FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?

The 2020 election horse race is beginning to take shape.  Unless something unexpected happens (e.g., impeachment, resignation), Trump will likely seek reelection as the Republican candidate.  A number of independents will seek third-party (e.g., Greens, Socialists) candidacy.  And then there are the Democrats.

Numerous Democratic politicos are beginning to cluster behind the starting gate considering a primary run for the 2020 presidential nomination.  The UK’s Independent lists 40 possible candidates that fall into four broad categories – former elected officials, current Senators and Congress-persons, celebrities and billionaires.  To date, Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-MA), Julian Castro (Obama’s housing secretary) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have announced their candidacy.

However, the Independent, like other media outlets, identifies Joe Biden as the current front runner.  “The former two-term vice president consistently receives a majority of support among Democratic voters to run in 2020 against any other potential candidates in recent polling,” it reports.

Liberal outlets like Vanity Fair and The Atlantic are touting Biden’s candidacy.  Vanity Fair sputters, “Is Biden progressive?  Absolutely. Gaff-prone? Duh.  But he is the antithesis of Trump, with the added benefit that he’s been vetted before, and passed muster.”  And The Atlantic champions,“These are odd times for Biden. He gets dismissed as too old, or he gets held up as the only adult who can actually come in to lead the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020. He is to many in his party the perfect answer to how to win back the white working-class voters that he helped bring in for Barack Obama, but to others he’s a relic of a Democratic Party of the past.”

The National Review, a voice of Republican but anti-Trump conservatives, has joined the Biden bandwagon.  It notes that with “36 years in the Senate, eight more as vice president — [he] has an ability to appeal to parts of Trump’s base.”  It goes on to pinpoint Biden’s apparent appeal to Trump supporters and other Republicans:

Biden is one of the few Democrats with credibility among the white working-class voters who abandoned the Democrats to elect Trump in 2016. Like Trump’s, his predilection for bluster endears him to these voters, even as it horrifies high-minded coastal elites. … Americans — or at least the rock solid 35–45 percent of the electorate that supports President Trump — don’t seem to care that their standard-bearer isn’t always faithful to the truth so long as he is skewering the people that they despise.

Numerous early-bird opinion polls indicate that Biden not only leads the Democratic pack but could likely defeat Trump in a 2020 match-up.  A December 24th The Hill-HarrisX poll reports “Biden leading Trump, 42 percent to 36 percent”; it also finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) beating the incumbent president 38 to 37 percent, but that Trump would defeat Rep. Beto O’Rourke(D-TX) 30 to 37 percent.

A recent CNN, the Des Moines Register and Mediacom poll found that 32 percent of likely Democratic-Party caucus-goers claim Biden as their first choice. It reports Biden had the highest favorability rating among likely Democratic caucus-goers at 82 percent.  The rating for other prominent Democrats was: Sanders, 19 percent; O’Rourke, 11 percent; Warren, 8 percent; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 5 percent.

Politico published the most revealing Biden promotional piece. Juleanna Glover, a long-term Republican operative and Biden-apparatchik (i.e., she is a member of the Biden Institute Policy Advisory Board), proposes that Biden not only run but do so as a third-party candidate and team up with a moderate Republican likeSen. Mitt Romney (UT), Sen. Ben Sasse (NB) or John Kasich, former Ohio governor.

Glover repeats many of the National Review’s platitudes: “[Biden] appeals to the kind of working-class voters Democrats have been bleeding to Republicans over the years. Most important, he could make a good president, and not just because he has a deep mix of domestic and foreign policy experience; he also has the character for the job.”

She adds one further suggestion to her pitch – a Biden-led third-party ticket should pledge to serve only one term in office.  “It decouples a president from the demands of reelection politics while simultaneously easing concerns about age—Biden would be 78 on inauguration day.”  She notes, “It also ensures governance unpolluted by campaign finance concerns and narrow special interests inherent to maintain a winning coalition.”

Glover dismisses previous third-party campaigns like that of Jill Stein and Ralph Nader of the Green Party or Ross Perot as coming “from the lunatic fringes.”  But with a Biden campaign, a “trans-party” third-party “presidency would be genuinely disruptive.”

In all likelihood the Democratic establishment will seek a “safe” candidate like Biden, one who would not challenge political conventions like a “democratic socialist” or be an African-American, Hispanic or another woman.  Biden is the perfect band-aid candidate, one well-tested in compromise or “bi-partisan” politics.  Best case, a Biden candidacy and possible victory over Trump in 2020 could also lead to a further increase of Democrats in the House and possibly the defeat of many Senate Republicans.

The unasked question is simple: Is that all Americans can ask for? Sadly, Biden is an older, 21st century version of Bill Clinton.  Does nothing ever change in American politics?

In 1990, Biden opposed the Gulf War but in 1998 switched positions and supported the Iraq invasion, calling Saddam Hussein a national-security threat.  More troubling, he’s been a long-term backer of bank deregulation and – like Clinton and Obama — close to Wall Street financiers. He helped secure the passage of the “new Jim Crow” legislation, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, that Clinton signed. And in 2001 he backed the USA PATRIOT Act – i.e., Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act – that institutionalized the national security state.  Biden is an old-hand playing the political hand he’s dealt.

Perhaps most important, Biden’s run – and possible victory — can help the Democratic Party establishment contain the grassroots insurgency that spouted in the mid-term 2018 elections.  Some of these insurgents include the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Native American Deb Haaland (NM) and Sharice Davids (KS, and a lesbian), Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia (TX, state’s first two Latina congresswomen), African Americans Ayanna Pressley (MA), Jahana Hayes (CT) and Lauren Underwood (IL).  Others, with even bolder visions, will likely emerge during the 2020 campaign.

The U.S. is in the midst of a great restructuring, with globalization superseding the American Century, inequality replacing the American Dream.  Trump and his supporters know this and invoked a renewed call for white-skin privilege – i.e., make America great again – to deny the inevitable. One of the lessons of the 2018 midterm election was that Trump’s false policies of 2016 are not working, and more and more people, including among his supports, know it.

Unfortunately, Biden and the establishment Democrats are unlikely to admit to the fundamental structural changes remaking the country – or propose meaningful policies to address them. Sadly, Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, will offer only band-aids to stop the bleeding of the symptoms and not deal with the deeper causes sickening the nation.

More articles by:

David Rosen is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion:  The Transformation of 1950s New York’s Forbidden into America’s New Normal (Skyhorse, 2015).  He can be reached at drosennyc@verizon.net; check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail