Former Vice President Joe Biden has recently surged to become the frontrunner in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. But, is that because there has been anything new in his message, or because Democrats really love his policies? Or, is it merely because they are settling for the best of two remaining mediocre candidates?
Until his sudden and unexpected victories on Super Tuesday, Joe Biden was just a doddering old fool with his best days behind him, unimpressive in every presidential debate and certainly nothing special on the stump.
His lackluster performance in the first three presidential contests was embarrassing, and, to make matters worse, Biden has been showing clear signs of mental decline, such as false memories and bizarre delusions.
After Super Tuesday, Biden is still the exact same guy described above, but he’s also the Democrats’ new front-runner. How do Democrats reconcile the two?
Biden, whose primary campaign was on the way out, suddenly finds himself in a marriage of convenience with Democratic voters, who realize belatedly and with a feeling of desperation that they have no other viable choice for president.
So if Biden is still the same confused old man he ever was, what changed that pushed him to such a resounding victory on Super Tuesday? The former Veep can thank his last remaining opponent, Bernie Sanders, for that.
On the Sunday, just prior to Super Tuesday, in a televised interview, Sanders reminded voters who he is and always will be by praising Fidel Castro and refusing to distance himself from revolutionary socialist movements. From that moment, he sank like a stone as Democratic voters decided they weren’t going to let this happen. Rank-and-file Democrats, it turns out, are not nearly as “woke” as their candidates or the media have tried to suggest. They aren’t stupid — which is to say, they aren’t socialists.
Democratic primary voters also probably considered former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, given his massive ad spending and his ability to self-finance. But, after his appalling, disappointing, infuriating performance at the Democrats’ Las Vegas debate, most of them were having none of it.
They also couldn’t go with Elizabeth Warren, who has polled weakest against President Trump among all the Democratic candidates.
As a result, Biden suddenly came back from the dead. Then, with Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar finally dropping out and endorsing Biden, Democratic voters all around the country decided spontaneously and simultaneously that now was the time to settle for, well, “that guy.” They will line up, lockstep, behind the safe, establishment choice whom everyone had been anticipating as the winner last summer.
The current thinking among most Democrats probably goes something like this: Joe Biden doesn’t seem like a bad guy. He was a good Vice President under Obama, and he’s certainly better than the monster we have in the White House right now. Biden may not be our perfect candidate—but who is?
But, word of warning to Dems, this hasn’t necessarily been a winning formula for either political party. Democrats elected their last three presidents by taking risks and choosing dark-horse candidates (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama). Their relatively inoffensive, “safe” nominees (think of Al Gore or John Kerry) tend not to do so well.
Before Trump, Republicans had also fared poorly in choosing inoffensive, “my turn next” nominees out of large, competitive fields. Neither Bob Dole nor John McCain nor Mitt Romney had what it took.
Recent election history, especially Mr. Trump’s, has been unkind to conventional wisdom – and I remind Democrats of another old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…”