did with Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations. Just as he did his son’s involvement with Ukraine, Biden has thus far decided that the best course of action is to address the allegation as little as possible. This is an age old strategy, where dismissing an issue and not talking about it results in the story going away.
It doesn’t work like that in 2020. It’s a way of thinking from a previous era of politics, devoid of inter-party divisions and a 24-hour news cycle. By not talking about it, the story only grows, making Biden look more guilty in the process, if he is, in fact, innocent. And its this type of lagging behind the curve that makes Joe Biden a far weaker candidate than we need. He is outdated, will struggle to gain enthusiasm, and loathed by the progressive wing of the party.
From the first debate, it was clear that Biden was not the candidate that he used to be, but try as the other candidates might, Biden’s connection to black voters was unshakeable. After South Carolina, it became clear to all the other moderates that Biden’s support was too strong to be redistributed, so they dropped and solidified their lane. Over a year of campaigning and none of it mattered. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar were both in good positions to reinvigorate a more moderate electorate to victory. And yet, they never stood a chance.
Perhaps Biden’s base of black voters, who have the right to be skeptical of politicians trying to win their support when running for president, could have been open to someone else had the former Vice President not run. Biden’s positive history with the black community, along with being the second-in-command to the first black president, created good will too strong the break, even with his gaffes.
Certainly, the previous allegations against Biden, where he was accused of inappropriately touching female staff, albeit not in a sexual manner, should have served as an indicator that it was passed his time. Still, Biden decided to push forward, as many politicians locked onto the target that is the presidency do, only to credibly be accused of sexual assault.
But even before Tara Reade’s allegation, Sanders’ most fervent supporters had threatened, if not fully committed, to not voting for Biden. They say he does not represent them enough and feel the election was rigged against a Sanders victory. Such was the case in 2016, where fury against Hillary Clinton was strong enough to pull away vital votes. With another member of the Obama administration leading the ticket, we may be inevitably be heading into a repeat of four years prior. Sanders could have avoided this outcome, realizing that defeating Trump was the top priority, but he did not.
Regardless of who ended up with the nomination, there were those that would only vote for a progressive. And with Sanders running, no other progressive stood a chance. This is because Sanders represented the pure ideological stance of the far left. He was the All Or Nothing candidate, which, if on the table, is the go to choice of progressives. Those that tried to make appeals to the progressive lane, without going so far as to lose the moderates, like Kamala Harris, were met with rebuke from both sides.
Even Elizabeth Warren came to realize there was no changing the progressive lane’s mind, with Sanders maintaining his support even when she gained ground. But, Sanders’ inability to appeal to the moderates meant that the rest of the party would realize they needed to consolidate around a single person to beat him. This meant Biden, who had made the least progressive moves since 2016, was destined to be the last man standing.
In other words, Sanders running ensured a Biden victory. He was too far too the left and didn’t make enough effort to appeal to the center, which we found out still had a majority during Super Tuesday. 2016 was the best chance for both of these men to become president, but Biden decided not to run and Sanders lost against arguably the most divisive woman in America. Perhaps it was ego and stubbornness on their part that led the most diverse party’s top candidates to be two white men in their late 70s, and the voters certainly aren’t free of blame, but this is an outcome they should have seen coming.
All we can do is hope this mess is better than the abhorrence of the Trump administration