You know its true. Joe Biden isn’t Barack Obama and doesn’t illicit the same passion and groundswell of support that then Senator Obama did in the lead up to his 2008 election…and you know what? That’s perfectly ok.
There are few political candidates that drum up that sort of gut bending passion that you want to bend over backwards for them. Certainly it was Barack Obama, perhaps Bernie Sanders, once it was Ronald Reagan, or Justin Trudeau here in Canada. That luster wears off in time and its a contest of ideas (as it should be).
Joe Biden doesn’t do it at all. While he was an enthusiastic campaigner and very capable Vice President to Barack Obama, on his own terms, he’s not ‘that guy’.
He doesn’t have to be.
American politics are going through the other side of what began in 2008. Where there was hope and potential of great progress under Obama, the arrival of Donald Trump as President in 2016 is the exact opposite of hope and progress. He is literally the antidote of the excitement and promise the 2008 election.
Donald Trump is the worst excesses of the Tea Party movement filtered down through the most offensive and militant versions of racism and bigotry imaginable.
If there is anything that progressives, liberals and the left are guilty of, it was to pretend that this hateful force doesn’t hold any sway. They apparently vote…and in large enough numbers that they can win elections.
There are some D’s still fretting about 2016 like it was a stolen election. It wasn’t. Popular vote doesn’t determine elections, despite runaway tallies the Democrats had in their core, big states. What they cannot defend is how they lost swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and dropped (in percentage) support in areas they did win. There was a pronounced swing against the Democratic party thanks to the angry racially populist messaging of Donald Trump. Given the tightness of the polls right now, Joe Biden has to offer more than “I’m not Trump” as a narrative.
To the left wingers and progressive populists that were aligned with Bernie Sanders, I know your disappointment. This is the second, and probably last time that Sanders will make a play for the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination. Progressives will have to think up something different if they wish to change America.
And this leads me to a point I think is necessary to discuss. There are those genuinely on the left so disappointed at Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal from the race that they’re actively trying to undermine Joe Biden. Either you’re a closet Trump supporter clawing your way into the open, or you’re probably stupid.
Yes I said that.
Here’s the problem.
America is not Canada.
In Canada, we have a robust multi-party democratic system. Its not just Liberal vs Conservative; those voters further to the left or right have different options.
The American system isn’t designed this way. Oh, yes it should be different, and that’s nice debate to have, but that’s not the reality on the ground.
Either Donald Trump gets another four years in power, or he’s stopped.
The frustration of the left is understandable. We’re proving that major government intervention is helpful; Canada is proving this. With the power of the state to levy taxes, print its own currency, and enforce laws, left wing ideas can get us out of the muck we’re in as a result of the global pandemic. So why hasn’t this caught on?
Because America isn’t a left wing country. Its a centre-right nation. Come to think of it, so is Canada.
Far left ideas haven’t caught on in America for the same reason that far right ideas haven’t caught on in Canada. Our people aren’t typically extreme.
This isn’t to suggest that far left ideas are equivalent to the far right. Folks on the far left aren’t screaming outrage at ‘Mexican rapists and drug dealers’ in left-wing rhetoric. You’re more likely to hear ‘medicare for all’, and ‘basic income (for all)’ coming from the left.
It didn’t matter that Trump’s rhetoric was racist or that it was substantially wrong, he said it regardless…and thus began the effort to create a permission structure for blue collar voters who were generally underwhelmed at a slow economic recovery, blame immigrants and other people of colour (even if factually incorrect). That’s how Trump was able to peel off enough votes to flip swing states.
We’re at a place where the hard core activists are angry their chosen person didn’t make the cut and some are threatening either a boycott or obstruction as a result. That doesn’t make you much of a team player now doesn’t it?
Did Bernie Sanders throw a tantrum at Hillary Clinton in 2016 and run as a third party candidate? No: he was a powerful surrogate who headlined over a dozen events in her name – because he knew that Donald Trump had to be stopped. If the US Presidential Election was decided on popular vote, she would have won. In fact, one could argue that because of Sander’s efforts, Hillary was able to score the second highest popular vote tally in US history. But that’s not America’s system.
Did the losing GOP candidates throw a tantrum in 2016 and undercut Trump? No, they climbed aboard. Unfortunately.
Some of the most cantankerous progressives would seemingly be happier of Trump got a second term than if Biden won instead. I’m having a lot of trouble with this.
Nobody is saying Biden is perfect. He’s no less flawed in 2020 than Hillary was in 2016; neither would have been my first choice in any primary/caucus contest had I been an American registered Democrat. But they’d get my vote for President in November regardless.
As Trump cheers on anti-lockdown protests (by folks looking to shop, get haircuts), nobody is talking anymore about the thousands of children of undocumented immigrants locked in cages separated from their parents at the direction of the Trump administration. Not just separated, seized. Not just seized, being adopted out to American families.
Progressives will point to some allegations made by Tara Reade of very inappropriate behavior of Joe Biden. Allegations that we’re to believe; as per #metoo activists. Now, I’m not going to be the one to challenge if a woman has or hasn’t been a victim of a sexual crime; they face enough hurdles on coming forward with allegations. But, questions have been raised, and doubt is being raised towards the allegations.
Rather than delving into either the allegations, or denials, I’ll just say this..
That ship has sailed.
Maybe Tara Reade is right and Joe Biden is a creep. But I’m just going to say that nobody cares anymore about that. Donald Trump bragged up shitty behavior, and he won an election. There are more powerful people in office who do shady things than we know. Some are known quantities, some aren’t. The time before Trump, it was Bill Clinton being a creep – and he won re-election.
People vote on bread and butter, economic issues now. They could care less about personal lives. Republicans learned this too; after showcasing their moralistic holier than thou attitude during the Bill Clinton impeachment efforts, it was revealed later that many GOP folks were creeps too.
Again, I don’t want to minimize Tara Reade’s allegations, but the outrage is muted. The sitting President is out in the open with his depravity and could win another term. The person that the far left really do want, Bernie Sanders isn’t without his own interesting issues. His political legacy is that once he called for an end to mandatory public education…along with other distractions.
Oh yes, that’s literally a dose of ‘whataboutism’, but seriously, to the American voter, the choice ahead may just be a life or death option. Donald Trump and his covid10-trutherism has been picked up by the anti-vaxxer crowd; and should he get a new term of office, the anti-medicine people will have sway in public policy.
This will get people killed.
I’m truly sorry, Bernie folks, that your guy isn’t the Democratic nominee. Sure, Biden is a flawed candidate, just as Hillary was; just as Obama turned out to be. But you will be hard pressed to convince me that at any time that America would have been better off under the influence of any of the Republican options. We’re now finding out how bad it is under Trump; now imagine four more years of it.
You’d argue that the system is broken and that its hardly democratic: and that’s not a bad point to make. Except that its wrong.
The Republican party got as stupid and right wing not because Trump convinced them to be; it was a concerted effort over decades at the grassroots level that the worst lot of conservative ideologues slowly took over low level party positions as volunteers and rank/file gate keepers. It was only a matter of time before its leadership followed suit.
The left assumed that Bernie could just be dropped into place and win the nomination race. What were they thinking?
This isn’t to say that there are some genuine left enclaves within the Democratic Party; there clearly are. But they don’t dominate the party, nor are they the front line foot soldiers in the same way that far right activists have taken over the GOP. If the left wants the Democratic Party to move left, then get involved and drag it to where it needs to be. Or start your own party.
Look. Vote Biden to halt Trump. Vote Democrat to sweep Republicans from house and senate seats; shift the legislative direction. Put facts and science back in their rightful place.
Odds are, that even if it Biden wins, he’s only there for one term. Bernie isn’t likely to run for this again either. Progressives and liberals within the Democrats can look for new alternatives to campaign for in the ’24 campaign.
But if the left is genuine about changing America, as many of their loudest cheerleaders suggest, you can act first by saving America by throwing Trump out. If you cannot do that then I question your motives.
Either you actively choose someone that doesn’t stir excitement in you, or you’ll get Trump.
I’m aware that this opinion might trigger a blow-back in some of my political circles, but I’m unmoved by that possibility.
What I’m calling for is an ounce of pragmatism here, and if folks can’t read the “unite to stop the fascist from destroying a country” message here, then you’re just as much a hard-liner as you pretend not to be. There are times when a nations’ citizenry unite to overcome a common threat; this is that time, Trump is that threat.
Time to choose.